Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives in Latin



What is a noun? Here is what Donatus’ Latin textbook says:
Pars orationis cum casu
corpus (i.e. physical thing) aut rem (i.e. concept, idea)
proprie communiterve significans.
Varro (X.17) categorizes it as a word that is inflected, quae habet casus neque tempora.

The word “noun” comes from the Latin nomen (through the French). Compare the usual definition in English of a word that “names” a person, place, thing, or idea.

What is important for reading, is that a noun is a word that can function as a subject or object (or other noun function). In English, an “a” or “the” sets up the expectation of a noun. This is useful for doing MadLibs. Examples of nouns are: exemplum (example), corpus (body), nomen (name/noun), verbum (word).

An infinitive is also a kind of noun. It is a verbal noun and can function as the subject or object:
To err is human. Errare humanum est.
She likes to swim. (what does she like?)

Another kind of verbal noun is a gerund. In the sentence above, “reading” is a gerund, acting as the object of the preposition “for.” In Latin, this would be “legendo.”

Aspects of nouns in Latin:

(Grammatical) Gender: masculine, feminine, or neuter
Number: singular or plural
Case: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, vocative, (locative)
Semantic aspect (person; proper name of place; abstract noun; word expressing time)