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Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

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Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby Asteroidea » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:36 pm

I am a poet finalizing my manuscript for final delivery to the publisher in the next two weeks. One of my poems contains a Latin classification for a starfish (Asteroidea) followed by a Latin word (prosperus). I am having trouble confirming whether my use of the word "prosperus" is correct and would really appreciate help before the book goes to print.

The phrase is simply: “Asteroidea prosperus.” It is meant to say (and is in fact followed directly by the English words) “Lucky starfish.”

My research has suggested either "prosperus" or "prospera," and I'm unable to figure out whether "asteroidea," as a classification of a species, is considered plural or singular. I believe "prosperus/a" is the word I want (and as a poet, I'm sensitive to the suggestions it carries in English, as in "to prosper"), but I'm very unsure of the form.

Thank you so much to anyone who can offer the correct usage.
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Re: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby furrykef » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:44 pm

Well, "asteroidea" is a plural -- "starfishes". I'm not entirely sure what the singular is but I'm guessing "asteroideon". The adjective that would go with it is "prosperum".

I must add that if you're trying to make it sound like a species name, though, the first part of the name should be a genus, not a class.

EDIT: My first guess had been "asteroideum". I'm convinced now it's probably "asteroideon" because it comes from a Greek root, and seems consistent with other Greek nouns I've found.
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Re: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:42 pm

The Greek here is tricky and the singular would be "asteroides".

This is just an adjective meaning star-like and although the plural is used for the class of starfish, it doesn't seem like the singular is used to refer to the creature. The Greek word is "asterias" but I can't find out if this was used in Latin or if there's any other word.
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Re: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby adrianus » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:08 pm

"Asteroidea" is really a feminine singular adjective ("asteroideus -a -um") referring to the species or class (the words for species/class are feminine in Latin—"asteroidea species/classis"). In English the adjective is used collectively, but not in Latin.
"asteroidea prospera" = "happy starfish (singular)" works if you mean "happy class of starfish". A star fish in Latin ordinarily is "stella piscis" so "[stella] piscis classis asteroideae" ("a [star] fish of the asteroid class/species")

Adjectivum singulis numeri feminini generis ad nomen classis seu speciei enim adjunctum est "asteroidea" (de "asteroideus -a -um" adjectivo). Solùm anglicè numerus collectivus significatur.
Ideò per "asteroidea prospera" potest significari hoc: "classis asteroidea prospera".

* I edited because "piscis" is masculine, not feminine. // [i]Hoc correxi quia piscis non feminini sed masculini generis est.
Last edited by adrianus on Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:22 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: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:40 pm

Names of taxa higher than the genus are plural, e.g. for classes, mammalia, aves, reptilia.

Edit: but I can't find out how Latin declined such Greek adjectives (ἀστεροειδής, ἀστεροειδές) so I don't know if this an adjective "asteroides" or "asteroideus" with an adapted Latin suffix. There's certainly no αστεροειδεος so it wouldn't be asterodieon.
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Re: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby adrianus » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:21 pm

Even in modern naming species is singular: // Secundum systemma nomenclaturae modernum, singulis numeri est nomen speciei
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted-sites/iczn/code/index.jsp wrote:11.9. Species-group names.
11.9.1. A species-group name must be a word of two or more letters, or a compound word (see Article 11.9.5), and, if a Latin or latinized word must be, or be treated as,
11.9.1.1. an adjective or participle in the nominative singular (as in Echinus esculentus, Felis marmorata, Seioptera vibrans), or
11.9.1.2. a noun in the nominative singular standing in apposition to the generic name (as in Struthio camelus, Cercopithecus diana), or
11.9.1.3. a noun in the genitive case (e.g. rosae, sturionis, thermopylarum, galliae, sanctipauli, sanctaehelenae, cuvieri, merianae, smithorum), or
11.9.1.4. an adjective used as a substantive in the genitive case and derived from the specific name of an organism with which the animal in question is associated (as in Lernaeocera lusci, a copepod parasitic on Trisopterus luscus).
11.9.2. An adjectival species-group name proposed in Latin text but written otherwise than in the nominative singular because of the requirements of Latin grammar is available provided that it meets the other requirements of availability, but it is to be corrected to the nominative singular if necessary.
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: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby furrykef » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:37 pm

adrianus wrote:"Asteroidea" is really a feminine singular adjective ("asteroideus -a -um") referring to the species or class (the words for species/class are feminine in Latin—"asteroidea species/classis"). In English the adjective is used collectively, but not in Latin.

How do we know it's feminine singular and not neuter plural? :???:
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Re: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:28 pm

adrianus wrote:Even in modern naming species is singular: // Secundum systemma nomenclaturae modernum, singulis numeri est nomen speciei

Yes, but "asteroidea" is the name of a class, and the names of taxa higher than genus are plural. The site you linked does mention any taxa higher than family, but it does state that family-group names are plural.
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Re: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby adrianus » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:41 pm

OK. I must be misunderstanding the naming systems. I'd better look at them more carefully. Thanks.
Licet. Forsit haec systemata nomenclaturae malè intellego. Diligentiùs operam ad hanc rem dare me oportet. Gratias.

Addendum

You're right. I search for "asteroideum" and there it is in names as a neuter adjective/substantive (so asteroideum prosperum singular and asteroidea prospera plural)
Erravi. Substantivum/adjectivum "asteroideum" in interrete inquiro et ibi inveni ut neutrum vocabulum.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?rls=ig&hl=en&source=hp&q=asteroideum&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
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: Poet requesting assistance with Latin word

Postby Asteroidea » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:18 am

Thank you so much all for the responses! I've printed out and studied your suggestions and poked around some more in regards to taxonomy and starfish classifications. I do want to make this as correct as possible (as if there is such a thing, as if something might be "correct enough"), and after some poetic soul-searching, I've decided to go with "asteroidea prospera."

If it's singular, all the better; if it's plural, it will still work in the context of the poem. Although (and thank you for reminding me of this) the word "asteroidea" does refer to a class of starfish and does not represent the starfish itself, the word (in the animal world at least if not in the Latin world) seems synonymous with "starfish." And, it carries with it the English connotations of asteroids and stars and destiny/fate/astonomy, etc. - but this is my poetic license taking over.

"Adjective adjective" seems silly, but I think I have to live with it to get all the layering I want out of the words.

Again, thank you. I've very much enjoyed this small peek into your world!
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