SALAVS Lesson 2

Lesson 2 – Nouns (first and second declension)

Salavs!

Now that you’ve mastered the alphabets, let’s move on to some nouns.

In Oscan, there are noun endings that indicate what the noun is doing in the sentence by telling you its case. If you’ve done Latin (or Greek) before, this will all feel fairly familiar. The noun cases used in Oscan are:

  • nominative (the subject of the verb)
  • vocative (addressing someone/something directly)
  • accusative (the object of the verb; also used after some prepositions)
  • genitive (‘of’ X)
  • dative (‘to’ or ‘for’ X; also used after some prepositions)
  • ablative (‘by’, ‘with’ or ‘from’ X; also used after some prepositions)
  • locative (‘at’ or ‘in’ X, where X is a place)

So, for example, using some words you already transcribed in the last lesson:

futír deded fluusaí aasaí – The daughter gave to Flora at the altar.

Like Latin and Greek, Oscan word order is flexible (though not infinitely flexible), and does not change the basic meaning. In inscriptions, you’ll often see the most important word first, sometimes even in bigger letters or on a different line, to make it stand out. So at a sanctuary, it is quite normal to see something like:

fluusaí

futír aasaí deded 

– The daughter gave to Flora at the altar (lit. To Flora the daughter at the altar gave.)

A complicating factor in Oscan is that we don’t have attestations of all the nouns in all possible cases. For some words, we can only be completely sure of their nominative, or their dative, for example. For this reason, Oscan noun tables in books rarely give the same noun all the way through – they use words that we actually have attested in those cases. There are also some cases that are not attested at all – although we could guess what these might look like using comparisons with Latin, it would only be a guess.

Also keep in mind that Oscan spelling is quite consistent but not completely consistent. You will see small variations between the same word or the same ending in different inscriptions.

First declension

  • Most of the nouns in the first declension are feminine.
  • Their endings tend to have an in them, although in the nominative this becomes a ú.

first declension

Exercises

Translate these sentences, and transcribe them into the Oscan alphabet.

The verbs are the two you met in Lesson 1: úpsed and deded.

(1) futír aasaí deded.

(2) aasass eítiuvad úpsed.

(3) aasass deívaí úpsed

(4) deded eítiuvad vereias.

(5) deívaí deded futír víaí.

 

Second declension

  • Most of the nouns in the second declension are masculine or neuter.
  • Most, but not all, of the endings have a ú in them.
  • The root of ‘garden’ is húrt- and the nominative ending is -s, but ts is spelled z.

second declension

Exercises

Translate these sentences, and transcribe them into the Oscan alphabet.

úpsens  ‘they set up/erected’

(1) Núvlanús sakaraklúm úpsens.

(2) deded sakarakleí.

(3) futír húrtúm úpsed.

Try writing two Oscan sentences of your own using this vocabulary.

 

More practice – here are some flashcards for the vocabulary you have met so far.

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