Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!
LEGO – I choose, gather, collect, read
This week’s word of the week is Lego (yup, like the blocks). This word has a few different meanings depending on how it is used. Lego singular, first person, indicative and present. We get English words lectern, intellectual and legible from Lego and it’s various forms.
There were many great leading intellectuals in Rome. Cicero, Caesar, Cato, Pompey, Varo and more! They all are famous for their writings and teachings. Many of them studied the Greeks and sought to emulate the philosophy of Aristotle and Socrates.
Many Roman Nobles wanted to study history, oratory, and law. But education was mostly dominated by training in language skills, grammar and rhetoric. These skills are what produced the great writings of Cicero.
These writings set a foundation for most of western society. The way we think, how we are organize our thoughts, communities, laws, etc. stems from the way of the Romans (by way of the Greeks).
How many of these quotes have you heard?
“It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.” (Caesar)
“Men freely believe that which they desire.” (Caesar)
“I came, I saw, I conquered.” (Caesar)
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (Seneca)
“An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes.” (Cato)
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” (Cicero)
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” (Marcus Aurelius)
Other Forms of Lego
Lego can also mean to appoint or bequeath. When it is conjugated it is lego, legare. This is different from our word above which would be lego, legere. Let’s read more below on why these two words look the same but are different.
Latin verbs contain 5 different characteristics: person, number, tense, mood, and voice. Some also denote gender.
- The person refers to the relationship between the speaker and subject of the verb
- The number is whether it is singular or plural
- The tense is the time when an action takes place (present, future, past) and the aspect. Aspect reflects how the speaker sees the action. There is both the continuous aspect and the completed aspect ( I was running, I have run or I ran).
- Mood reflects how the speaker treats the action whether it is a command, wish or idea. These are called indicative (you will go), imperative (go!), and subjunctive (you might go) moods.
- Finally Voice. This is the relationship between the verb and it’s subject. It tells whether the subject is receiving or performing the action of the verb. There are 3 voices, active, middle, and passive.
- Lastly, Verbs are divided into four different categories called conjugations that help us identify them. In the present tense the verbs all have the same ending depending on which category they are in:
- 1st category: –āre
- 2nd category: –ēre
- 3rd category: –ere
- 4th category: –īre
English words from Lego
- Legacy (from Lego, Legāre) – Noun. Meaning: A gift of property, a bequest. Anything handed down from the past
- Intelligible– Adjective. Meaning: Capable of being understood, clear
- Intelligentsia– Noun. Meaning: Intellectuals considered as a group (political/social elite)
- Lectern – Noun. Meaning: A stand with a slanted top used to hold a book, a reading desk in a church from which the Bible is read from during service
- Legible – Adjective. Meaning: Capable of being read or deciphered with ease or capable of being discerned or distinguished
- Legibility – Noun. Meaning: State or quality of being legible