the Latin Suffix -logia

By NewLinguist, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Jun 17, 2010.

  1. NewLinguist New Member

    I was looking at the suffix in English -ology and found that it allegedly links to the latin suffix -logia f, although it doesn't list the equivalent masculine suffix. For example -atus m, -ata f, and -atum n are the Latin suffixes that can be used to form adjectives from nouns. So is there a masculine suffix to match -ologia f in Latin used to create masculine nouns relating to a field of study?
  2. JaimeB Civis Illustris

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    Adjectives in Latin have gender-specific forms because their forms are determined by the gender, case, and number of the nouns they modify, so dictionaries list bonus, -a, -um in all three genders. Nouns, which is what words ending in -logia generally are, almost always have a single gender (except for male and female animals, or the occasional noun with gender identity issues). So you get puella pulchra, butoppidum pulchrum, and so on.

    By the way, many of these words in Latin are borrowed from Greek; the suffix -logia being related to the Greek word λόγος, "a word," which in turn comes from λέγω, "I say." The various "-ologies" are the results of talking about those subjects: geology, ontology, etc.
  3. NewLinguist New Member

    Hi JamieB

    I noticed that word stems can be combined with feminine, masculine and neuter suffixes, for example the suffixes of -us and -io can be used to create masculine and feminine abstract nouns such as motus and motio or concursus and concursio, thus I thought that it should also be possible to find the masculine suffix related to -logia f, perhaps the suffix of -log + a masculine ending such as or or us would be the way to do it?

    Same goes for the suffix -itas f, I am not convinced that all the words in English that end in -ity are from -itas, perhaps they are from the masculine versions -itus or -itor?
  4. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    The English suffix -ity is everywhere derived ultimately from Latin -itas. Of course this suffix has become productive in English as well, which is why it can be found in many words with no Latin parallel, e.g. "scarcity".
  5. NewLinguist New Member

    Hi Imber Ranae

    Thankyou for your reply to my addtional inquiry regarding the suffix -ity said to be derived from the Latin suffix -itas f, although it should also be possible to make abstract masculine nouns relating to a field of study not just feminine ones, so I was hoping to discover what the masculine suffix was.

    Looking at some of the declensions of nouns,

    1st declension
    Predominantly feminine nouns that end in -a/-ae, while there are a few masculine nouns such as agricola,nauta that take the same suffix -a.

    2nd declension
    Predominantly masculine nouns that end in -us or -ius, -er, or -ir while there are a few feminine nouns that take the same suffixes.

    3rd declension
    masculine agency nouns usually end in -or/-oris eg doctor, gladiator
    while feminine agency nouns end in -ix eg dominatrix
    masculine abstract nouns end in -us
    while feminine abstract nouns end in -io, -(i)tas, -(i)tudo, or -ix

    Are nouns ending in -is predominately masculine or feminine? eg canis m (dog), civis m or f (citizen), or vis f (force power)?

    4th declension
    Predominantly masculine nouns with an -us suffix + some feminine nouns with the same suffix.

    5th declension
    Predominantly feminine nouns with a suffix of -es/-ies eg aciës (keenness, edge), faciës (shape, form), fides (trust, faith)

    So in sum nouns that end in -us/-ius, -er, or -ir are masculine nouns
    while nouns that end in -a/-ae, -ix, -io, -(i)tas, -(i)tudo, and -es/ies are feminine nouns
    I am still not sure whether -is is predominantly masculine or feminine?

    So one could theoretically take the stem of the suffix -itas f and change it to masculine like so -itius/-itus, -iter, -itor, -itir to create masculine nouns, or would one simply add the masculine suffixes directly to the stem of the word?

    Same with -logia f, it could be possible to change it to a masculine suffix like so -logius/-logus, -loger, -logoe, -logir.
  6. JaimeB Civis Illustris

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    I think Imber Ranae is right about -ity in English coming ultimately from Latin, although it may have been borrowed through French historically, but the French suffix -ité also derives from Latin -itas. Anyway, when languages "borrow" from other languages, they borrow whole words, and sometimes the results are strange. Latin does things with sounds that English wouldn't do, but we borrow the results when we borrow vocabulary. For example, we have "divide" and "division," and the "d" changes to an "s" because of Latin language patterns, but we don't do that in English; I mean if you "ride" a horse, I don't ask you if you enjoyed your "rision," do I?

    Anyway, Latin borrowed -logia from Greek, and also borrowed -logus for the man (or -loga for the woman) who studies the topic of the -logia, so you have astrologia for studying the stars, and astrologus for the one who does the studying. The gender for the person can be masculine or feminine, of course, according to the situation. In English, we've changed that to -loger or -logist, as in "astrologer" or "biologist," but French has "astrologue" and Spanish, "astrólogo." Also, you have to see that aster- comes from the Greek word for "star;" the Latin word is stella. So you see, it's the whole word that's borrowed, not the parts.

    Now in English, some modern coinages (new words) get mixed constituents, like "hyperinflation," for example: the hyper- prefix is Greek, but "inflation" comes from Latin. These words are called macaronic, after a type of medieval poetry that mixed different languages. The word should really be "superinflation," because super- is the Latin reflex of the Greek hyper-. The similarity of super- and hyper- is no accident; both come from an older form, and Latin cognates of Greek words often have "s" where Greek has "h."

    By the way, what you're doing when you look at prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words is called immediate constituent analysis. Each part you look at is not a word, but a morpheme. Stems are often free morphemes, i. e., they can be words on their own, but prefixes and suffixes are usually bound morphemes, i. e., they can't exist outside of a whole word. Sometimes we think they can, like the English word "hyper," which is just a prefix in most cases, but we have made it a word meaning "hyperactive" or "overly nervous." We use "super" this way also, to mean "very good."

    It's good you're curious about immediate constituents. Studying them helps you learn new vocabulary or understand unfamiliar words from their familiar parts. Just remember that the parts are not borrowed, but the whole word, at least in the first instance; later the parts can come to seem native to the language borrowing them, and they can get switched around macaronically. Don't you think studying Latin is super-cool?
  7. JaimeB Civis Illustris

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    Genders and declensions are different systems, and don't always line up in perfect order. Most first declensions are feminine, as you say, but some aren't. The third declension mixes up all three genders. The fourth has lots of feminines, but not exclusively, and the fifth has very few words in it.

    The gender and declension systems are different word classes. That's probably the best way to think of it.

    You might like to read the wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_Declensions.
  8. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    Hi.

    Whether it "should be possible" or not has no bearing on the language as it existed. As it so happens, almost every nominalizing suffix (i.e. suffixes added to verb and adjective stems to make nouns) will form a feminine abstract noun in Latin. Off the top of my head, these are -iō,-iōnis; -tia,-tiae; -tūdō,-tūdinis; -tās,-tātis; -tūs,-tūtis. All form feminines. This clearly demonstrates a tendency on the part of the Romans to conceive of abstract nouns as feminine. The only exception is the masculine fourth declension abstract nouns, which are derived directly from the supine of a verb.

    First of all, -a is not a suffix. It's the regular termination of any first declension noun, not just of abstract nouns formed with a nominalizing suffix.

    I don't think there are any from the second declension.

    -īx is a nominalizing suffix, but not an abstract one. It designates a female agent, like English "actress" (a woman who acts).

    No, their gender is not predictable. But this has nothing to do with abstract nouns.

    ditto.

    The simple fifth declension termination -ēs or -iēs does seem to form some abstract nouns, but by the classical period I don't think this was still productive.

    There are actually some first declension nouns (terminating in -a) which are masculine.

    Neither. You simply have to learn each word's gender as you go.

    Theoretically speaking, anything's possible. But this is not how Latin works.

    No, not really. There are some second declension masculine nouns in -logus, likewise borrowed from Greek, but they aren't abstract nouns.
  9. NewLinguist New Member

    I think Imber Ranae is right about -ity in English coming ultimately from Latin, although it may have been borrowed through French historically, but the French suffix -ité also derives from Latin -itas. Anyway, when languages "borrow" from other languages, they borrow whole words, and sometimes the results are strange. Latin does things with sounds that English wouldn't do, but we borrow the results when we borrow vocabulary. For example, we have "divide" and "division," and the "d" changes to an "s" because of Latin language patterns, but we don't do that in English; I mean if you "ride" a horse, I don't ask you if you enjoyed your "rision," do I?

    I agree with you and Imber Ranae regarding the etymon for -ity, I had a look at a couple of references and I couldn't find any pointing at a greek root for -ity. As I look more into the English words they seem to be simplfied a lot from Latin and the gender removed in most cases, and perhaps the word construction has changed to allow for different sound clusters to emerge. For example J seems to be a relatively new consonant that only appeared in English around the 14-17th centuries making Jehovah and Jesus relatively new spellings with new pronunciations. This means that as a modern native English speaker I am ignorant to the precise use of gender and its influence on word roots,stems, prefixes and suffixes. I am new to Latin and linguistics, and have only been looking at Latin for about a month now so I will have to work to understand everything you say about Latin and Greek.

    Anyway, Latin borrowed -logia from Greek, and also borrowed -logus for the man (or -loga for the woman) who studies the topic of the -logia, so you have astrologia for studying the stars, and astrologus for the one who does the studying. The gender for the person can be masculine or feminine, of course, according to the situation. In English, we've changed that to -loger or -logist, as in "astrologer" or "biologist," but French has "astrologue" and Spanish, "astrólogo." Also, you have to see that aster- comes from the Greek word for "star;" the Latin word is stella. So you see, it's the whole word that's borrowed, not the parts.

    I looked up Logos, and it seems to be from Ancient Greek λόγος (genitive λόγου) m, second declension (logos, “speech, oration, discourse, quote, story, study, ratio, word, calculation, reason”), from the verb λέγω "I say" (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%BB%CF ... E%BF%CF%82).

    Now the suffix -logy is also said to be derived < L -logia suffix f < Gk λόγος nm < Gk λέγω v

    As you can see somehow the sex of the abstract Greek noun logos λόγος m (meaning study/speech/reason) was changed so that abstract nouns relating to a field of study are then feminine resulting in words such as astrologia. Is it possible that the Greeks or the Romans had a masculine suffix for creating masculine nouns relating to a field of study and based on the word logos not just a feminine one?

    It is absorbing what you say about astro and stella, although I knew the two words in English I never realised that astro was Greek and stella the indigenous Latin version and also it now makes sense regarding the ending of astro -loger which seems to be a Latin suffix and a macaronic construction, while astrolog -ist would be an all greek construction, as -ist < L -ista m < Ancient Greek -ιστής (istēs)?

    Now in English, some modern coinages (new words) get mixed constituents, like "hyperinflation," for example: the hyper- prefix is Greek, but "inflation" comes from Latin. These words are called macaronic, after a type of medieval poetry that mixed different languages. The word should really be "superinflation," because super- is the Latin reflex of the Greek hyper-. The similarity of super- and hyper- is no accident; both come from an older form, and Latin cognates of Greek words often have "s" where Greek has "h."

    The difference between super and hyper is also very interesting. When I looked at a dictionary it said "super < L super (prep. and v. prefix) above, beyond, in addition, to an especially high degree; akin to Gk hypér ", although it doesn't indicate what akin means. So are you are saying that super is not just akin it is actually from Greek, the Romans simply changed the hy into an su?

    By the way, what you're doing when you look at prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words is called immediate constituent analysis. Each part you look at is not a word, but a morpheme. Stems are often free morphemes, i. e., they can be words on their own, but prefixes and suffixes are usually bound morphemes, i. e., they can't exist outside of a whole word. Sometimes we think they can, like the English word "hyper," which is just a prefix in most cases, but we have made it a word meaning "hyperactive" or "overly nervous." We use "super" this way also, to mean "very good."

    It's good you're curious about immediate constituents. Studying them helps you learn new vocabulary or understand unfamiliar words from their familiar parts. Just remember that the parts are not borrowed, but the whole word, at least in the first instance; later the parts can come to seem native to the language borrowing them, and they can get switched around macaronically. Don't you think studying Latin is super-cool?


    I did not know it was called immediate constituent analysis, my own term for it was word enginering, and I find it and Latin somewhat addictive.
  10. NewLinguist New Member

    IR Whether it "should be possible" or not has no bearing on the language as it existed. As it so happens, almost every nominalizing suffix (i.e. suffixes added to verb and adjective stems to make nouns) will form a feminine abstract noun in Latin. Off the top of my head, these are -iō,-iōnis; -tia,-tiae; -tūdō,-tūdinis; -tās,-tātis; -tūs,-tūtis. All form feminines. This clearly demonstrates a tendency on the part of the Romans to conceive of abstract nouns as feminine. The only exception is the masculine fourth declension abstract nouns, which are derived directly from the supine of a verb.

    I agree that -io, -(i)tas, -(i)tudo, -(i)tia are all used to make feminine abstract nouns, although, nouns ending in -us seem to be more masculine than feminine for example many of the nouns in the second and third declensions end in -us and are masculine and there should be some abstract nouns among them. Can you tell me the structure of how to create an abstract noun from the supine in the fourth declension?

    IR First of all, -a is not a suffix. It's the regular termination of any first declension noun, not just of abstract nouns formed with a nominalizing suffix.

    You have a point there.

    IR I don't think there are any from the second declension.

    Do you mean there are no abstract nouns in the second declension?

    IR -īx is a nominalizing suffix, but not an abstract one. It designates a female agent, like English "actress" (a woman who acts).

    What about radix, radicis. nf., root, origin. (math.), is it not an abstract concept?

    IR No, their gender is not predictable. But this has nothing to do with abstract nouns.
    ditto.


    In theory an common ending that is found in nouns and is also predominately masculine or feminine could be used to create abstract nouns, while if it is neither feminine or masculine then it could be used to make neuter or common gender nouns.

    IR The simple fifth declension termination -ēs or -iēs does seem to form some abstract nouns, but by the classical period I don't think this was still productive.

    Nevertheless these endings can signify feminine abstract nouns.

    IR There are actually some first declension nouns (terminating in -a) which are masculine.

    Sure, although they are more like feminine masculines rather than masculine, meaning that -a predominantly indicates a feminine noun.

    IR Neither. You simply have to learn each word's gender as you go.

    Ok.

    IR Theoretically speaking, anything's possible. But this is not how Latin works.

    It seems to me that it is both possible to create feminine and masculine abstract nouns by either adding the relevant suffixes to verb roots or stems, or by adapting the suffix directly. Also it actually occurs in Latin as for example with motus and motio, and upon reflection I am not sure if concurs- works in the same manner.

    IR No, not really. There are some second declension masculine nouns in -logus, likewise borrowed from Greek, but they aren't abstract nouns.

    Hmmm there must be a way.
  11. JaimeB Civis Illustris

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    You've got to be careful here: -ologer is an English suffix, not a Latin one. Normally, English uses -ologist for the name of the person who studies the topic, but even that is an English coinage; as I already pointed out, the Romance languages use various forms descended from the -logus suffix, which is the true Latin one. This Latin suffix is modeled on the Greek -όλογος (the accent moves back toward the beginning of the word as suffixes are added in Greek). The suffix -ιστής exists in Greek, but is not used with derivatives of -λογία, just -όλογος is used for that. Remember, when languages borrow, they borrow whole words or modify them slightly, they don't borrow bound morphemes per se.

    Also remember that grammatical gender and physical sex intersect only in living things, not in abstract nouns or inanimates. There is no extrinsic reason why mensa is feminine or why honor is masculine in Latin, each simply belongs to a particular word class; the fact that some nouns of those word classes refer to masculine or feminine animals or humans is a mere coincidence. This is a little hard to understand for English speakers, because only personal pronouns have masculine or feminine gender in English (he/she, his/hers, him/her); grammatical gender distinctions for nouns have been leveled in English. Technically, English has one gender for nouns, the common gender, but that fact makes it so trivial that we rarely bother to mention it. Latin and Greek (and some modern languages, like German and Russian) have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter); Romance languages have two (masculine and feminine, because most Latin neuters migrated to the masculine, except ones that were commonly used in the plural; the final -a of those made them resemble feminines, so they migrated to the feminine gender, e. g., Latin folia [n pl], becomes hoja in Spanish, foglia in Italian, feuille in French, folha in Portuguese, all feminine singular); English has one gender (common). Interestingly some Scandinavian languages have two genders (neuter and common). In these languages the historical masculines and feminines were leveled into a common gender, and only the neuters survived as a separate gender.

    Remember: in grammar, gender means (a) word class(es) for nouns and pronouns (and every adjective in all genders for languages that require adjective-noun gender agreement, which isn't necessary in English because there's only one noun gender in English); grammatical gender is not the same as the sex of living things, and all nouns, both animates and inanimates, have gender.

    Also: "Akin to" just means "related to," not "descended from." Latin didn't "change" the hy- of hyper- into the su- of super-. Latin is not a direct descendant of Greek; rather, both Latin and Greek descend from a common ancestor, some unwritten intermediate level(s) between Primitive Indo-European and the ancient contemporaries, Latin and Greek, which we have written evidence for today. As languages evolve, sounds change. In this case, it looks like Latin probably kept the initial s- where in Greek it evolved into h-; Latin also didn't have the fronted "u" that Greek had (ancient Greek had two different high rounded vowels, one fronted vowel "υ," and one back vowel "ου," and Latin had only one high rounded vowel "u," the back vowel, not the fronted one). For that reason, whatever form this prefix (hyper- or super-) had in the parent language, it evolved differently into Latin and Greek. Greek and Latin both evolved from the common parent; Latin and Greek didn't evolve either one from the other, but Latin did substantially borrow vocabulary from Greek, probably because the Romans regarded Greek culture as more sophisticated than their own.
  12. NewLinguist New Member

    You've got to be careful here: -ologer is an English suffix, not a Latin one. Normally, English uses -ologist for the name of the person who studies the topic, but even that is an English coinage; as I already pointed out, the Romance languages use various forms descended from the -logus suffix, which is the true Latin one. This Latin suffix is modeled on the Greek -όλογος (the accent moves back toward the beginning of the word as suffixes are added in Greek). The suffix -ιστής exists in Greek, but is not used with derivatives of -λογία, just -όλογος is used for that. Remember, when languages borrow, they borrow whole words or modify them slightly, they don't borrow bound morphemes per se.

    Ok Jamie, I am looking at this stuff more closely now, I am not sure if I have it all correct yet. From what I have read -er is a suffix for agent nouns and is an alternate form of the -or suffix which is a Latin rather than Greek derivative, sometimes also said to be derived from Latin -ārius such as in the case of argentārius although this is in dispute. Then I deduced that the suffix -logist seems to be composed of -log- and -ist both of which have Greek rather than Roman etymons. Applying the same logic to the suffix -logus makes it seem to be composed of Gk -log- and -us although I can't confirm -us to be derived from Latin or Greek as none of my sources include it.

    What I have got written down so far:
    The morpheme -log- < Logos λόγος nm (study/reason) < Ancient Greek Logos λόγος nm (genitive λόγου) nm < verb λέγω "I say"
    The suffix -ia < L -ia < Ancient Greek -ια, -εια (-ia), which form abstract nouns of the feminine gender.
    The suffix -er < L -or used to create masculine agent nouns (which contrast to feminine -ix agent nouns)
    The suffix -ist < L -ista m < Ancient Greek -ιστής (istēs)
    The morpheme -us is speculatively from Latin m, unless it is from Gk -ος m ?
    The suffix -y < L -ia f, -ium n; Gk -ia, -eia, -ion (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/-y)

    -logist < Gk -log- + Gk -ist m (both morphemes derived from Greek)
    -loger < Gk -log- + L -er m)
    -logy < Gk -log- + Gk -y neuter or fem?)

    Also remember that grammatical gender and physical sex intersect only in living things, not in abstract nouns or inanimates. There is no extrinsic reason why mensa is feminine or why honor is masculine in Latin, each simply belongs to a particular word class; the fact that some nouns of those word classes refer to masculine or feminine animals or humans is a mere coincidence. This is a little hard to understand for English speakers, because only personal pronouns have masculine or feminine gender in English (he/she, his/hers, him/her); grammatical gender distinctions for nouns have been leveled in English. Technically, English has one gender for nouns, the common gender, but that fact makes it so trivial that we rarely bother to mention it. Latin and Greek (and some modern languages, like German and Russian) have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter); Romance languages have two (masculine and feminine, because most Latin neuters migrated to the masculine, except ones that were commonly used in the plural; the final -a of those made them resemble feminines, so they migrated to the feminine gender, e. g., Latin folia [n pl], becomes hoja in Spanish, foglia in Italian, feuille in French, folha in Portuguese, all feminine singular); English has one gender (common). Interestingly some Scandinavian languages have two genders (neuter and common). In these languages the historical masculines and feminines were leveled into a common gender, and only the neuters survived as a separate gender.

    Remember: in grammar, gender means (a) word class(es) for nouns and pronouns (and every adjective in all genders for languages that require adjective-noun gender agreement, which English does not because there's only one noun gender in English); grammatical gender is not the same as the sex of living things, and all nouns, both animates and inanimates have gender.


    Hmmm this is difficult for me to understand, for example to me as civis is of the common gender it seems to be applicable to both genders, communitas f seems like it is designed to refer only to a group of women, or if it is to apply to everyone then it must operate as an epicine noun such as aquila f (eagles) or vulpes f (foxes). Same goes for abstract nouns if the noun is of a commone gender then it would be applicable to both sexes, if masculine only to men or in an epicine manner, and if feminine only to women or in an epicine manner.

    Also: "Akin to" just means "related to," not "descended from." Latin didn't "change" the hy- of hyper- into the su- of super-. Latin is not a direct descendant of Greek; rather, both Latin and Greek descend from a common ancestor, some unwritten intermediate level(s) between Primitive Indo-European and the ancient contemporaries, Latin and Greek, which we have written evidence for today. As languages evolve, sounds change. In this case, it looks like Latin probably kept the initial s- where in Greek it evolved into h-; Latin also didn't have the fronted "u" that Greek had (ancient Greek had two different high rounded vowels, one fronted vowel "υ," and one back vowel "ου," and Latin had only one high rounded vowel "u," the back vowel, not the fronted one). For that reason, whatever form this prefix (hyper- or super-) had in the parent language, it evolved differently into Latin and Greek. Greek and Latin both evolved from the common parent; Latin and Greek didn't evolve either one from the other.

    Ok now I understand that detailed point, thankyou for expanding on it Jamie.
  13. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    More accurately: -logy < L -logia f < G -λογία f < G λόγος m < G λέγω v

    No. Why is it so important to you that there be such a suffix? The grammatical gender of a word has no bearing on the word's meaning when it refers to a sexless object or concept.

    The word "astrologist" is all Greek only insofar as it takes all its constituent parts from borrowed Greek morphemes. The Greek word for "astrologer" is just ἀστρολόγος, which was borrowed into Latin as astrologus.

    "Word engineering" sounds like someone who would actually construct words through an elaborate, technical process, which seems kind of silly.
  14. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

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    Second and fourth declensions, you mean. I don't think there are any masculine third declension nouns that end in -us, though quite a few neuters do.

    To form the fourth declension masculine abstract nouns you simply take the fourth principal part of a verb (e.g. mōtum from movēre), which is the accusative supine, and give it full declensional forms (the accusative supine is identical to the fourth declension masculine accusative of the abstract noun thus formed).

    This is all assuming you're actually familiar with the Latin declension patterns. Without that knowledge I'm afraid you won't get very far.

    The only second declension nominalizing suffixes in Latin are neuter, viz. -ium and -tium, as collēgium "colleagueship; guild, college, etc." from collēga "colleage" and servitium "slavery; body of servants" from servus "slave".

    There are two reasons rādīx doesn't count. First, the primary meaning of the word is just "root", i.e. the physical root of a tree. The secondary abstract meanings developed from the concrete meaning much later, just as in English "roots" can refer to one's family origins or heritage.

    Second and more importantly, the word rādīx is not formed from the stem of another word. There is no word in Latin that the īx ending was added to. All we can say is that it comes from an Indo-European root, which predates Latin itself as a distinct language.

    It appears to be from the same root as rāmus "branch", but the endings -mus and -īx do not function in these two words as productive suffixes with meanings of their own. That is to say they're not morphemes, although -īx is a morpheme in other words like genetrīx "progenitress" (gene- from 4th prin. part of gignō "beget"; -īx suffix of female agency "-ess").

    This is already the case with fourth declension masculine abstract nouns. But that's it. You seem to be confusing grammatical gender and physical sex distinction, again.

    You're confused. An abstract noun refers to an abstract concept, which by definition cannot be either masculine or feminine. It's simply a concept. It has no sex. As far as its meaning is concerned, it does not matter whether a noun's grammatical gender is masculine or feminine.

    Let's go with your earlier example of mōtiō and mōtus as two abstract nouns of different grammatical gender. These two words are used in slightly different senses, though some of the meanings overlap. In general mōtiō is closer to a literal signification of motion as a verbal noun, whereas mōtus can also refer to a number of other concepts and occurrences by extension of meaning (e.g. a political movement, a stage of growth, an impulse, etc.)

    This difference of meaning, however, has nothing to do with the grammatical gender of either word. There's nothing intrinsically feminine about the concept of motion as signified by the word mōtiō that is absent in the word mōtus.

    Yes, but consider that these masculine first declension nouns are overwhelmingly applied to male beings, e.g. pīrāta "pirate", nauta "sailor", agricola "farmer", incola "inhabitant", etc. (some of these, like incola, are actually common gender, though they more often refer to males).

    I'm not following you. What do you mean when you say "by adapting the suffix directly"?

    I've explained the difference in meaning between mōtus and mōtio above. It has nothing to do with the grammatical gender of either word.

    Why? What difference does it make?
  15. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    This really doesn't have anything to do with Latin (or Greek) as a language in itself, which is what this forum was designed to be a place for the discussion of. What you're doing is analyzing English derivations through Greek and Latin etyma. If you want to learn Latin, and how grammatical gender works in Latin, I'd suggest you drop this approach to the question. It won't help you.

    Communitas is emphatically not designed to refer to only a group of women. It refers to society or a sense of fellowship in general. It's purely an abstract concept, without any application to natural gender. The gender of collective nouns in Latin also has no bearing on the natural gender of its constituents. Copiae (feminine plural) means "forces" in a military context, despite the fact that these forces normally comprised only men.

    It also seems you don't quite understand what an epicene noun is in Latin. This term is correctly applied only to certain names of naturally gendered animals. They're called epicene nouns because, despite the fact that the animal may be either male or female, the word that designates this animal will always remain with a fixed gender. As per your example, aquila will always be a feminine noun, even when the particular eagle being referred to has been specifically designated a male. This is different from a common gender noun, which can actually change its grammatical gender depending on the natural sex of its referent, although the form of the noun itself remains the same.

    This means that every animal name in Latin can be categorized into three groups: 1. two nouns with distinct gender endings, as equus "horse, stallion" and equa "mare"; 2. one common gender noun, as canis "dog, bitch"; 3. one epicene noun, as rana "frog".

    To further illustrate the distinction between common gender nouns and epicene nouns, consider the common gender noun canis "dog" and the epicene noun aquila "eagle". To say "dog" in Latin all you need is the word canis, which can be either masculine or feminine depending on the gender of the dog (though masculine tends to be the default when its natural gender is left unspecified):

    canis fēmina or canis fēminīna = "female dog"
    canis mās or canis māsculīnus = "male dog"

    But with epicene aquila the word for "eagle" is always feminine, even when a masculine eagle is being specifically named:

    aquila fēmina or aquila fēminīna = "female eagle"
    aquila mās or aquila māsculīna = "male eagle"

    In Latin, however, there aren't any epicene nouns for men or gods like there are for some animals. These words always match the natural gender of the individual they refer to, either with separate forms like amīcus "friend" and amīca "girlfriend, mistress", or as a single common noun like sacerdōs "priest/priestess".
  16. NewLinguist New Member

    IR More accurately: -logy < L -logia f < G -λογία f < G λόγος m < G λέγω v

    It seems you posted this before reading my additional examination of the suffix which looks at whether the suffix is even derived from -logia at all.


    IR No. Why is it so important to you that there be such a suffix? The grammatical gender of a word has no bearing on the word's meaning when it refers to a sexless object or concept.

    I don't get it, to me if the grammatical gender has no bearing on the words meaning then surely the word should be either of a common or neuter gender.


    IR The word "astrologist" is all Greek only insofar as it takes all its constituent parts from borrowed Greek morphemes. The Greek word for "astrologer" is just ἀστρολόγος, which was borrowed into Latin as astrologus.

    Ok, I alread said that I thought -log- + -ist were both derived from Greek. I did not know that there was a Greek word ἀστρολόγος "astrologer", but when I looked it up there it was http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/asztrol%C3%B3gus


    IR "Word engineering" sounds like someone who would actually construct words through an elaborate, technical process, which seems kind of silly.

    To me there seems to be a real science to the entire technical process and is thus far from silly, although it is clear that not all words coined in the modern world are created by linguists or etymologists and so their applicaton of linguistic forms and rules could be sloppy.


    IR Second and fourth declensions, you mean. I don't think there are any masculine third declension nouns that end in -us, though quite a few neuters do.

    To form the fourth declension masculine abstract nouns [snip]


    I already covered the abstract nouns motus m and motio f that have both been created with the suffixes -us and -io respectively which have been added to the verb stem mot-, what are you talking about? I presumed you were indicating that there were additional ways to create abstract nouns in the fourth declension.


    IR The only second declension nominalizing suffixes in Latin are neuter, viz. -ium and -tium, as collēgium "colleagueship; guild, college, etc." from collēga "colleage" and servitium "slavery; body of servants" from servus "slave".

    I still don't understand, does that mean you think there are no masculine abstract nouns in the second declension?


    IR There are two reasons rādīx doesn't count. First, the primary meaning of the word is just "root", i.e. the physical root of a tree. The secondary abstract meanings developed from the concrete meaning much later, just as in English "roots" can refer to one's family origins or heritage.

    Second and more importantly, the word rādīx is not formed from the stem of another word. There is no word in Latin that the īx ending was added to. All we can say is that it comes from an Indo-European root, which predates Latin itself as a distinct language.

    It appears to be from the same root as rāmus "branch", but the endings -mus and -īx do not function in these two words as productive suffixes with meanings of their own. That is to say they're not morphemes, although -īx is a morpheme in other words like genetrīx "progenitress" (gene- from 4th prin. part of gignō "beget"; -īx suffix of female agency "-ess").


    I don't see any reference indicating that the noun was not an abstract noun in addition to being a regular noun in Latin, and it clearly ends in -ix, thus there are feminine abstract nouns that end in -ix.


    IR This is already the case with fourth declension masculine abstract nouns. But that's it. You seem to be confusing grammatical gender and physical sex distinction, again.

    I am trying to find out about gender that much is true.


    IR You're confused. An abstract noun refers to an abstract concept, which by definition cannot be either masculine or feminine. It's simply a concept. It has no sex. As far as its meaning is concerned, it does not matter whether a noun's grammatical gender is masculine or feminine.

    Let's go with your earlier example of mōtiō and mōtus as two abstract nouns of different grammatical gender. These two words are used in slightly different senses, though some of the meanings overlap. In general mōtiō is closer to a literal signification of motion as a verbal noun, whereas mōtus can also refer to a number of other concepts and occurrences by extension of meaning (e.g. a political movement, a stage of growth, an impulse, etc.)

    This difference of meaning, however, has nothing to do with the grammatical gender of either word. There's nothing intrinsically feminine about the concept of motion as signified by the word mōtiō that is absent in the word mōtus.


    From the dictionary entries motus and motio are both given the same meaning motion, one is masculine, the other is feminine. They have both been formed from the same verb stem, one is an abstract masculine noun the other feminine, thus there has to be something intrinsically masculine about motus and something intrinsically feminine about motio.


    IR Yes, but consider that these masculine first declension nouns are overwhelmingly applied to male beings, e.g. pīrāta "pirate", nauta "sailor", agricola "farmer", incola "inhabitant", etc. (some of these, like incola, are actually common gender, though they more often refer to males).

    Ok, although the ending -a still makes one initially think the noun is feminine, unless one knows the exceptions.


    IR I'm not following you. What do you mean when you say "by adapting the suffix directly"?

    A suffix can be composed of a preceding morpheme and can be combined with different endings to say alter the sex of the word. Eg -log- + -us m = -logus m, or -log- + -ia f = -logia f


    IR Why? What difference does it make?

    I am trying to work out how and why gender is used in words and suffixes, for example when one should use sapor and when one should use sapientia.


    IR This really doesn't have anything to do with Latin (or Greek) as a language in itself, which is what this forum was designed to be a place for the discussion of. What you're doing is analyzing English derivations through Greek and Latin etyma. If you want to learn Latin, and how grammatical gender works in Latin, I'd suggest you drop this approach to the question. It won't help you.

    The suffixes I am discussing are all Latin suffixes and are certainly within the ambit of this forum, what I did not realise was how much of Latin has be adopted from Greek, so if anything I am talking too much about ancient Greek rather than Latin, nevertheless, in order to understand the Latin suffixes one must go there and so a detailed discussion regarding them is unavoidable, although if you find it not to your taste you are free to leave this thread which is specifically focused on Latin suffixes and not on grammatical gender in particular.


    IR Communitas is emphatically not designed to refer to only a group of women. It refers to society or a sense of fellowship in general. It's purely an abstract concept, without any application to natural gender. The gender of collective nouns in Latin also has no bearing on the natural gender of its constituents. Copiae (feminine plural) means "forces" in a military context, despite the fact that these forces normally comprised only men.

    To me the use of copiae indicates to me the use of an epicine noun, and is of feminine gender even though it refers to both sexes.


    IR It also seems you don't quite understand what an epicene noun is in Latin. This term is correctly applied only to certain names of naturally gendered animals. They're called epicene nouns because, despite the fact that the animal may be either male or female, the word that designates this animal will always remain with a fixed gender. As per your example, aquila will always be a feminine noun, even when the particular eagle being referred to has been specifically designated a male. This is different from a common gender noun, which can actually change its grammatical gender depending on the natural sex of its referent, although the form of the noun itself remains the same.

    What don't I understand? Epicine nouns are of a designated gender even though they refer to both sexes, while common gender nouns do not have a designated gender are specifically designed to be applied to both sexes.


    IR This means that every animal name in Latin can be categorized into three groups: 1. two nouns with distinct gender endings, as equus "horse, stallion" and equa "mare"; 2. one common gender noun, as canis "dog, bitch"; 3. one epicene noun, as rana "frog".

    To further illustrate the distinction between common gender nouns and epicene nouns, consider the common gender noun canis "dog" and the epicene noun aquila "eagle". To say "dog" in Latin all you need is the word canis, which can be either masculine or feminine depending on the gender of the dog (though masculine tends to be the default when its natural gender is left unspecified):

    canis fēmina or canis fēminīna = "female dog"
    canis mās or canis māsculīnus = "male dog"

    But with epicene aquila the word for "eagle" is always feminine, even when a masculine eagle is being specifically named:

    aquila fēmina or aquila fēminīna = "female eagle"
    aquila mās or aquila māsculīna = "male eagle"

    In Latin, however, there aren't any epicene nouns for men or gods like there are for some animals. These words always match the natural gender of the individual they refer to, either with separate forms like amīcus "friend" and amīca "girlfriend, mistress", or as a single common noun like sacerdōs "priest/priestess".


    That was a good explanation Imber Ranae, very clear, although am I restricted to only one of the following groups, a separate gender, b the common gender, or c the epicine for each animal?
  17. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Cygnea, Gena
    It's the other way round, actually. Because the grammatical gender has no bearing on the word meaning, it doesn't matter which gender it has.
    That's a common phenomenon in languages that still have grammatical gender distinction.
  18. JaimeB Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Bitmap is absolutely right. Another way to think of it is this: gender has to do with a word's forms: it's a question of morphology; the meaning of words isn't about morphology, it's about lexis and semantics.

    Also not all morphological elements (prefixes, suffixes, infixes, collectively called "affixes") have to do with nouns and declension; many of them have to do with verbs and conjugation. And even beyond that, not all morphophonemic elements are affixes; for example in English, drive, drove, and driven are all morphemic forms of the same verb, but the morphophonemic mechanism is ablaut grade (internal vowel change) rather than affixation.

    Keep looking, it keeps getting more complex.
  19. NewLinguist New Member

    Hi Bitmap and JamieB

    Ok I am clearly struggling with word genders, so before I move on to looking at ablaut grade and circum and supra fixes, I should probably sort it out properly. In order to do so I imagined that I had to create novel Latin words and I had masculine, feminine, common, neuter and epicine genders to choose from. From this I came up with the following ways of attempting to apply gender to Latin nouns:

    Masculine nouns to refer to exclusively masculine words eg fathers, brothers, etc.
    Feminine nouns to refer to exclusively feminine words eg mothers, girlfriends, etc.
    Neuter, meaning neither, to refer to objects that do not have either sex such as cups or bricks.
    Common gendered nouns to refer to concepts that apply to both genders such as the names of professions, or the collective noun referring to a group of people.
    Epicines to refer to nouns that cover both sexes in situations where one sex dominates the other in a particular context.

    Is this how it should be done?

    Regards
  20. JaimeB Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    OK, let's try this one last time. Perhaps the problem is that some people or books use the word "noun" too loosely. The word "noun" can have two distinct referents: it can have a semantic referent or it can have a morphological referent. This is what I was trying to explain in my last post.

    When in your latest post you say "masculine nouns" refer to masculine "words," you mean that they refer to masculine beings (like fathers, brothers, etc.), and that is the semantic referent of the noun, viz., the thing in the physical (not linguistic) world that it refers to. When you say that gladius is a "masculine" noun, you don't mean that a sword is a male thing in the real world; you are referring to its morphological and syntactical status in the linguistic universe: that it requires a masculine-gender adjective to modify it: gladius magnus, for example. That's all you mean when you are referring to the grammatical gender of a word.

    So, masculine (male) beings can be the semantic referents of nouns, but the masculine gender of a noun can only be a morphological/syntactical category to which a noun belongs. Words are not the things that they refer to in the physical world! Remember René Magritte's painting "Ceci n'est pas une pipe"? It isn't a pipe; it's a painting of a pipe. And the word "pipe" isn't a pipe, either; it's the name of a pipe.

    One final example that I hope can finally break the association you seem to insist on making between gender and sex: the Latin word referring to the genitalia of a woman belongs to the masculine grammatical gender!

    Also: The term "common gender" has no meaning in Latin grammar, i. e., there are only three genders in Latin: masculine, feminine, and neuter. In Indo-European linguistics, the term "common gender" refers only to Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, where masculines and feminines from an earlier stage of the language have merged into one (common) gender. These languages, in their modern form, have two genders, common and neuter. According to what you were saying, how would these languages refer to men and women? They in fact do it all the time, but without masculine and feminine grammatical genders.

    Next: "Epicine pronouns" refers to the use of masculine plural pronouns to include both masculine and feminine persons. There is no such thing as an '"epicine gender" or an "epicine noun," only epicine pronouns. Recently, some writers have started to use the word "epicine" to refer to nouns like "chairperson" or "homemaker," i. e., nouns that try to make no connection between the sex of a person and a certain job or social role. This recent use of the term refers to a modern linguistic usage and cannot be applied to ancient Latin.

    Lastly, you seem to think that my name is Jamie, but it isn't; it's Jaime, and it's Spanish for James, but some English-speaking people call me Jim. That would be cool for you to do, if you want. TTFN.

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