Was looking to do an inscription on a ring for my fiance (engagement ring)

Mei Uxor animusque

My (plural m) wife (f) and soul(m)

The -que implies that these things are close together by making them textually closer together, and the plural masculine my covers the mixed gendered list of words. Just wanted to make sure this made sense and was correct?

EDIT: Appreciate the detailed feedback. Think I'm going with

Uxor Animaque Mea


Usually an adjective (and here meus works like an adjective) takes the form of the closest referent when used attributively. The masculine plural would be used in a sentence like "the wife and soul are mine".

I find it better to put the adjective at the end, which would give you uxor animusque meus. If you don't want to use anima instead of animus (they mean different things), there will be both a masculine and a feminine, and I find it a little awkward to refer to a wife with a masculine word even if grammatical.

Swapping the word order is one way around this, giving animus uxorque mea. I prefer this also because of more balanced word lengths.

Another option is to use mihi, "to me". If I may take some liberties, I suggest [tu/es] animus uxorque mihi, "[you are] the soul and wife to me". Whether you want to include tu or es or both is a matter of taste. On a quick thought, I would go with es animus uxorque mihi.

Before making a choice here, I suggest waiting a day or two to see if others have other suggestions or if their comments or votes suggests that mine is not to be trusted.

  • I don't believe the nominative and dative can be used together as indicated in your final suggestion, except with nouns that normally take a dative of reference: erus, imperator, etc. You can't use a dative of possession (dative has nominative) as if it were a genitive of possession (noun belongs to genitive). – Kingshorsey May 1 '19 at 19:04
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    @Kingshorsey: If I understand correctly, Joonas is suggesting using mihi predicatively, not attributively: does that make a difference? – Asteroides May 1 '19 at 19:21
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    @Kingshorsey I didn't intend it as a dative of possession, but as dativus commodi. I deliberately wrote "you are a wife to me" rather than "you are my wife". Sumelic's way of putting it is also good. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 1 '19 at 19:47
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Dativus commodi requires an action verb (or a verbal noun). The action has to be completely intelligible apart from the dative, the dative merely indicating for whose sake the action was performed. With a being verb, the closest you get is the ethical/viewpoint dative: mihi es uxor means "In my opinion, you are a wife." – Kingshorsey May 2 '19 at 14:06
  • @sumelic see my reply to Joonas. – Kingshorsey May 2 '19 at 14:06

(This is only a partial answer; I need to look at some more sources to check what I say here. Also, I'm not a professional or expert, so don't get your inscription made right after reading this post!)

Brianpck says in his answer here that in Latin, attributive adjectives that semantically refer to multiple coordinated nouns tend to agree in gender and number with the closest noun, rather than with the number and gender of the total combination (the latter strategy is called "resolution"). You can see some examples in the following forum discussion: http://latindiscussion.com/forum/latin/agreement.4137/

I would therefore advise against the wording "Mei Uxor animusque". I'm not sure whether it would be outright ungrammatical, or just a dispreferred pattern of agreement. I found a dissertation that implies that resolution was categorically avoided for attributive adjectives in Latin: "Attributive targets always show Nearest Antecedent Agreement", p. 65 in "Deconstructing and Reconstructing Semantic Agreement: A Case Study of Multiple Antecedent Agreement in Indo-European", by Cynthia A. Johnson, 2014.

I believe "Mea uxor animusque" would be grammatical and could convey the intended meaning; I'm not sure about the details of word order and the use of -que vs. et. With a different word order, the possessive adjective might take a different form according to this rule (e.g. Uxor animusque meus).

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