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What determines gender of 'Cetera'

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What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby pmda » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:22 am

The correct answer to a question in Orberg's Exercitia Latina.

Alii tabernarii quid vendunt?

is given as:

Alii tabernarii libros, rosas, mala, cetera vendunt.

Can anyone explain what determines the gender (I take it it's always plural) of cetera. It seems to be accusative neuter plural. Is it simply obeying the convention that unspecified objects are neuter as in 'Quid vendit Albinus?'
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Re: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:34 am

Exactly, cētera or caetera = "other things", unspecified, neuter.
Aptè dicis. Neutrius generis est adjectivum substantivum quia non particulares [sunt] res ad quas pertinet.

I take it it's always plural

No, just depends on the sense. L&S says sing. is rare and masc. sing nom ("caeterus") isn't used!

Minimè. Solummodò ab sensu pendet. Normale adjectivum est sensu substantivo separatìm hoc: secundum L&S, rarò singulariter est adjectivum et "caeterus" figura masculini generis nominativo casu singulariter caret.
Last edited by adrianus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:13 pm, edited 2 times 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: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby pmda » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:45 am

Thanks Adrianus.. by the way is the spelling interchangeable....cetera / caetera ?
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Re: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:18 pm

Spelling, yes, long e and ae diphthong are here interchangeable.
De orthographiâ, ita est: illae litterae (in "caetera" substantivo e longa et ae diphthongus) inter se commutari possunt.
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: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby Alatius » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:25 pm

I believe that "cetera" is the original form, and "caetera" is a hypercorrection that arose when the pronunciation of "ae" had merged with that of "e". The spelling "caetera" can occasionally be found in older printed books and manuscripts, but it was not to be pronounced any different from "cetera". I would advise against using the spelling "caetera" nowadays — not, I might add, because of any contempt for post-classical Latin, but because it tempts learners who use restored pronunciation to produce the wholly unhistorical /cajtera/.
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Re: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:51 pm

That's interesting, Alatius. What makes you believe that? OLD, L&S and Gaffiot all give it as simply an alternative form and usually they would signal possible hypercorrections as less desirable but they don't with it,—just an alternative.

Id mihi curae est, Alati. Quid te sic credere facit? Nullum è dictionariis de OLD de L&S de Gaffiot quae tales errores testificare solent sic testificat formam per diphthongum. Simplicem et alternatam formam esse eam denotant.
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: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby Alatius » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:09 pm

Hm, I see; that's interesting; I should investigate that further. However, what makes me still believe that is the epigraphical evidence. Go to
http://oracle-vm.ku-eichstaett.de:8888/ ... graphik_en
and make a search for "ceter" (found in hundreds of inscriptions) and compare it with "caeter" (4).
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Re: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:43 pm

Consentius calls the erroneous sticking of an extra letter (or syllable) into the middle of a word the grammatical error of epenthesis.
Epenthesis, ut dicit Consentius, est hic metaplasmus: adjectio litterae (syllabaeve) falsa ad mediam dictionem.
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: What determines gender of 'Cetera'

Postby adrianus » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:17 pm

I explored your link. That's great, Alatius. You're surely right.
In tuum nexum inquisivi. Quàm bonum est, Alati! Verò rectè dicis.
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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