Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Latin conjugations! What could be more fun?

Here's a mnemonic I just devised to remember the order of the (five) Latin conjugations and sample verbs for each one.

First, you say, "AH, RAF!" (As in, "Well, the Royal Air Force!") As with all mnemonics, there is a brute amount of arbitrary memorization. Why RAF? No idea, but it works for learning the conjugations.

"AH, RAF!" is the anchor which helps you remember the following five verbs: Amare, Habere, Regere, Audire, Facere.

Each verb is a common verb in each of the five conjugations. Amare means love (as in, amicable); habere means have (as in, "habve" or, perhaps, have a bad habit); regere means rule (as in, regnant, registry or reign); audire means listen (as in, audio); and facere means do or make (as in facility or manufacture). (Facere is also famous because, in classical pronunciation, it sounds rather like "fuck": facio, facis, facit, facimus, facitis, faciunt.)

Now, the entire mnemonic is a little moral instruction on the ascent to power. If you want to be a powerful leader...

First, you must love, for all power is rooted in love, whether the love of glory or the love of others.

Second, you must "have what it takes." You must have the means to take power when you have the chance.

Third, you must rule. To reign is to rule a region.

Fourth, you must listen to the petitions of your subjects and to the auditions of your jesters.

Fifth, you must make a decision for your subjects and do what you say you will do.

As for the problem of remember which A in "AH, RAF!" is amare or audire, just remember that "conjugal love" should be your "first love."

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