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discamus! an introduction to spoken Latin

Sara Chopra

Table of Contents Introduction: discamus! Let s Learn! About the Author A Note to the Student Chapter 1: salve! • fabula: in domo • grammatica: Forming a Latin Sentence • collocutio: in domo Chapter 2: in urbe • fabula: in urbe • grammatica: Latin Verbs • collocutio: in foro Sara Chopra

Chapter 3: in taberna • fabula: in taberna (1 and 2) • grammatica: Nominative and Accusative • loque!: in taberna Chapter 4: cena • fabula: in culina • grammatica: Imperatives • collocutio: in triclinio Acknowledgements Further Exploration Contact the Author 2018

discamus! Let s Learn! Welcome to discamus, the spoken Latin resource for beginning and experienced classicists alike. In this book, you will learn about the foundations of Latin by exploring the spoken aspects of the language. Unlike many Latin textbooks and classes, discamus aims to educate through a curriculum that includes language immersion. Immersion gives students many opportunities to experience the so-called dead language of Latin in real life, increasing students confidence and comfort with the language. Note: The best way to improve language skills and confidence is through speaking, so discamus is best suited for groups of two or more. These groups could be a parent and child, or even an entire Latin class learning together. The best way to improve language skills and confidence is through speaking, so this textbook is best suited for groups of two or more. Sara Chopra


About the Author: Why I Created discamus My name is Sara Chopra and I am a graduating senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey. Throughout my first seven years of Latin education, I have loved learning the language and exploring ancient culture. In 2017, when I began speaking Latin through the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study, I was excited to discover a new side of the language that I had never encountered before. That summer, I taught elementary and middle school students introductory Latin, heavily incorporating speaking skills and conversational Latin into lessons.

A photo of me taken on the day of my first spoken-Latin conference. Sara Chopra

After I started teaching, I realized that although spoken Latin is not often a part of high school or college curricula, it is a powerful tool for learning and engaging with Latin. Although Latin and the Classics are regarded by many as exclusive or elite areas of study, they offer learning opportunities that every student deserves to have. Through spoken Latin, I hope to make the language I love more accessible to all students. 2018

A Note to the Student: Chapter Structure Not including vocabulary and spoken phrase lists, each chapter is divided into four parts: fabula (story), grammatica (grammar), and either collocutio (conversation), loque! (speak!), or both. In addition, each chapter includes a list of spoken Latin phrases and a vocabulary list, sorted by part of speech. During the collocutio part of a chapter, you ll have a chance to interact with the characters through conversation. The gray questions are directed toward you, and the pink text marks a phrase for you to complete, based on the question. The loque! part of a chapter is a time for you to try out your speaking skills! Whether you re using discamus with your parents or your friends, it s an opportunity for you to speak Latin together. loque! provides exercises for groups of two or more participants. Depending on the student, you can choose to read the grammatica section at the beginning of the chapter (before the fabula), to become acquainted with the chapter s new grammar. Sara Chopra


Chapter 1: salve! Conversational Phrases salve!* quid agis? ago optime! ago male. quid tibi nomen est? mihi nomen est . . . ubi tu habitas? ego habito in . . .

How are you? I feel great! I feel poorly. What is your name? My name is . . . Where do you live? I live in . . .

ita vero






tu, te


ego, me * salve and vale are said to one person. Sara Chopra


I, me salvete and valete are to more than one person. 2018

Chapter 1: salve! Vocabulary puer puella domus hortus mater pater familia Romanus/a/um laetus/a/um bonus/a/um malus/a/um ambulo, ambulare sedeo, sedere dico, dicere sum, es, est, sumus, estis, et Sara Chopra

boy girl home garden mother father family Roman happy good bad walk sit speak, say is, are ( to be ) and 2018

fabula: in domo Melissa est in domo. Melissa est puella et in domo habitat. Melissa est Romana. Melissa ad hortum ambulat. Marcus in horto est. Marcus est pater. mater in horto sedet. mater est Julia. quid agis? Julia dicit. Melissa dicit, ago bene, mater. bonum est! dicit Julia. ita vero, Marcus dicit. sedet. Marcus, Julia, et Melissa est familia. familia in domo sedet. familia in Roma habitat.

Sara Chopra


grammatica: Forming a Latin Sentence In English, most sentences follow a certain order: subject verb direct object, such as, The dog sees the ball. However, in Latin, sentence structure often varies greatly between sentences, authors, and people. You ll see that many verbs are at the end of the sentence, and that subjects and direct objects can be next to one another, or even mixed around with adjectives. For this reason, Latin includes dierent noun cases and case endings, which point out which words are subjects, direct objects, and other noun forms. Cases make both spoken and written Latin understandable. Starting in Chapter 3, you ll learn about two cases: nominative and accusative.

Sara Chopra


collocutio: in domo in domo, salve, quid tibi nomen est? Melissa dicit. quid dicis? mihi nomen est . . . ego habito in villa. ubi tu habitas? ubi tu habitas? dicit, ego sum laeta. es tu laetus? ita vero aut minime? ego sum puella Romana, dicit. puer es? puella es? es tu puer aut puella?

ego sum . . .

Melissa ad hortum ambulat. vale! quid dicis?

Sara Chopra


Chapter 2: in urbe Conversational Phrases mihi placet . . . . . . placet tibi? gratias tibi ago nihil est ego sum discipulus/a ludi . . . cur? quid est? quis est? quis es? ubi est? ubi es?

Do you like . . . ? (quid placet tibi = what do you like?)

Thank you You re welcome I am a student at the school of. . .

Why? What is it? Who is it? Who are you? Where is it? Where are you?





non + verb aut Sara Chopra

I like . . .

does not or 2018

Chapter 2: in urbe Vocabulary urbs vir femina taberna forum via feles canis video, videre venio, venire voco, vocare circumspecto, rideo, ridere volo, volere + verb ad quod Sara Chopra

city man woman store forum, marketplace road cat dog see come call look around smile want to, toward because 2018

esse : The Verb To Be Singular


1st Person

sum “I am”

sumus “we are”

2nd Person

es “you are”

estis “you all are”

3rd Person

est “he/she/it is”

sunt “they are”

This is the present active conjugation, or set of verb forms, for the verb to be, whose infinitive is esse. In this chapter, you will learn about regular present active verbs. However, esse is covered on this page because its forms are irregular. Sara Chopra


fabula: in urbe Marcus et Melissa in via sunt. ad forum ambulant quod volunt videre Juliam. ecce, Melissa dicit. feles in via est. Melissa ridet. Marcus virum videt. Marcus vocat, salve! vir dicit, salve, ubi sum? Melissa dicit, tu in urbe est. urbs est Roma. gratias tibi, dicit vir.

Melissa et Marcus ad forum veniunt et tabernam vident. Marcus circumspectat. videt pueros, viros, et canes in taberna. Melissa feminam videt et vocat, salve, mater! Julia circumspectat. ridet quod videt familiam. Sara Chopra

salvete! 2018

grammatica: Latin Verbs In the previous chapter, you learned about Latin sentence structure. In addition to noun endings, which you ll see in the next chapter, Latin also has infinitives and verb endings. Here are the verb endings for present active tense. Singular Plural -o -mus 1st Person “I __” “we __” 2nd Person

-s “you __”

-tis “you all __”

3rd Person

-t “he/she/it __”

-nt “they __”

These endings make it possible for you to tell who is doing a certain action in a sentence. For example: Melissa ambulat. vocat, ecce! Melissa and ambulat go together because the noun Melissa and verb ambulat are both singular and 3rd person. Sara Chopra


collocutio: in foro in foro, Julia dicit, urbs mihi placet. quid placet tibi? quid dicis? Melissa vocat, salve! taberna mihi placet. tibi placet taberna? quid dicis? quid tibi placet: feles aut canis? quid dicis? puer venit. puer dicit, ego sum discipulus. es tu discipulus/a? ubi? ego sum discipulus/a ludi . . . Julia videt te et puerum. femina, cur in foro estis? dicit. puer dicit, ego sum in foro quod volo videre tabernas. quid dicis? sum in foro quod volo . . . Sara Chopra


Chapter 3: in taberna Conversational Phrases quantus/a/um . . . est?

How much does . . . cost?

debes . . . pecunias.

You owe . . . coins/dollars.

habes . . . ?

Do you have . . . ?

nimium est.

It is too much.

parum est.

It is too little.

satis est. volo emere . . .

Sara Chopra

It is enough. I want to buy . . .




Alas! Oh no! 2018

Chapter 3: in taberna Vocabulary mercator stola














pecunia emo, emere gero, gerere

coin, money buy wear

debeo, debere


trado, tradere

hand over

respondeo, respondere Sara Chopra


respond, reply 2018

Latin Numbers and Roman Numerals 1-12

Sara Chopra




















ďŹ ve




























twelve 2018

fabula: in taberna 1 Melissa, Julia, et Marcus in foro sunt. Melissa dicit: ad tabernam hodie venimus. venio quod volo emere stolam. mater venit quod vult emere soleas. pater venit quod vult videre mercatorem. in taberna sunt et Marcus vocat mercatorem: quanta est stola? mercator respondet, debes decem pecunias. Julia dicit, eheu, nimium est! debeo septem pecunias. minime, parum est, dicit mercator.

debes novem pecunias.

Marcus respondet, ita vero, satis est, et pecunias tradit.

Sara Chopra


fabula: in taberna 2 Marcus stolam emit et Melissa gerit.

euge! dicit.

puer in taberna est. salve, mercator, dicit. tunicam quod hodie in Roma sum!

stola mihi placet.

habes tunicas? volo emere

ita vero, respondet. ecce, habeo tunicas et togas. mercator tunicam tradit. debes octo pecunias. quid dicis? octo pecunias? cur? avarus es! puer dicit. minime! dicit mercator. tunicam non emo quod ego sum pauper. pauper sum quod emo nimium, respondet puer. vale, mercator.

Sara Chopra


grammatica: Nominative and Accusative Noun and adjective endings are very important to comprehending Latin. These endings express cases ‒ dierent grammatical pieces of a sentence. Below are the nominative (subject) and accusative (direct object) case endings for 1st declension (often feminine words ending in -a), 2nd declension (often masculine words ending in -us), and 2nd declension neuter (ends in -um).

Nom. Acc.

Sing. -a femina

Pl. -ae feminae

-am feminam

-as feminas

Nom. Acc.

Sing. -us hortus

Pl. -i horti

-um hortum

-os hortos

Nom. Acc.

Sing. -um forum

Pl. -a fora

-um forum

-a fora

These endings are also used for adjectives that match the same gender and case as the nouns they modify. Sara Chopra


loque! in taberna In your group of two or more, use the list of spoken phrases from this chapter and previous chapters, as well as the vocabulary lists, to create the setting of the taberna and play the roles of the people inside. One person in a group will be the mercator and the rest will be the feminae, viri, puellae, and pueri visiting the taberna. (Groups of two to four people are the most eective for this activity. If your group is rather large, you may want to split into smaller groups.) Using the vocabulary and phrases you know, the mercator and shop visitors will interact by saying what they want to do (using volo"), explaining why they are doing certain actions (using quod ), purchasing items, and negotiating the price (using the list of numbers). Everyone should have a chance to both ask and answer questions. Sara Chopra


loque! in taberna After everyone aside from the mercator has spoken at least three times, have a new person become the mercator and repeat. Throughout the exercise, make sure you re using the nominative and accusative case endings and the proper verb endings. Below is an example of three people during this activity: Alex: salve, ego sum mercator. Brad: ego sum puer. ego volo emere tunicam. quanta est? Alex: debes decem pecunias. Brad: nimium est. debeo quinque pecunias. Alex: satis est, gratias tibi ago. Charlotte: ego sum vir. volo emere togam quod non habeo. Alex: ita vero, ego habeo. debes duodecim pecunias. Charlotte: satis est. emo togam. Alex: gratias tibi ago. Sara Chopra


Chapter 4: cena Conversational Phrases sodes esurio.

I am hungry.


Are you hungry?


I am thirsty.


Are you thirsty?

volo cenare . . .

I want to eat . . .

caldissimus/a/um est. salutaria!

It is very hot. Cheers!




to you


to me

qualis Sara Chopra


how 2018

Chapter 4: cena Vocabulary culina coquus cena cibum vinum aqua poculum amicus/a triclinium optimus/a/um pessimus/a/um coquo, coquere gusto, gustare ceno, cenare bibo, bibere ad + accusative Sara Chopra

kitchen cook dinner food wine water cup friend dining room very good, the best very bad, the worst cook taste eat dinner drink to, toward 2018

fabula: in culina in culina Varus coquit. coquo cenam, dicit. familia vult cenare cibum optimum. amica, Cassia, ad domum venit quod vult videre Melissa. Varus cenam gustat.

eheu! vocat.

Julia in culinam ambulat.

pessima est! mihi non placet.

salve, quid agis?

Varus respondet, ago pessime! gusta cenam, Julia. Julia gustat et eheu dicit. Varus dicit, trade mihi vinum quod volo coquit cena bona. Julia tradit vinum. Varus coquit cenam et vinum una. Julia gustat.

ecce! est optima! tibi placet?

Varus gustat cenam. Sara Chopra

euge! ad triclinium venio! 2018

grammatica: Imperatives Forming present-tense imperatives, or commands, in Latin is straightfoward. To see what the imperative of a word will look like, you will use the ďŹ rst-person singular active present form and the inďŹ nitive of a verb. You ve been seeing these forms all throughout this textbook; for example, coquo, coquere and venio, venire. To determine how to form a present singular imperative, see this chart: 1st Person Ending

Sara Chopra

Infinitive Ending Imp. Ending


-o ambulo

-are ambulare


ambula! walk!

-eo sedeo

-ere sedere


sede! sit!

-io venio -o ago

-ire venire -ere agere

-io capio

-ere capere

-i -e -e

veni! come! age! do it! cape! take!


grammatica: Imperatives Forming the present plural imperative is even easier, once you know the present singular imperative. The chart below shows how to find the plural infinitive. 1st Ending

Infinitive Ending

-o ambulo

-are ambulare

-eo sedeo

-ere sedere

-io venio -o ago

-ire venire -ere agere

-io capio

-ere capere

Imp. Ending

Example ambula → ambulate! all of you, walk!

singular ending + te

singular ending - e + ite

sede → sedete! all of you, sit! veni → venite! all of you, come! age → agite! all of you, do it! cape → capite! all of you, take!

This explains why hello and goodbye have different forms based on the number of people to whom you are speaking. salvere and valere, which produce salve and vale and their plural forms, take on imperative forms for these greetings. Sara Chopra


collocutio: in triclinio Cassia: cena mihi placet. (tibi) tibi placet? quid dicis? Melissa: esuritis aut sititis? quid dicis? Cassia: sitio. sodes trade poculum quod volo bibere aquam. Melissa: bibete et cenate! salutaria! quid dicis? Varus in triclinium venit. salvete omnes, qualis est cena? quid dicis? Melissa: cibum caldissimum est, sed cena optima est! Cassia: ita vero. gratias tibi ago! Varus: nihil est. valete! quid dicis? Sara Chopra


loque! Imperatives In your group of two or more, use imperatives to request actions or make commands in your learning space, whether it be your home or a classroom. (Groups of two to four people are most eective for this activity.) For this activity, since it involves present-day objects, here is a list of Latin words for contemporary and household objects. In this activity, you can use these words in addition to the words you already know.

Sara Chopra

pellicula librum ludus spectacula spectacula televisionis sucus crustulum eo, ire (imperatives: i! ite!) lego, legere specto, spectare ludo, ludere

movie book game, sport show TV show juice cookie go read watch play


loque! Imperatives You can also include other phrases, including volo and quod phrases, in your sentences. Remember, when using imperatives, if you are addressing one person, use the singular ending, and if you addressing two or more people, use the plural ending! Here is an example of the activity: Alex: Brad, sodes trade mihi cibum. Brad: ego trado tibi. Charlotte et Alex, sodes spectate pelliculam The Lion King. Charlotte: Brad, sodes lege Harry Potter! Alex: Charlotte et Brad, ite ad triclinio! volo bibere aquam.

Sara Chopra


Acknowledgements Thank you to my high school Latin teachers whose guidance and mentorship have shaped my love of this language: Ms. Mangino, who introduced me to Latin and advised this textbook, and Mr. Gudgel, who encouraged me to explore the world of spoken Latin. Thank you to my parents, Jitender and Jeannie Chopra, for giving me the opportunities to fall in love with Latin at PDS and beyond; to Gabby for being by my side through innumerable projects, Latin classes, and workshop lessons; to the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study for taking me to new heights with spoken Latin and providing me with teaching opportunities; to my professors at Princeton University, to Max for providing tech help, and to all of my Latin classmates since middle school. Thank you to my ďŹ rst students, the members of my 2017 Latin summer workshop, whose enthusiasm for Latin inspired me to create this book: Erik, Marcus, JeongWon, Andrew, Christopher, Connor, Lena, Emilie, Christopher, and all of their parents. Thank you to Princeton Day School for the unforgettable learning experiences that you have given to me. Sara Chopra


Further Exploration Cambridge Latin Course Textbook Series I ďŹ rst learned Latin by taking a class that used these books. The Latin Library This webpage is a fantastic resource with lesson sheets for all things relating to Latin grammar. The Paideia Institute The Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study hosts events and programs focused on spoken Latin, as well as online classes. I ďŹ rst began speaking Latin by attending their Living Latin in New York City conference. I also taught a class and included lessons from their Aequora program.

Sara Chopra


Contact the Author

I would love to receive your feedback and answer any questions you may have about discamus! You can email me at

I created discamus during the spring and summer of 2018 as my Senior Project for Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ. After graduating from high school, I plan to continue exploring Latin and the ancient world at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sara Chopra


discamus: an Introduction to Spoken Latin - Sara Chopra