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Gender when counting

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Gender when counting

Postby Alatius » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:15 pm

When counting only for the sake of counting, i.e. without any actual things being counted (like in a game such as hide and seek), which gender would be most idiomatic? Similarly when demonstrating arithmetics. Am I right to assume that the neuter should be used, i.e. "unum duo tria quattuor...", "unum et tria faciunt quattuor", etc.?
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Postby adrianus » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:39 pm

You count in the masculine, I believe, generally, Alatius. I forget how it is I know that! I'm looking for proof. To my ear, also, a neutral substantive is very specific in that case ("one thing, two things, three things")
Genere masculino, Alati, numeramus, ut credo: "unus, duo, tres". Obliviscor quomodò id scio! Argumentum inquiro. Auri mihi etiam, substantivum neutrius generis ("unum duo tria") ibi nimìs speciale est.
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Postby adrianus » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:12 pm

Also, I think "facit" is more natural than "faciunt" in counting, but "faciuntur" is found in proper sentences.
Etiam potiùs "unus et duo facit tres", quàm "unus et duo faciunt tres", sed "faciunt" semper invenitur.

+ "unus à duobus restat unus" = "unum à duobus subtraho, restat unus" ="one from two is (or leaves) one" (2-1=1)
Last edited by adrianus on Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby adrianus » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:54 pm

Boetii De institutione arithmetica libri duo, ed. Godofredus Friedlein, http://www.chmtl.indiana.edu/tml/6th-8t ... _TEXT.html
Namque unus et .IIII., si iungantur, .V. faciunt...
Namque in .X. pyramide super sex additi sunt tres atque unus

It occurred to me that perhaps you might consider "numerus" [masculine] as always understood with the cardinal number adjectives in counting.
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Postby Alatius » Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:27 am

Thanks Adrianus! However, the ubiquitous example of multiplication in (modern) grammars seems to be "bis bina sunt quattuor", rather than "bini". Is there any special reason for this, or is it simply the case that it doesn't matter much?
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Postby adrianus » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:21 pm

You're right, Alatius. That example is everywhere. Ambiguous here, mind you:
A Grammar of the Latin Language By Karl Gottlob Zumpt, Leonhard Schmitz, Charles Anthon, p.75 wrote:"bis bina sunt quattuor...In poetry, however, cardinal numbers are often used in multiplication instead of distributives—as bis quinque for bis quini, twice five. [My emboldening]

Here's Isadore of Seville on numbers, though:
http://www.dracones.ro/?operatie=subiec ... %20Sevilla Caput III. QUID SIT NUMERUS wrote: [1] Numerus autem est multitudo ex unitatibus constituta. Nam unum semen numeri esse, non numerum. Numero nummus nomen dedit, et a sui frequentatione vocabulum indidit. Unus a Graeco nomen trahit; Graeci enim unum ena dicunt: sic duo et tres, quos illi duo et tria appellant.
For "unus duo tres", the Greek's say "unum duo tria" (that is, the Greeks use the neuter form in counting). That means that, if you were taught arithmetic by a Greek servant, you used neuter gender for numbers, but masculine if taught otherwise. Interesting. Following the methods of Comenius, I'm trying to create a computer-interactive schoolroom for the immersive learning of Latin but with a twist, so this is all useful to me.

http://www.dracones.ro/?operatie=subiec ... %20Sevilla Caput V. DE PRIMA DIVISIONE PARIUM ET INPARIUM wrote: [1] Numerus dividitur in [his] paribus et inparibus. Par numerus dividitur in his: pariter par, pariter inpar, et inpariter par. Inpar numerus dividitur in his: primum et simplum, secundum et conpositum, tertium mediocrem; qui quodammodo primus et incompositus est, alio vero modo secundus et conpositus est. [2] Par numerus est, qui in duabus aequis partibus dividi potest, ut II, IV et VIII. Inpar vero numerus est, qui dividi aequis partibus nequit, uno medio vel deficiente vel superante, ut III, V, VII, IX et reliqui. [3] Pariter par numerus est, qui secundum parem numerum pariter dividitur, quousque ad indivisibilem perveniat unitatem; ut puta LXIV habet medietate XXXII, hic autem XVI, XVI vero VIII, octonarius IV, quaternarius II, binarius unum, qui singularis indivisibilis est. [4] Pariter inpar est, qui in partes aequas recipit sectionem, sed partes eius mox indissecabiles permanent, ut VI, X et XXXVIII, L. Mox enim hunc numerum divideris, incurris in numerum quem secare non possis. [5] Inpariter par numerus est, cuius partes etiam dividi possunt, sed usque ad unitatem non perveniunt, ut XXIV. Hi enim in medietatem divisi XII faciunt rursumque in aliam medietatem VI, deinde in aliam tres; et ultra divisionem non recipit sectio illa, sed ante unitatem invenitur terminus, quem secare non possis. [6] Inpariter inpar est, qui ab inpari numero inpariter mensuratur, ut XXV, XLIX; qui dum sint inpares numeri, ab inparibus etiam partibus dividuntur, ut septies septeni XLIX et quinquies quini XXV. Inparium numerorum alii simplices sunt, alii conpositi, alii mediocres. [7] Simplices sunt, qui nullam aliam partem habent nisi solam unitatem, ut ternarius solam tertiam, et quinarius solam quintam, et septenarius solam septimam. His enim una pars sola est. Conpositi sunt, qui non solum unitate metiuntur, sed etiam alieno numero procreantur, ut novem, XV et XXI. Dicimus enim ter terni, et septies terni, ter quini, et quinquies quini. [8] Mediocres numeri sunt, qui quodammodo simplices et inconpositi esse videntur, alio vero modo et conpositi; [ut] verbi gratia, novem ad XXV dum conparatus fuerit, primus est et inconpositus, quia non habet communem numerum nisi solum monadicum: ad quindecim vero si conparatus fuerit, secundus est et compositus, quoniam inest illi communis numerus praeter monadicum, id est ternarius numerus; qui(a) novem mensurat ter terni, et quindecim ter quini. [9] Item parium numerorum alii sunt superflui, alii diminutivi, alii perfecti. Superflui sunt, quorum partes simul ductae plenitudinem suam excedunt, ut puta duodenarius. Habet enim partes quinque: duodecimam, quod est unum; sextam, quod duo; quartam, quod tria; tertiam, quod quattuor; dimidiam, quod sex. Unum enim et duo, et tria, et quattuor, et sex simul ducta XVI faciunt et longe a duodenario excedunt: sic et alii similes plurimi, ut duodevicesimus, et multi tales. [10] Diminutivi numeri sunt, qui partibus suis computati minorem summam efficiunt, utputa denarius, cuius partes sunt tres: decima, quod est unum; quinta, quod duo; dimidia, quod quinque. Unum enim et duo et quinque simul ducta octonarium faciunt, longe a denario minorem. Similis est huic octonarius, vel alii plurimi qui in partes redacti infra consistunt. [11] Perfectus numerus est, qui suis partibus adinpletur, ut senarius; habet enim tres partes, sextam, tertiam, [et] dimidiam: sexta eius unum est, tertia duo, dimidia tres. Haec partes in summam ductae, id est unum et duo et tria simul eundem consummant perficiuntque senarium. Sunt autem perfecti numeri intra denarium VI, intra centenarium XXVIII, intra millenarium CCCCXCVI.
Of course, Isadore is talking about NUMBERS (quod verbum masculini generis est).

I thought I understood things, but your question topic now has me not 100% uncertain, although I think Isadore is being clear on counting and calculating in the masculine gender (unless the context dictates otherwise, with feminine "pars", say, or neuter "mille, millia"). On the subject of numbers, this subject has the potential to annoy some people. I have an interactive playing-card puzzle that I showed at a Latin conference two years ago. It made one teacher rather irritated because, instead of "unus duo tres..." I had programmed the cards to be spoken as "monas, dyas, ternio, quaternio, pentas, senio, heptas, ogdoas, enneas, decas" (all of which are singular nouns, not plural—meaning "[una] decas" = "a ten", say, or "duae decades" = "two tens") because that's how people played cards in Latin, I believe, until the nineteenth century. We still do in English, of course, use "ace" and "deuce", but "terce" (for 3) etc is no longer used.
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Postby adrianus » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:47 pm

Against what I said above is this from Cicero:
Cicero, De Deorum Naturâ, II, 18, 48-49 wrote:Itaque nihil potest indoctius quam, quod a vobis adfirmari solet. nec enim hunc ipsum mundum pro certo rutundum esse dicitis, nam posse fieri, ut sit alia figura, innumerabilesque mundos alios aliarum esse formarum. quae si bis bina quot essent didicisset Epicurus certe non diceret; sed dum palato quid sit optimum iudicat, 'caeli palatum', ut ait Ennius, non suspexit.
Nothing, therefore, could be more ignorant than to assert, as you tend to do, that one cannot say for certain that the very world itself is round, for it could be another shape,—there being infinite other [possible] worlds of other shapes. Which is something that Epicurus, if he had learned to put two and two together, would certainly never have said; rather, whilst the roof of his own mouth guided his taste or judgement, he did not look to the "roof of heaven", as Ennius puts it.
Maybe you can put "two and two together" and say both forms exist.
Difficile est cum Cicerone disputare! Fortassè dicam "bis bina /bis bini" quot sint et ambas formas agnoscam
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Postby adrianus » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:55 pm

Just noticed this in the Tintin comicbook, De Insula Nigra, p.9.
En quod modò animadverti apud librum comicum De Titini et Miluli Facinoribus: De Insula Nigra, novem in paginâ (qui à Caelestis Eichenseer conversus est):
Numerabo usque ad tria!..Unum. Duo! ? ! Eugapae, Milule!
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