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Unexpected singular and plural

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Unexpected singular and plural

Postby phil » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:31 am

These are in a letter about the death of a girl.

Ut illa patris cervicibus inhaerebat. Oh how she used to cling to her father's neck. But why is cervix plural?

And later, when her father is listing what he was going to buy for her upcoming wedding:
quod in vestis, margarita, gemmas fuerat erogaturus. Why is margarita singular here? Were pearls so very expensive?

Phil
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Re: Unexpected singular and plural

Postby Imber Ranae » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:10 am

Cervix is actually found more commonly in the plural than the singular, even when referring to just one neck. There's no real logic to this, it's just another plurale tantum word, similar to fauces "the throat".

I'm not sure why margarita is singular. I guess there was only one.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Unexpected singular and plural

Postby adrianus » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:31 am

A rare variant (according to L&S and OLD) is margaritum.
margarita (feminini generis) seu margaritum (verbum neutrius generis et perrarum, secundum A&S et OLD)
Last edited by adrianus on Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: Unexpected singular and plural

Postby Swth\r » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:03 am

Exactly hat Adrianus said and cited...
Dives qui sapiens est...
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Re: Unexpected singular and plural

Postby adrianus » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:26 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:Cervix is actually found more commonly in the plural than the singular, even when referring to just one neck. There's no real logic to this, it's just another plurale tantum word, similar to fauces "the throat".

When you look at the bones and components of the neck, there are lots of them, which might have something to do with it.
Numerosae sunt partes et ossa (vertebrae C1-7) cervicium seu faucium, quod forsit ad rem pertineat.
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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