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Re: ambo, duo, eorundem, haec & quae

As a former Classics Ph.D. student and aspiring xml
guru, I'm glad to say that here, at last, is a thread
on xml-dev that I can completely understand.


Valete vos omnes,


--- "W. E. Perry" <wperry@fiduciary.com> wrote:
> "Robert C. Lyons" wrote:
> > You wrote:
> > > My challenge to find a neuter plural in Greek or
> Latin whose nominative does
> >
> > > not end in -a still stands, but let's take it
> off the list. Send me any
> > > findings privately, and we can then post
> anything which appears to be this
> > > elusive exception.
> >
> > So far, I've found the following:
> >
> >  ambo: both
> >
> >  duo: two
> >
> >  eorundem: the same (the neuter singular is
> "idem")
> >
> >  haec: these (the neuter singular is "hic", which
> means 'this')
> >
> >  quae: which (the neuter singular is "qui")
> Hi Bob.
> Hmmm. Interesting edge cases, all of them.
> Ambo and duo are not, in fact, plurals. These are
> the (I believe, only two)
> survivors of the *dual* number in Latin inflection.
> Indo-European had
> (conjecturally, of course) three numbers--singular,
> dual, and plural--and the
> dual is common in both Greek and Sanskrit.
> Eorundem looks like the genitive, rather than the
> nominative, plural. (The n,
> where m would be expected, is a consonantal
> metathesis--to use the word with
> which Rick Jelliffe started all of this last
> week--for euphony.) This word is
> the personal pronoun (is, ea , id) with the suffix
> -dem. The neuter nominative
> plural of the personal pronoun is ea--ending in -a
> as would be expected. Of
> course, when we then stick the -dem suffix on it,
> and get eadem, it does no
> longer end in -a in the neuter nominative plural; so
> yes, you have found an
> exception here, but because the suffix always
> follows the inflected ending it is
> a *very* marginal case.
> The demonstrative and relative pronouns, which you
> correctly cite as exceptions,
> are in fact exceptions throughout their declension.
> So here you have two
> winners. I was not thinking of pronouns (and
> certainly not of the predictably
> irregular ones), of course, but only of nouns and
> adjectives. However, I did
> phrase the challenge in stark terms of 'every'
> neuter plural, so you have
> clearly found the exceptions.
> My original point when Sean McGrath suggested
> 'desiderata' was that neuter
> plural perfect passive participles like that could
> be constructed from literally
> thousands of Latin verbs with roots ending in -t,
> thereby giving a plural ending
> in -ta, which was what Rick Jelliffe had originally
> asked for examples of. This
> is something very different from the class of Greek
> nouns which follow the
> pattern of schema/schemata. In making my blanket
> statement I was thinking of
> adjectives (or participles) on the one hand,
> contrasted with nouns on the other,
> and I never considered pronouns--which your examples
> indicate I should have.
> Now of course the discussion has fallen to
> speculation on the plural of enema,
> which is not in fact a 'real' Greek noun (it occurs
> in Galen, as one would
> expect of a medical term). Enema ('something sent
> in') is the same sort of
> participle in Greek as 'desideratum' is in Latin and
> does form its plural in
> -ata. So now, in addition to Latin participles and
> Greek nouns which show a -ta
> plural ending, we have a Greek participle and
> presumably the possibility of many
> others which might be formed on the same pattern.
> Surely (?) at this point we
> can put to rest Rick's question of whether there are
> example of nouns, usable in
> English, whose plurals end in -ta. Perhaps we can
> also put to rest the more
> pointed question of whether 'schemas' or 'schemata'
> is to be used as the plural,
> by refusing to state a preference.
> Best regards,
> Walter
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