About Nautis

Nautis is the independent scribbling of Matthew Clapp. This website was originally launched on Blogger in September 2001. Subscribe today you will receive an email when new content when it's available. Thank you!

Ok, what the heck does 'nautis' mean?

A few people have asked me what nautis means. So, here is my answer:

You have probably already guessed that it's Latin and has something do do with navigation. The rest of the answer requires a little Latin 101. Most languages conjugate verbs and you probably do this every day. Latin not only conjugates verbs, but also does the insane, declines nouns.

In a language that has noun declensions, not only do verbs have to agree in tense, the noun's gender, number, and case are contained within the spelling of the noun. In English, for example, case is determined by where it comes in the sentence. In Latin, the nouns can be put anywhere (and usually are) because case is contained in the noun itself, there is no need for an order. It is an efficient system, but unless you were born in ancient Rome, it is a extremely hard to learn this system.

A quick refresher on grammar

  • gender:(male, female, neuter) these apply basically to men women and things, but is greatly extended into "grammatical sexuality", so that some classes of things fall quite arbitrarily into sex-classes.
  • number: simply, singular or plural.
  • case: actually a syntactical relationship of the noun to other verbal elements in the sentence. The cases in Latin are six in the singular form, and an equal number in the plural. Nominative (subject), genitive (possessive), dative (indirect object), accusative (direct object), and ablative (kinda like a preposition).

Each declension is structurally different in its forms (endings) from the others, and a word normally belongs to one class and one class only. Okay, okay ... So, what does nautis actually mean?

"Nautis" is a noun of the 1st declension, plural, masculine and it's case is either dative or ablative. The root is "nauta," meaning sailor or navigator: the way it is used to describe this website, it is not the nominative, but the dative, therefore nautis means... for the navigators.

Hoc opus est nautis.