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First Form Latin Lesson 15 deus/dea

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    First Form Latin Lesson 15 deus/dea

    I have a quick question about 2nd declension nouns that are naturally feminine.

    The lesson book says that nouns such as deus, amicus etc have the feminine form dea, amica etc. My question is, do the feminine forms follow the first declension?

    Thank you!

    Natalie

    #2
    Yes, they would use the first declension endings. Amicus actually is originally an adjective (amicus, a, um, friendly) more widely used as a noun in the masculine for friend. It is relatively rare to see the feminine form of amicus.

    Dea is the word for goddess. It declines normally in the first declension singular. (There are some special forms in the plural, but unless you are taught them in the Forms, I wouldn't be concerned about them now.) If you do any reading in Roman history, you may well encounter the Roman goddess known as Bona Dea.

    Incidentally, it will be some time before you meet these nouns in reading Latin literature, as they do not appear in the feminine anywhere in Henle II or in Caesar's writings.

    Cheers.
    Bonnie

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      #3
      To second Bonnie, eventually you'll realize that lots of words you're taught as a noun or adjective are actually forms of an adjective or a verb. Bonnie mentions amicus, -a, -um as an adjective meaning "friendly", which used on its own (not modifying any noun) means "a friendly one" or "a friendly person" - in other words, a friend. Thus, nouns with an unchanging grammatical gender are definitely nouns, while nouns with a masculine -us form and a feminine -a form are probably just adjectives being used as nouns. These are called substantive adjectives.

      Deus and dea also (sort of) come from an adjective. Divus, diva, divum means "divine" - so, divus on its own, not modifying any other noun, simply means "a divine one" or "a divine person" - in other words, a divinity or god. (Incidentally, yes, that is where the word diva comes from; draw your own conclusions!) Divus got a little messy over time, and div- shortened to de-, leading to our nouns deus and dea.

      As you move ahead and learn more vocabulary, I encourage you to find connections between nouns, verbs, and adjectives to see if any might actually be new forms or transformations of another word you know. You will frequently be correct!

      - Jon

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        #4
        Thank you!

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