adjective formation questions

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latina misera
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adjective formation questions

Post by latina misera » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:59 am

I'm a philosophy student by day and have recently (tonight) decided that the "therefore symbol" in logic, ∴, is long overdue for a proper name. It's a symbol consisting of three dots, so naturally I want to call it "three-dotted thing" in Latin. I need an adjective which means "three-dotted", but my dictionary doesn't contain an entry for even a one-dotted thing. As I was looking around, I came upon "punctum, -i, n., prick, puncture; dot; spot", obviously from the PPP of "pungo, pungere...". Now, my first instinct was to take that "punctus" and prepend a "tri-", leaving me with the adjective "tripunctus, -a, -um, adj., having been punctured thrice (i.e., three-dotted). I almost banged it into the neuter and called it a night, but instead I decided to hop on over to the "tri-" section of my dictionary in order to have a quick peek at some other "tri-" adjectives. "tri-, pref, consisting of three of the things named, e.g., tricornis having three horns". Hmm, "cornu, -us" is a fourth decl. n., but when it is turned into an "tri-" adjective (three-horned), it becomes a third declension. I didn't feel comfortable making any sweeping assumptions based on how a particular fourth decl. noun is converted to an adjective, so I checked on a couple of first and second decl. nouns as well. "angulus, -i, m., angle" holds decl. becoming "triangulus, -a, -um, adj., three-angled, triangular", but a lot of other 2nd declensions such as "remus, -i, m., oar" become 3rd declensions "triremis, -is, -e, adj., having three banks of oars". Just about all of the 1st declension feminine nouns listed in my dictionary which have "tri-" adjective equivalents become 3rds as well. Is it safe for me to assume that because i'm starting with a PPP, that "three-dotted" is simply going to be "tripunctus", or would it be formed from the subst. n. "punctum", and possibly become "tripunctis". I know this seems like a stupid thing to be thinking about so excessively, but honestly, I'm really not concerned with the name of the symbol anymore. I guess I'm just curious to know whether there's a consistent set of rules by which to form adjectives from nouns. I did a very light Google search on the subject and couldn't come up with anything. I'd really appreciate it if anybody who is more knowledgeable, has done a lot of composition, or simply has an opinion on the matter could throw in her or his two cents. As of right now, I've only got two.

Thanks,
William

bellum paxque
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Post by bellum paxque » Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:13 pm

I've done a bit of composition, but not exactly what you'd call a lot - nor am I extremely knowledgeable about Latin morphology. My two bit opinion is that there isn't a set of rules per se to be used in word formation. Hence, sometimes fourth declension nouns are formed from the past participle (sonitus, us from sono) and sometimes third declension nouns are formed (cogitatio from cogito). Remember that a lot of this word formation does not take place on the conscious level; rather, languages allow a certain variety of options for word formation (for instance, I just heard yesterday at a buddhist temple the preacher say "spacey," coining an adjective from "space." Of course, that word already exists (in slang) with a different meaning, as well as spacious (Latinate)). Now a lot of Latin authors did coin their own words, so perhaps it would be safer to compare a list of obvious artificial words with words that seem to have arisen "naturally." Or perhaps there is a neo-Latin standard for the creation of new words. Or perhaps there is a doctoral dissertation somewhere dealing with this curious question.

metuo ne responsis egeam bonis!

David
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Post by CharlesH » Mon Aug 28, 2006 11:23 pm

edited for brevity
Last edited by CharlesH on Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

nostos
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Post by nostos » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:53 pm

bellum paxque wrote:is that there isn't a set of rules per se to be used in word formation. Hence, sometimes fourth declension nouns are formed from the past participle (sonitus, us from sono) and sometimes third declension nouns are formed (cogitatio from cogito). Remember that a lot of this word formation does not take place on the conscious level; rather, languages allow a certain variety of options for word formation
You could be writing an intro to morphology, bpq. Your observation hits the mark very accurately: what you said are the rudiments of morphological productivity, and competition :)
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bellum paxque
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Post by bellum paxque » Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:19 am

You could be writing an intro to morphology, bpq. Your observation hits the mark very accurately: what you said are the rudiments of morphological productivity, and competition
ah, shucks *blushing* ;)
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Post by Michaelyus » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:07 pm

Just as long as people can understand it (and you decline it correctly) it will be OK.

BTW there may be confusion between "therefore" and "because".
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