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It is always nice to start off with a nice little introduction to Latin. In this lesson, the idea of the construction of Latin, how it works, and its basics will be discussed. This includes:

The Latin alphabet does not contain as many letters as English does, only 22 letters as opposed to 26. Regardless, Latin makes due with what it has and the 22 letters make a plethora of words. Here is the Latin alphabet in full:


Note that the letters missing are J, K, W, and Y. Occasionally, due to some Greek intermixing, K and Y may be present, but that normally isn’t so. Furthermore, in a classical Latin structure, U’s were written as V’s, but in our case we will make them all look like U’s. J’s in Latin are completely replaced with I’s in both aesthetics and phonetics. Latin is considered to be an inflected language. This means that the role of a word in the sentence is determined primarily by they way it ends. English is not inflected,
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and the role of the word is determined primarily on its position in the sentence. This means that when writing Latin sentences, the order of the words don’t matter as much. Order does play a small role in how sentences are read.

Observe the two English sentences. In the first one, we have a character who is a farmer. He sees meaning he is at that time performing the action of seeing. We don’t know what he sees, but we do know that he sees and apparently isn’t blind. In the Latin sentence, “agricola” means “farmer”1, and “videt” means “(something) sees”. Thus we see how the sentence translates.

But look at the next Latin sentence. “Agricolam” looks a lot like “agricola” but with an m on the end. Well, guess what? “Agricolam” and “agricola” mean the same thing: “farmer”! As well, “vidi” and “videt” both pertain to seeing. Why then do they look different? This is because Latin is inflected, and the ending of a particular word tells you what its role is. Because “agricola” ends in an m in the second sentence, we know that it is receiving the action of seeing. Because “vidi” ends in the di, we know that it is in the past tense first person (meaning “I” did something). Thus “I saw the farmer”. In English, we know the farmer receives the action of seeing primarily because it comes after the verb. Most of the letters are pronounced normally, but there are certain rules that need to be followed. But you shouldn’t have a hard time with these rules because they are much more black and white than the English ones!Always hard as in cat or coy. G will never sound like a J.
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