Rules and structure of Nove Latina

Alphabet and pronunciation

The pronunciation of Nove Latina is regular and simple.
There are no silent letters, the words are written as they are pronounced.

Letter Pronunciation in English
A a as in father
B b as in but
C c as in cat, k
D d as in David
E e as in left
F f as in freedom
G g as in good
H h as in home
I i as in antique
J y as in you
L l as in love
M m as in Mary
Letter Pronunciation in English
N n as in no
O o as in over
P p as in park
Q qu as in queen, always with u
R r as in Italian rosso
S s as in see
T t as in tree
U oo as in boot
V v as in very
X x as in mixer
Y u as in déjà vu
Z z as in maze
Group of letters Pronunciation in English
AE ay as in my
AU ao as in wow
EU e-oo as in very good
GU gw as in Gwendoline
QU qu as in quid
SH sh as in shock

Consonants are spelled by adding the sound "e" as in left after the consonant.

  • Ex: We pronounce "L" as "le", "M" as "me"

The tonic stress is placed on the second-to-last syllable of each word.

Grammar

Common nouns (nouns) end with -a

The plural is formed by adding the letter -s at the end of the substantive.

Except for the plural agreement, the nouns are invariable.

  • Ex: humana = the man/ the woman/ a man/ a woman
  • Ex: humanas = the men and the women/ (some) men and (some) women

Note: Classical Latin was an inflectional language, which means, the nuances of meaning were expressed through a complex system of declensions, to be learned by heart. In Nove Latina, declensions have been replaced by stricter word order within the sentence as well as self-explanatory and easy-to-use prepositions.

Thus, the noun placed before the verb forms the subject (replaces the nominative), the noun placed after the verb forms the complement (replaces the accusative), the genitive is replaced by the preposition of, the dative and the ablative are replaced using preposition which follows from the meaning of the sentence.

Adjectives and adverbs end in -e

They are invariable and always place themselves in front of the word which they qualify.

  • Ex: magne humana = a great man/ a great woman
  • Ex: alte arboras = big trees
  • Ex: Ej celere irat = He/she goes fast
  • Ex: Magne pluviat = It rains a lot
  • Ex: Ili est profunde triste = They are deeply sad

Some very common adverbs do not end in -e, such as mox (= soon) or etiam (= also).

Nove Latina has no gender: all words are neutral

Words for people and animals cover both masculine and feminine, without distinction.

Two optional suffixes allow to specify the gender of a person or an animal if one wishes to bring this precision (-ula for the masculine, -ina for the feminine).

The conjugation is simple and regular

Time Termination Example
Infinitive radical + i ami = to love
Present radical + at Mi amat = I love
Past radical + it Mi amit = I loved
Future radical + et Mi amet = I will love
Conditional radical + ut Mi amut = I would love
Imperative 2nd person: radical + o
1st person: radical + onos
amo! = love!
amonos! = let's love!
Active participle radical + ante amante = lover
Passive participle radical + ite amite = loved
  • Ex: Mi sane cenat = I eat healthily
  • Ex: Vos cenit sane nutra = You ate healthy food
  • Ex: Erati est humane = To err is human
  • Ex: Partante hesdie, ej nonmemorit eje saca = While leaving yesterday, he forgot his bag

Personal pronouns

Nove Latina English
mi I/me
vos you
ej he/him, she/her, it/it (person or animal)
id he/him, she/her, it/it (plant or object)
quidam one (undetermined)
nos we/us
ili they/them

Pronouns become possessive by adding the ending -e of the adjective

Nove Latina English
mie my/mine
vose your/yours
eje his/his, her/hers, its/its (person or animal)/ his
ide his (plant or object)/ his
quidame its (undetermined)/ its
nose our/ours
ilie their/theirs

The verb esti (to be)

The verb esti (= to be) is the only one which is conjugated differently. Due to its intensive use, it takes the shortened form est in the present tense:

  • Mi est = I am
  • Ej est = he/she/it is
  • Ili est = they are
  • Ej estit = he was
  • Ej estet = he will be
  • Estante = being
  • Estite = been

Passive voice

The passive voice is formed with the verb fi and the passive participle of the verb.

The preposition ab is used to designate the author of an action.

  • Ex: Mi fat amite ab ej = I am loved by him
  • Ex: Litera fat scribite ab vos = The letter is written by you
  • Ex: Cena fit cenite ab cata = The food was eaten by the cat
  • Ex: Libra fet adportite ab mie parenina = The book will be brought by my mother

Continuous present/ continuous past/ continuous future

It is possible to describe an action in progress (continuous action) or a temporary action, by placing the word tum in front of the conjugated verb (present, past, future or conditional).

  • Ex: Mi tum curat = I am running
  • Ex: Mi tum cenit, quando ej venit = I was eating when he came

Negation

The negation is formed with the word non, which is placed either in front of the verb or in front of the word to be denied.

  • Ex: Erari non est humane = To err is not human
  • Ex: Non cata cenit poma = It is not the cat who ate the apple
  • Ex: Mi cenet non poma = I will not eat an apple (but something else)

Nove Latina does not require a double negation, so non should not be specified if another word already indicates the negation.

  • Ex: Mi amat nihil = I don't love anything
  • Ex: Mi irat nusquam = I'm going nowhere

Unless we want to express a voluntary double negation like here.

  • Ex: Mi non amat nihil! = I don't love anything!

Comparative and superlative

The comparative of superiority is formed with: plusquam

  • Ex: Ej est plus magne quam mi = He is bigger than me

The comparative of inferiority is formed with: minusquam

  • Ex: Ej est minus magne quam mi = He is less big than me
The comparative of equality is formed with: tamquam
  • Ex: Ej est tam magne quam mi = He is as big as me
The superlative of superiority is formed with: plusimex
  • Ex: Ej est plusim magne ex humanas = He is the biggest of men
The superlative of inferiority is formed with: minusimex
  • Ex: Ej est minusim magne ex humanas = He is the smallest of men

Structuring words

Question words

Question words English equivalent Example
Qua Introduces a yes-no question Qua zebras est in Francia? = Are there zebras in France?
Qui Who (person or animal) Qui est hic? = Who is here?
Quid What/which (object or plant) Quid fluvia est in Francia? = What river is in France?
Quando When Quando vos venet? = When will you come?
Ubi Where Ubi doma est? = Where is the house?
Ex ubi From where Ex ubi vos venat? = Where are you from?
Ad ubi To where Ad ubi vos irat? = Where are you going to?
De qui From who/whose De qui vos est parenula? = Whose father are you?
Quam How Quam vos venit? = How did you come?
Quot How many / how much Quot humanas est hic? = How many people are here?
Quam + adjective How + adjective Quam profunde laca est? = How deep is the lake? = What is the depth of the lake?
Cur Why Cur vos venit? = Why did you come?
Ex quando Since when Ex quando vos natat? = Since when have you been swimming?
Erge quid About what Erge quid vos loquat? = What do you talk about?
Ad qui To whom Ad qui vos loquat? = Who do you talk to?
Pro qui For whom Pro qui vos laborat? = Whom do you work for?

Questions must begin with a question word and end with a question mark.

For yes-no questions, which in many other languages do not use an interrogative word, we use the default interrogative word: qua

  • Ex: Qua vos eratit? = Did you make a mistake?
  • Ex: Qua fluvia est in Francia? = Is the river in France?

Subordinate clauses

Interrogative words are also used to introduce subordinate clauses.

  • Ex: Ej querit, ubi doma est = He asked me where the house was
  • Ex: Mi vidit, qui hesdie venit = I saw who came yesterday
  • Ex: Mi vidit, quid ej hesdie adportit = I saw what he brought yesterday
  • Ex: Ej dicit ad mi, de qui ej est parenina = She told me whose mother she was
  • Ex: Ej non dicit ad mi, quando ej venat = She didn't tell me when she would come
  • Ex: Ej non dicit ad mi, qua ej venat = She didn't tell me if she would come

The other subordinating conjunctions are as follows:

Conjunction English equivalent Example
Que That Mi cogitat, que ej est bele = I think (that) she is beautiful
Cuj Whose/of whom/ of which Puera, cuj oculas est bele, venit hesdie = The child whose eyes are beautiful came yesterday
Etsi Although Ej respondat, etsi ej non noscat = He answers although he does not know
Nam Because Mi partit, nam mi estit malsane = I left because I was sick
Quam Whatever Quam profunde laca est, mi natet in id = Whatever is the depth of the lake, I will swim in it
Si If Ej non dicit ad mi, si ej venat = He didn't tell me if he would come
In case the subordinate clause answers a yes-no question, it is also possible to use the conjunction qua

Subordinate clauses are always introduced by a comma.

Prepositions

  • ab : designates the author of an action in the passive voice
  • ad : to, towards
  • ante : before, ahead
  • apud : next to
  • circe : approximately, around
  • contre : against, in front of
  • cum : with
  • de : of (possessive)
  • dum : during
  • erge : about/on the subject of
  • ex : coming from, among
  • in : in, inside
  • infer : under, below
  • inter : between
  • magis : instead of
  • nisi : except
  • ob : because of
  • per : by, by means of
  • post : after, behind
  • pro : for
  • prope : close to
  • sine : without
  • supre : on, over, above, up
  • tametsi : despite
  • tran : through

If there is no corresponding preposition according to its sense, then we use the preposition je which has no proper meaning.

Other words structuring the sentence

  • ergo : therefore (Ex: Mi cogitat ergo mi est = I think therefore I am)
  • ece : here is/here are, there is/there are

Prefixes

Prefix Meaning Example
ab- away from, separation
ad- towards, added to
arc- ancient
cum- with
contra- against, in front of contraluxa = backlight
anti- frontal opposition, adversary anticapitalisma = anticapitalism
dis- cessation, opposition, antonym disinfecti = disinfect
non- absence of action or state nonmemori = not to remember
ego- oneself, around oneself egofacite = done by oneself
ex- out of, from, finished state
extra- extremely, out of
in- in
inter- between
infra- below
intra- inside
juxta- near, together, in close proximity
multi- many
omni- everything, everywhere
post- after
pre- before, previous, preceding
pro- for, in favor of, instead of
quasi- almost
re- again
retro- back
semi- half
sub- under, below
super- above, over
sur- above, over
trans- beyond, across
ultra- beyond
vice- in place of, instead of, substitute

The numbers can also be used as prefix, by putting them in front of another word and they take then the meaning of multiple. Examples:

  • Un (1): unvesta = one uniform (one garment)
  • Du (2): dumense = bimonthly (every 2 months)
  • Tri (3): trimense = three-monthly (every 3 months) ; trimensa = a trimester ; triane  = triennial
  • Quar (4) : quarane = quadriennial (every 4 years)
  • Quin (5) : quinane = quinquennial (every 5 years)

Suffixes

Words formed with a suffix can take all the usual endings:
-a (noun), -e (adjective, adverb), -i (verb)

Suffix Meaning Example
-ant- an individual or an object that does something (active participle) jocanta = a joker, presidanta = a president
-ul- a male individual puerula = a boy
-in- a female individual puerina = a girl
-od- a descendant canoda = a puppy
-ist- a specialist or a professional of an activity, or an adept or supporter of an idea ludista = an actor/ an actress
-ism- a doctrine, a system capitalisma = the capitalism
-isim- increases the word magnisime = very big
-ens- inhabitant of a country or a city (demonym), membre of an organization Belgiensa = a Belgian
-itud- a quality, a concept solituda = the loneliness
-itur- a concrete manifestation cenitura = the food
-abl- the possibility ratiable = reasonable, cenable = eatable, edible
-et- small dometa = a small house
-ast- pejorative somnasti = to daydream
-igen- which creates belicigene = belligerent, which causes war
-ifer- which brings somnifera = the sleeping pill, which brings sleep
-iz- to do, make latinizi = latinize, latiniza = latinization, inimizi = make someone an enemy
-oc- a place cenoca = the dining room
-ost- approximate quinoste hora = around five o'clock
-ar- a set, a group verbara = the dictionary (the set of words)
-ati- an action edifici = to build, to edify edificatia = the construction (the action of building)
-istr- the head, leader, ruler urbistra = the mayor [the city's ruler]
-il- a tool voci = to call, vocila = the telephone
-temp- the multiple (written with a hyphen) du-tempa = the double, tri-tempa = the triple, dec-tempa = the tenfold
-pars- the fraction (written with a hyphen) du-parsa = half, tri-parsa = third, dec-parsa = tenth
-it- individual or object which undergoes something (passive participle) definite = definite
-oz- individual or object caracterized by a feature or undergoing an action aquoze = wet
-oj- indeterminate suffix (used when no other is suitable)

Vocabulary

Nove Latina is a collaborative language

Anyone is free to register new words, with their definitions and translations, on the site provided by the Academy of New Latin. This site constitutes the most exhaustive dictionary of the language, and it is freely accessible.

Word creation

New words should be created as a priority by construction from existing roots in Nove Latina (and using available suffixes and prefixes). If no existing root is satisfactory, then a new root is imported, either from classical Latin or from another language, and Latinized.

In any case, the pronunciation rules cannot be changed, i.e. all words are pronounced as they are written, following the pronunciation of Nove Latina.

Some rules to follow to create new roots:

  • Favor roots from classical Latin (with a close meaning) rather than roots imported from other languages
  • Foreign roots are usually Latinized by reference to their pronunciation rather than to their writing
  • In the case of double (identical) consonants, the second consonant is removed
  • Silent letters are removed
  • Homographs (roots of different meaning spelling identically) must be avoided

Roles of the Academy of New Latin

In order to prevent abuse and maintain the spirit of the language, the Academy of New Latin verifies the proposed new words and has the authority to accept, refuse or refine all proposed words, expressions, definitions and translations.

The Academy is also competent to specify the grammar and syntax rules of the language, and if necessary, modify them over time.

Advanced rules

Nove Latina words are categorized as follows:

  • Noma = common noun, noun (substantive)
  • Pronoma = pronoun
  • Propre noma = proper noun
  • Adverba = adjective, adverb
  • Tempore verba = verb
  • Structure verba = word used to structure the sentence (prepositions, conjunctions ...)

Word order is strict and cannot be changed

The sentence is structured as follows: subject - [adverb] - conjugated verb - [direct object] - [indirect object (s)]

  • Ex: Ej celere facit torta pro eje parenas = He/she quickly bakes a cake for his/her parents

The adjective is always placed before the noun. The possessive pronoun comes first: [possessive pronoun] - [adjective] - noun

  • Ex: Mie magne doma = my big house

Verb groups in the infinitive form can be used as a noun: [adverb] - verb in the infinitive form - [direct object] - [indirect object (s)]

  • Ex: Celere curi est bone por sana = Running fast is good for health

Active participle and passive participle verbs can be used as nouns using the ending -a.

  • Ex: Curantas habat bone sana = Those who run (runners) have a good health
  • Ex: Ubi mortita est? = Where is the dead?

In the questions, the order of the sentence is the same, after an interrogative word.

  • Ex: Ubi vos est = Where are you?
  • Ex: Ad qui ej dit poma? = Whom did he give the apple to?

In subordinate clauses, the order of the words in the clause is the same as in the sentence.

  • Ex: Mi dicit, que ej non curit = I said (that) he did not run
  • Ex: Ej dit poma ad mi, quid mi cenit = He gave me an apple that I ate

Possessive form

The possessive can be formed in two ways in Nove Latina.

By the juxtaposition of two names:

  • latina academia = the academy of Latin

By the use of the preposition de :

  • Ece libra de magne puerula = here is the book of the big boy

Numbers

Nove Latina uses Arabic numerals like all current languages (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...).

The numbers are pronounced and written as follows:

  • 0 = zero
  • 1 = un
  • 2 = du
  • 3 = tri
  • 4 = quar
  • 5 = quin
  • 6 = six
  • 7 = sep
  • 8 = oc
  • 9 = nev
  • 10 = dec
  • 100 = cent
  • 1 000 = mil
  • 1 000 000 (one million) = milion
  • 1 000 000 000 (one billion) = bilion
  • 1 000 000 000 000 (trillion) = trilion

Composite numbers are formed by juxtaposition, with dashes:

  • 20 = du-dec
  • 30 = tri-dec
  • 40 = quar-dec
  • 42 = quar-dec-du
  • 195 = cent-nev-dec-quin
  • 2020 = du-mil-du-dec

Ordinal numeral adjectives are formed by adding the ending -e to cardinal numbers:

  • Ex: trie = third
  • Ex: cente = hundredth
  • Ex: cent-une = one hundred and first
  • Ex: cent-du-dek-quine = one hundred and twenty-fifth

Multiples are formed by adding the word -tempa / -tempe (with a hyphen) to the cardinal numbers:

  • Ex: du-tempa = the double
  • Ex: tri-tempa = the triple
  • Ex: dec-tempa = the tenfold

Fractions are formed by adding the word -parsa / -parse (with a hyphen) to the cardinal numbers:

  • Ex: du-parsa = half
  • Ex: tri-parsa = the third
  • Ex: dec-parsa = the tenth
  • Ex: Ej recipit dec-parse pretia = He received the tenth of the price

All verbs are both transitive and intransitive (when the meaning allows)

In addition, there are no pronominal verbs, but we can specify the complement se (optional) to indicate that it is the subject of the verb that undergoes the action.

  • Ex: Vos movat vose libera = You move your book (transitive)
  • Ex: Vos movat = You move (intransitive)
  • Ex: Vos movat se (not common) = You move (intransitive)

The capital letters

Capital letters are used to mark the first word of the sentence, proper names, country names, demonymes (Ex: Franciensa = a French), language names, days of the week, months, seasons, words making up brands and names of organizations (Ex: Europe Unia = European Union – the capital letter marking all the words).

Except in the above cases, we do not capitalize adjectives, names of languages, neither after the colon nor after the semicolon.

It is possible to group the nouns

  • By the juxtaposition of two words separated by a space to form a nominal expression
  • By the use of a hyphen between two words
  • By reuniting two words attached to form a new word
  • By contraction/ abbreviation of two words attached to form a new word

However, Nove Latina is not an agglutinating language, in the sense that the creation of new words by joining two words is only possible when there is not already a word to mean the same thing, and on condition add this new word to the dictionary so that anyone can find and use it.

For example, the official term for European Union is « Europe Unia », abbreviated as « EU ». It is important to prevent Nove Latina speakers from using competitive terms in parallel, such as « Europunia » or « Europ-unia », since there is already a term with the same meaning. On the other hand, if there is a good reason to create the new word « Europunia », then nothing prevents it from being added to the dictionary, which is the case in this example since this will make it possible to create the adjective « Europunie » (relating to the European Union) or the name « Europuniensa » (living in the European Union).

Ending of proper names and certain words

Unlike common nouns, proper nouns do not have a fixed ending. They can end in -a, -us, -is, or in any other ending.

Proper nouns from other languages that do not exist in Nove Latina can either remain the same or be Latinized, which is generally done for the most used nouns.

Scientific names, such as the classification of living things (Ex: canis lupus = common wolf), or some ancient idiomatic expressions (Ex: de minimis) are also exceptions to standard endings.

Also, some common adverbs do not end in -e.

Transformation of a noun or an adjective into a verb

When we transform a noun or an adjective into a verb (ending in -i), the meaning of the verb is generally to take the characteristics of a question, but this is not systematic.

The exact meaning of the word is given by the dictionary.

  • Ex: blue = blue -> blui = to become blue, bluish
  • Ex: cana = dog -> cani = to transform into a dog
  • Ex: cena = food -> ceni = to eat

To string adjectives or adverbs

When several adjectives qualify the same noun, it is mandatory to write the word et (= et) between each adjective (or alternatively : aut = or). The word and cannot be implicit even if three or more adjectives are linked.

Examples:

  • Ej est tenue et magne et bele puerula = he is a thin, tall and handsome boy
  • Ej est tenue et magne bele puerula = he is a thin and very handsome boy
  • On the other hand this structure is not correct: Ej est tenue, magne et bele puerula

The rule is the same for adverbs: if several adverbs are linked, they must be separated by the words et or aut.

  • Ex: Celere et bone laboronos ! = Let's work quickly and well!

Dates

The dates are formed by simple juxtaposition of its elements, and are announced by the preposition ab. Days can also be expressed as adverbs without a preposition.

  • Tridia 21 Octobra 2020 = Wednesday, October 21, 2020
  • Ej venet ab Tridia 21 Octobra 2020 = He will come on Wednesday, October 21, 2020
  • Mi venet ab 21 Mensdeca = I will come on October 21
  • Vos venet Dudie = You will come on Tuesday
  • Ej venet Tridie ab 21 Mensdeca 2020 = He will come on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Hours

The hours are announced by the preposition ab.

  • dec-un horas dec-oc minutas = 11:18
  • ab dec-un horas dec-oc minutas = at 11:18
  • Ej venet ab dec-quin horas tri-dec minutas = He will come at 15:30

Relative durations are indicated by ante (there is), post (in), and dum (during).

  • Mi venit ante tri horas = I came three hours ago
  • Mi partet post un hora = I'll be leaving in one hour
  • Mi estit in doma dum quar horas = I was at home for four hours

Preference for literal expressions

Nove Latina prefers to avoid idiomatic expressions: we will always prefer to use literal expressions.

  • Ex: we will translate "It's raining cats and dogs" by : Magne pluviat (It rains a lot)

Some common expressions:

  • non sole … sed etiam … = not only… but also...
  • …, qua non? = …, no ? (or:…, isn't it?)
  • i.e. = id est = that is to say
  • ob hoc = for this reason
  • Active participle + e = doing something Ex: irante ad doma = going home
  • nondum = not yet
  • neque … neque … = neither… nor…
  • aut … aut … = or… or…
  • et … et … = and… and…
  • nimis … = too much…
  • plus quam … = more than…
  • plus et plus = more and more