margo, -inis (m/f)

By john abshire, in 'Latin Beginners', Jul 12, 2019.

  1. john abshire Member

    margo, -inis (m/f) edge; rim; border
    what does (m/f) mean? i.e. does it mean masculine or feminine, or does it mean neuter?
    e.g. long border=longus margo, longa margo, or longum margo?
  2. I believe it means masculine or feminine, like this entry for dies:
    diēs m or f
  3. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    It can be longus or longa in your example but not longum.
  4. john abshire Member

    is there a reason for a m/f noun? i.e. why not just masculine, just feminine, or neuter?
    do nouns designated m/f have something (else) in common?
  5. Hemo Rusticus Tom Bombadillo

    • Civis Illustris
    In short, Latin-speakers themselves didn't know for sure. There are plenty of examples in Old English (where a given word may belong to two morphological categories and have any one of the three genders, depending on the text/author/dialect), which also had grammatical gender.

    More or less. A vast number of nouns in Latin indicate their gender morphologically; to put it one way, the word puella is feminine not because it means 'girl' but because †it ends in 'a'. However, many nouns, specially consonant-stems like margo, reveal little or nothing by morphology alone as far as grammatical gender, which means the inherited gender of a noun (if it was ever established to begin with) would have to be handed down perfectly from generation to generation. And as each of us knows from experience, human memory is not perfect.

    †There are, of course, exceptions like nauta.

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