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Priscian's pedagogy: A critique of the <i>Institutio de nomine et pronomine et verbo</i>

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Abstract

This article critically assesses the linguistic and pedagogical value of Priscian’s analysis of Latin nouns and verbs in his short treatise on the noun, pronoun, and verb. After determining that the <i>Institutio de nomine et pronomine et verbo</i>differs substantially from Priscian’s other grammatical texts, the author demonstrates that Priscian’s accounts of the noun and verb are a “mixed bag”. Priscian’s lengthy list of nominative singular endings is less than satisfactory, and his paragraphs on the Latin verb are often bizarre (e.g., the first person plural is derived from the second singular by the insertion of an infix: <i>ama-s </i>thus becomes <i>ama-mu-s</i>). Priscian’s <i>Institutio </i>does, however, provide a succinct enumeration of the five declensions and four conjugations and an appropriately organized array of nominal and verbal paradigms that make the teaching and learning of Latin much easier for mediaeval schoolmasters and students.

References

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