Tip 2: One-part Words



Getting into the habit of learning a few Latin words every day is a good plan! This is something you can do totally independently of the rest of your studies. Even if there are days when learning a few words is all you’ve time to do that’ll keep the momentum going and give you an ongoing sense of achievement. This is really important for maintaining motivation!


Working your way, word by word, in alphabetical order, through the Consolidated Vocabulary at the back of the Language Reference Book, isn’t actually the most effective approach. I’d recommend, instead, that you start simply by picking out all the ‘one-part’ words. These are listed as the Latin word, followed by the English meaning, and that’s all there is to it (e.g. ‘autem, however, but’). For now, skip over anything longer and more involved with two or more bits of Latin before the English meaning (e.g. ‘abeo (irreg.), abire, abii/ivi, abitum, I go away, depart, leave’ or ‘adulescens, adulescentis [3m], young man, youth;)’.


You can pick out all these ‘one-part’ words in any order. Print off the list. Dive in and select a few of them at random across all eleven columns on all six pages. You’ll start to take note, in passing, of all the other words around the ones you’re focusing on. This will begin to familiarise you with the layout of the whole list. Tick off or cross out, as you go along, the words you select. Keep going, day by day, until you’ve found all the ‘one-part’ words, learning them as you go.


There are somewhere around 80 of these ‘one-part’ words on the list; enough to keep you going for a couple of weeks. If you’re not sure if a word counts as a ‘one-part’ word, don’t worry; sometimes it’s not absolutely clear. The first word on the list, for example, is ‘a, ab (+ abl.), from; by’. At this stage you’ll likely not know what ‘(+ abl.)’ means; and ‘a, ab’ is two bits of Latin, not one! That doesn’t much matter. It’s obvious that when you see ‘a’ or ‘ab’ each one means ‘from or by’. So you can think of both ‘a’ and ‘ab’ as ‘one-part’ words.


Similarly, ‘aqua (1f), water’ looks like a ‘one-part’ word, and so does ‘amo (1), I love’; and if, for now, you just learn ‘aqua’ means ‘water’ and ‘amo’ means ‘I love’ then that’s perfectly fine. You’ll see from your studies, before long, why ‘aqua’ and ‘amo’ involve a little bit more than that. Be reassured, though, that what’s coming up is not particularly difficult, just different. That’s because some Latin words can do things that English words can’t. You’ll find out how very soon.


Steve Havelin (08.10.17)