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Declension is a traditional term indicating that nouns can be classified according to the shape of the inflectional endings they may take. See also conjugation.

The inflectional class of nouns is called a declension. For example, a group of nouns belonging to the same noun class and displaying similar inflectional patterns are said to be declined or belong to the same declension. Latin is the prototypical example of a language that uses declensions, as it has five different declensions categorized by case suffixes and gender. The following examples are taken from Latin and display two words belonging to First declension, which usually contains feminine nouns. Please note that the macrons are omitted in these examples:

insula "island"

Nominative insula insulae
Genitive insulae insularum
Dative insulae insulis
Accusative insulam insulas
Ablative insula insulis

filia "daughter"

Nominative filia filiae
Genitive filiae filiarum
Dative filiae filiabus
Accusative filiam filias
Ablative filia filiabus

Useful Links


  • Goodwin, W. 1894. Greek grammar, Macmillan, London.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.