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Latin numbers

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Latin numbers

Postby pmda » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:31 pm

I'm trying to get to grips with Roman numbers: I have found a table here: http://www.informalmusic.com/latinsoc/latnum.html that seems to cover the various forms: But I just came across. In Orberg's LLPSI Cap XXXII he has Amelius complaining (I think) that his letters are not getting through to her in Rome:

Quaeris a me cur tibi unas tantum litteras scripserim, cum interim trinas quaternasve litteras a te acceperim.

1) '...a me cur tibi unas tantum litteras'....mm? Is this 'for each letter? ' why plural? Is it just the cardinal number?

3) then he has 'cum interim 'trinas' quaternasve..' now this latter is distributive......I'm not sure how

all this fits in with the Cardinal, ordinal, distributive and adverb table (see link above)? Also trinas doesn't occur on this table at all. What is it?
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Re: Latin numbers

Postby adrianus » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:40 pm

litterae = (here) a [1] letter [1 or more] = nomen hîc formae singularis, pluralis sensûs.

Forsit ambiguum ibi est dicere hoc: litteras singulas. Forsit meliùs hîc "unas litteras".
It might be ambiguous to say "litterae singulae" (separate, single) instead of "unae litterae" (one, a single, solitary).

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=AG+137 wrote:[*] b. Instead of cardinals, to express simple number, when a noun plural in form but usually singular in meaning is used in a plural sense: as, bīna castra, two camps ( duo castra would mean two forts). With such nouns trīnī , not ternī , is used for three: as, trīna (not terna ) castra, three camps; terna castra means camps in threes.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Latin numbers

Postby pmda » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:02 pm

Gratias tibi ago Adrianus
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Re: Latin numbers

Postby pmda » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Adrianus

Ok, so to be clear 'trini' is an alternative form of the distributive 'terni' when a noun plural in form but usually singular in meaning is used in a plural sense.

'With such nouns trīnī , not ternī , is used for three: as, trīna (not terna ) castra, three camps; terna castra means camps in threes.'

What's confusing about this is that if you want to say 'three camps' why would you use distributive in the first place? My understanding is that it means three each. My understanding was that it has a very specific meaning of three-each e.g. in bina castra tres miles necati sunt. In (each of) two camps three soldiers were killed.

Also the text you post from Perseus (L&S?) says:

Instead of cardinals, to express simple number, when a noun plural in form but usually singular in meaning is used in a plural sense: as, bīna castra, two camps ( duo castra would mean two forts).
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Re: Latin numbers

Postby Qimmik » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:09 pm

In Latin, the distributive forms of the numerals are used for nouns that are generally used only in the plural. In English, for example, scissors, forceps fall into this category. Littera in the singular means an alphabetic symbol. The word for a single written communication is litterae, in the plural. So for this noun, the distributive forms of the numerals are used, rather than the ordinals. Similarly, castra means a (one) camp, so the distributive is used to enumerate more than one camps.
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Re: Latin numbers

Postby pmda » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:26 pm

Quimmik

Many thanks.

Paul
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Re: Latin numbers

Postby adrianus » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:44 pm

pmda wrote:Adrianus
Ok, so to be clear 'trini' is an alternative form of the distributive 'terni' when a noun plural in form but usually singular in meaning is used in a plural sense.

I think you just headed off too quickly in the wrong direction with that, Paul.
When you reread the A&G quote above you'll see it's pretty precise.
Ista lectio, Paule, falsum cursum demonstrat, ut credo.
Definitius quod supra in grammaticâ de A&G scribitur.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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