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Dictionary noun descriptions

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Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby RDH » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:01 am

I'm a bit embarrassed to ask this, but, my dictionary lists some nouns as "plural" after giving the usual nominative and genitive singular of the noun in the entry. Does this mean that the singular declensions work as plural? Another question I have is, do proper nouns ordinarily have plural declensions?

I'm trying a method where you learn all of the declensions and conjugations before doing anything else. I started with the Wheelock vocab, but got bored and started getting nouns from my Cassell's dictionary. Now I'm slowing myself down worrying about this plural business. Every study session seems to get half lost in things like this.
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby Imber Ranae » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:24 am

Could you provide an example? I have Cassell's but can't recall ever seeing what you've described.

As for proper nouns, many cities and towns, such as Athenae and Tarquinii, are plurale tantum words, i.e. grammatically plural but singular in meaning. Names of persons can be pluralized by regular declension if the need arises. Caesares, referring to the imperial title, is the most salient example.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby adrianus » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:50 pm

Salve RDH and welcome // gratus tuus adventus
RDH wrote:Does this mean that the singular declensions work as plural?

No, I wouldn't imagine so (not having seen the source). // Non significat, ut opinor (fonte minimè viso).

William Whitaker does this sort of thing in his Words program:
Whitaker (Words 1.97E) wrote:Athena, Athenae N F [XXHCO]
athen.a N 1 1 NOM S F
athen.a N 1 1 ABL S F
Athens (pl.); inhabitants of Athens, Athenians;

It lets you search for theoretical forms,—forms that are not used in practice.
It's just a searching device or the result of computer-indexing methods.

Sic facit Guillielmus Whitaker in programmate suo (anglicè) Words enim, ut inveniantur formae theoreticae (seu formales) non aliter usae. Ferè est dolus inquisitionis vel ordinatralium rationum eventus.
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: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby quickly » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:32 am

I'm no Latin "expert," but I think you're referring to, e.g., the following:

1. copia, -ae, f.: "plenty, abundance" (sg.); "troops" (pl.)
2. littera, -ae, f.: "letter (of alphabet)"; "literature, epistle" (pl.)

where the noun in the singular has a different meaning than the noun in the plural? For instance, Cassell's gives the following entry for ops, opis (f.):

ops, opis, f., plur., opes, -um...


Where, for instance, ops generally means "aid, help, support, assistance" or "power, might, strength, influence," and so forth in the singular, but more often means "wealth, riches, resources, might, power" in the plural?
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby RDH » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:04 am

Yes! I think that's it, that last example using "letter" and "letters". Thanks! I'm still a bit confused about proper nouns, but I'm going to go over the replies more carefully before asking. This site's a really good idea; there's always some little stumbling block like this that can derail a study session, if there's no one to ask.
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby RDH » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:15 am

My last response might have been too hasty (except in saying thanks for the answers, and giving my opinion of the site). Here's an example from my dictionary:

accusatrix -icis f. a female accuser: PL.
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby adrianus » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:10 pm

accusatrix -icis f. a female accuser: PL.

PL. = word found in the works of Plautus (the dramatist) // vocabulum apud Plautum fabularum scriptorem invenitur
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: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby RDH » Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:22 am

So, it was a dumb question; but I'm glad I won't have to worry about it any longer. Thanks for the answer.
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby adrianus » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:33 pm

RDH wrote:So, it was a dumb question

Personally, I thought it was a good question. It's not obvious that ": PL." doesn't mean "(pl.)" and your question definitely applies to the Whitaker example above.

Ego equidem eam bonam quaestionem habeo. Non clarum est quod "PL." numerum pluralis non significet. Et aptissimè ad exemplum quidem apud Whitaker tua quaestio pertinet.
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: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby thesaurus » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:24 pm

I'll take this opportunity to ask a question about notation in Whitaker's Words.

Hîc mihi accidit dubia ponere de notatione programmatis Whitaker.

Whitaker (Words 1.97E) wrote:Athena, Athenae N F [XXHCO]
athen.a N 1 1 NOM S F
athen.a N 1 1 ABL S F
Athens (pl.); inhabitants of Athens, Athenians;


I've used this program forever, but I've never figured out what the brackets mean "[XXHCO]"

Semper programmate hoc utor, sed quid parentheses significent numquam invenio.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby adrianus » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:38 pm

Salve thesaure
Whitaker, wordsdoc.htm, wrote: AGE, AREA, GEO, FREQ, and SOURCE flags ...

type AGE_TYPE is (
X, -- -- In use throughout the ages/unknown -- the default
A, -- archaic -- Very early forms, obsolete by classical times
B, -- early -- Early Latin, pre-classical, used for effect/poetry
C, -- classical -- Limited to classical (~150 BC - 200 AD)
D, -- late -- Late, post-classical (3rd-5th centuries)
E, -- later -- Latin not in use in Classical times (6-10) Christian
F, -- medieval -- Medieval (11th-15th centuries)
G, -- scholar -- Latin post 15th - Scholarly/Scientific (16-18)
H -- modern -- Coined recently, words for new things (19-20)

type AREA_TYPE is (
X, -- All or none
A, -- Agriculture, Flora, Fauna, Land, Equipment, Rural
B, -- Biological, Medical, Body Parts
D, -- Drama, Music, Theater, Art, Painting, Sculpture
E, -- Ecclesiastic, Biblical, Religious
G, -- Grammar, Retoric, Logic, Literature, Schools
L, -- Legal, Government, Tax, Financial, Political, Titles
P, -- Poetic
S, -- Science, Philosophy, Mathematics, Units/Measures
T, -- Technical, Architecture, Topography, Surveying
W, -- War, Military, Naval, Ships, Armor
Y -- Mythology

type GEO_TYPE is (
X, -- All or none
A, -- Africa
B, -- Britian
C, -- China
D, -- Scandinavia
E, -- Egypt
F, -- France, Gaul
G, -- Germany
H, -- Greece
I, -- Italy, Rome
J, -- India
K, -- Balkans
N, -- Netherlands
P, -- Persia
Q, -- Near East
R, -- Russia
S, -- Spain, Iberia
U -- Eastern Europe

FREQ

A full column or more, more than 50 citations
B half column, more than 20 citations
C more then 5 citations
D 4-5 citations
E 2-3 citations
F only 1 citation
type FREQUENCY_TYPE is ( -- For dictionary entries
X, -- -- Unknown or unspecified
A, -- very freq -- Very frequent, in all Elementry Latin books
B, -- frequent -- Frequent, in top 10 percent
C, -- common -- For Dictionary, in top 10,000 words
D, -- lesser -- For Dictionary, in top 20,000 words
E, -- uncommon -- 2 or 3 citations
F, -- very rare -- Having only single citation in OLD or L+S
I, -- inscription -- Only citation is inscription
M, -- graffiti -- Presently not much used
N -- Pliny -- Things that appear only in Pliny Natural History
);
For inflections, the same type is used with different weights


-- X, -- -- Unknown or unspecified
-- A, -- most freq -- Very frequent, the most common
-- B, -- sometimes -- sometimes, a not unusual VARIANT
-- C, -- uncommon -- occasionally seen
-- D, -- infrequent -- recognizable variant, but unlikely
-- E, -- rare -- for a few cases, very unlikely
-- F, -- very rare -- singular examples,
-- I, -- -- Presently not used
-- M, -- -- Presently not used
-- N -- -- Presently not used

type SOURCE_TYPE is (
X, -- General or unknown or too common to say
A,
B, -- C.H.Beeson, A Primer of Medieval Latin, 1925 (Bee)
C, -- Charles Beard, Cassell's Latin Dictionary 1892 (CAS)
D, -- J.N.Adams, Latin Sexual Vocabulary, 1982 (Sex)
E, -- L.F.Stelten, Dictionary of Eccles. Latin, 1995 (Ecc)
F, -- Roy J. Deferrari, Dictionary of St. Thomas Aquinas, 1960 (DeF)
G, -- Gildersleeve + Lodge, Latin Grammar 1895 (G+L)
H, -- Collatinus Dictionary by Yves Ouvrard
I, -- Leverett, F.P., Lexicon of the Latin Language, Boston 1845
J,
K, -- Calepinus Novus, modern Latin, by Guy Licoppe (Cal)
L, -- Lewis, C.S., Elementary Latin Dictionary 1891
M, -- Latham, Revised Medieval Word List, 1980
N, -- Lynn Nelson, Wordlist
O, -- Oxford Latin Dictionary, 1982 (OLD)
P, -- Souter, A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D., Oxford 1949
Q, -- Other, cited or unspecified dictionaries
R, -- Plater & White, A Grammar of the Vulgate, Oxford 1926
S, -- Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary, 1879 (L+S)
T, -- Found in a translation -- no dictionary reference
U, -- Du Cange
V, -- Vademecum in opus Saxonis - Franz Blatt (Saxo)
W, -- My personal guess
Y, -- Temp special code
Z -- Sent by user -- no dictionary reference
-- Mostly John White of Blitz Latin

-- Consulted but used only indirectly
-- Liddell + Scott Greek-English Lexicon

-- Consulted but used only occasionally, seperately referenced
-- Allen + Greenough, New Latin Grammar, 1888 (A+G)
-- Harrington/Pucci/Elliott, Medieval Latin 2nd Ed 1997 (Harr)
-- C.C./C.L. Scanlon Latin Grammar/Second Latin, TAN 1976 (SCANLON)
-- W. M. Lindsay, Short Historical Latin Grammar, 1895 (Lindsay)
);
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: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby thesaurus » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:15 pm

Amazing. I had no idea those information files existed (probably because I never looked). I didn't know there was so much extra information embedded in the program.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Dictionary noun descriptions

Postby adrianus » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:20 pm

There are many inaccuracies (the task is just too huge) but many good things.
Sunt multa errata (pensum nimis onerosum est) at multa bona.
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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