Ecclesiastical Latin/Salve

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Saying hello in Latin is very easy.

Salve

See, so sweat. Now let's try to say goodbye.

Vale

Again, that was so easy you might be wondering if that is it. Well it isn't actually.

Hello and goodbye in most languages are things that linguist call chunks or minor sentences. They have a set function and meaning. For instance goodbye used to be "God be with you" but it got shortened to just goodbye. Salve and Vale can be understood as just Hello and Goodbye but it is worth noting that they are verbs. Verbs are important in Latin, far more important than they are in English.

Keeping with our verbs, let us see a few simple verbs in command form, the most basic form of a verb in Latin. These verbs will be in five groups. However, one of the groups is a halfway group so it is listed as a .5.

Group 1[edit]
  • Ama (love)
  • Da (give)
Group 2[edit]
  • Vide (see)
  • Habe (have)
Group 3[edit]
  • Age (do/act)
  • Dic (say)
Group 3.5[edit]
  • Fac (do/make)
  • Cape (take)
Group 4[edit]
  • Audi (hear)
  • Sali (jump)


non group[edit]

  • I (go)
  • Fer (carry)
  • Noli (don't)
  • Fi (become)


Feelings[edit]

  • senti (feel)
  • puta (think)
  • odora (smell)
  • tene (hold)
  • clama (shout)
  • voca (call)
  • loquere (speak)

Religion[edit]

  • Ora (pray)
  • Adora (worship)
  • crede (believe)
  • juga (marry)

Motion[edit]

  • Sta (stand)
  • Sede (sit)
  • Veni (come)
  • sali (jump)
  • salta (dance)
  • move (move)
  • nata (swim)
  • ambula (walk)
  • curre (run)
  • sequere (follow)
  • jaCE (lie down)
  • orire (rise)
  • surge (rise)
  • mitte (send)
  • refer (refer)
  • rede (return)
  • redde (pay back)
  • redi (give back)

Battle[edit]

  • JAce (throw)
  • vince (win)
  • vive (live)
  • duc (lead)
  • jube (command)
  • accipe (obey)
  • fuge (run away)
  • time (fear)
  • relinque (leave behind)
  • debe (owe)

Asking[edit]

  • quaere (seek, politely ask)
  • roga (ask)
  • pete (beg)
  • Juva (help)

School[edit]

  • lege (read)
  • scribe (write)
  • doce (teach)
  • disce (learn)
  • labora (work)
  • cane (sing)
  • inveni (find)
  • para (prepare)
  • mere (earn)
  • nosce (study)
  • coepe (begin)

Home life[edit]

  • dormi (sleep)
  • gere (wear)
  • pone (put)
  • osculare (kiss)
  • sole (be in the habit)
  • fle (cry)
  • place (satisfy)
  • Ede (eat)
  • Bibe (drink)
  • ades (be there)


Practice[edit]

That may seem like a lot of verbs to learn for a language where you don't actually know any real nouns yet but the thing here to keep in mind that Latin is a verb centered language. You have an entire conversation using just verbs. Things in English like Hello, goodbye and even Yes are done by verbs. Get a partner and practice telling each other what to do in Latin. If you can't find a partner at least start to learn these very common and often used verbs and practice your pronunciation in a mirror. At the very least you could say hello and goodbye to yourself.

One last small note. These verbs are for giving a command to ONE person, not many people and the one person has to be able to hear you. They have to be the person you are talking to, not someone who isn't actually there.


Also, don't get to thinking too much about the way these words sound in English. Just remember that English with its many fricatives and more than 15 extra vowel, probably sounds like a bunch of grunts, pops and clicks to a Latin speaker. For instance we could decide that we want to tell someone to do three things. We want them to know, to say, and then to do. This is a way of telling someone to think first, then say what they are going to do to make sure they have it down and then only at the end so do it. It could come out like this.


Sci, Dic, Fac.

/ʃi/ /dik/ /fɑk/


Very wise advice and don't let anyone snicker when you say it either.