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'puella' singularis est

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'puella' singularis est

Postby pmda » Fri May 14, 2010 6:32 am

Possibly a very silly question but I just can't understand. In Orberg's Lingua Latina he says things like 'puer' singularis est. 'pueri' pluralis est.. 'puella' singularis est'...etc..etc....Can anyone tell me what is the adjective that 'singularis' and 'pluralis' is describing? Does it mean the WORD pueri...in which case it would be neuter 'singularum'.. yet of course the subject of the sentence 'the word 'puella' is feminine' is neuter - vocabulum. Yet he says 'puella' est singularis......Are 'singularis' and 'pluralis' etc not declined at all? It's just that if they are adjectives then I don't know what nouns they are describing and what is their gender and number...thanks..
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby loqu » Fri May 14, 2010 7:16 am

The neutrum of 'singularis' is not 'singularum' but 'singulare'.

Anyway I'm guessing the whole sentence would be puella (numerus) singularis est, meaning that the word puella is singular in number.
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby pmda » Fri May 14, 2010 11:14 am

Thanks. Yes so it seems like a two-termination i-stem adjective - like tristis. But the gender is still M. or F. It ain't neuter.
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby pmda » Fri May 14, 2010 11:15 am

I think your guess seems rational... thanks. I'll await any other views.
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby korudos » Fri May 14, 2010 3:43 pm

Singularis and pluralis are both adjectives which can modify both masc and fem nouns; puer and puella are masc and fem, respectively. The sentences in [Lingua Latina] mean exactly what they sound like; "puer" is singular, "pueri' is plural, etc. The adjectives are, if you want to get technical, predicate adjectives. Sometimes you might hear "copulative." (Think of the "est" as a fuzzy equal sign—meaning the two words share a quality.)

Hope that helps.
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby furrykef » Sat May 15, 2010 12:02 am

korudos wrote:Singularis and pluralis are both adjectives which can modify both masc and fem nouns; puer and puella are masc and fem, respectively.


I guess the problem here is that they were expected to be neuter since what it's really saying is "The word 'puer' is singular", not that a boy itself is singular. I would expect an utterance, including the name of a word, to be neuter.

Of course, what defines correctness isn't logic, but what the Romans actually said. So maybe when they described a single word, they did use the gender of the word rather than defaulting to the neuter...
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby Essorant » Sat May 15, 2010 1:56 am

The word puer is masculine and the word puella is feminine, therefore it makes sense to use the masculine/feminine forms singularis and pluralis to refer to them.
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby vqp.cass » Sat May 15, 2010 1:55 pm

I am a near novice and may be mistaken, but it seems to me
(1) This is a very good question.
(2) None of the responses tackle why it would read "pueri pluralis est", using a singular verb and singular adjective to describe a plural noun.

Question: Are singularis and pluralis third declension adjectives, as I am guessing? The following assumes they are.
I am using Jenney's First Year Latin, 1990 edition. On page 50, introducing adjectives, I am told,
"If one adjective modifies nouns in different genders, it is masculine plural if the nouns refer to persons; neuter plural if to things."

As puer, puella, and pueri all refer to persons, could it be that there is an implicit "he" (Latin "is") as subject with which the verb and adjective are in agreement? Then, in the case that two nouns referring to persons were spoken of in the same sentence, the subject would shift to implicit masculine "they" (Latin "ei"). Like so,

"pueri pluralis est" == "(he) is plural"
"puella singularis est" == "(he) is singular"
"pueri et puellae plurales sunt" == "(they) are plural"

Whereas if nouns referring to things were spoken of, the subject would be neuter, singular "it" (Latin ""id") or plural "they" (I can't find the Latin for neuter "they"), depending on whether the subject were singular or compound. Like so,

"terra singulare est" == "(it) is singular"
"terrae plurale est" == "(it) is plural"
"timor et terra singulares sunt" == "(they) are singular"

Just a thought. Right or wrong, you gotta love this stuff. It makes you think!
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby Damoetas » Sat May 15, 2010 1:58 pm

I think the original question isn't really being addressed: it would indeed be strange if the sentence said, "The boy is singular" instead of "The word puer is singular." One way to check this would be to look elsewhere in Orberg where he introduces a neuter noun (as I'm assuming he does): does the text read, Oppidum singulare est, oppida pluralia sunt? (I'm guessing not.)

The likely solution was mentioned in an earlier post by loqu: singularis is masculine because it's agreeing with the implied noun numerus: so the sentence means, "The (word) puer is singular (number)." Singularis might actually be genitive: singularis numeri. Traupman's Conversational Latin, p. 236 notes that a genitive is generally used in parsing words, e.g. Q: Cuius numeri est 'puella'? A: Numeri singularis.
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Re: 'puella' singularis est

Postby vqp.cass » Sat May 15, 2010 2:22 pm

oops.
The final sentence in my last ought to have read
"timor et terra singularia sunt" == "(they, n.) are singular"
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