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Beginners' Latin
Chief Justices’ rolls, court of King’s Bench, extract. 1549. Cat ref: KB 27/1150/2

Lesson 2: Introduction to nouns; first declension nouns; cases of nouns

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What is a noun?

A nounGlossary - opens in a new window is a person, place or thing.
For example: the queen, a parish, the charter.

Nouns are divided into groups called declensionsGlossary - opens in a new window. Nouns that end in ‘a’ belong to the first declension. They are mostly feminine.

In Latin, there are no words for ‘a’ or ‘the’.

regina means } queen, the queen, a queen

carta means } 125 charter, the charter, a charter

When you are reading a document, you can decide which meaning is appropriate.

These are examples of Latin nouns from the first declension.

domina lady
ecclesia church
parochia parishGlossary - opens in a new window
terra land
vidua widow

Have you noticed that they all end in ‘a’?

People’s names are also nouns. In Latin, women’s names often end in ‘a’.

Maria Mary
Isabella Isabella

All Latin nouns have a genderGlossary - opens in a new window – they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. Even charters and parishes have a gender! In English we give some nouns a gender, for example we describe ships as ‘she’.

Checklist Checklist:
Are you confident with:
The Latin for ‘a land’, ‘the land’ and ‘land’?

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