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66

While I'm sure a better-research answer might be able to give you more insight, perhaps a simple response will be a good place to start. As you found, "history" comes from Greek ἱστορία (historia) via Latin historia. A "ἱστορία" generically means an "inquiry," and that is the sense that Herodotus intends in the famous opening lines of his Histories: ...


36

"Herstory" is completely unrelated to the etymology of "history" As others have mentioned, there is no etymological connection between the first part of "history" and the English masculine pronoun "his". Nor does there need to be for "herstory" to make sense as a coinage in English. People frequently form new words in un-etymological ways: e.g., by ...


25

Bennett's New Latin Grammar (this link will take you to appropriate section) offers several helpful rules of thumb for the agreement of an adjective with multiple nouns. Although I recommend reading the above entry, which is fairly short, the basic principles are: Attributive adjectives agree with the nearest noun in both gender and number, e.g. "Filius ...


18

I believe there's no straightforward answer as to „why different usage contexts correlate to different grammatical gender“, but the etymological origin gives some insights to the gender. Diēs comes from Proto-Indo-European *d(i)jéus „daytime sky, Sky-god“ and is cognate to Iūp-piter (≈ Diespiter, „dies pater“), so originally it should have been masculine, ...


14

The masculine noun flamen denotes a type of priest. The neuter noun flamen means 'a blast, gust (of wind)' or 'an exhalation, breath.' Also, generally, the words for various fruit trees and the fruits that they produce differ only in gender. Examples include cerasus (f.), 'cherry tree,' vs. cerasum (n.), 'cherry'; malus (f.), 'apple tree,' vs. malum (n.), '...


13

Gender assignment in Latin is an issue too complex to cover in one post. I follow Greville Corbett (e.g. Corbett 1991) in maintaining the difference between common nouns (grammatical gender varies between feminine or masculine, depending on the biological sex of the referent) and epicene nouns (grammatical gender is fixed and cannot be overwritten by the ...


13

As usual, to answer this question we need to step into our comparative linguistics-fueled time machine and go back to Proto-Indo-European times, so we can see what function the ending -a, which we know as a neuter plural ending, had in PIE. In PIE, this ending -a (or rather *-(e)h₂) did not form plurals, but collectives. A collective refers to a group of ...


13

There are two (main) classes of adjectives in Latin: Some adjectives use the first declension for feminines (e.g. Romana, "Roman") and the second declension for masculines and neuters (e.g. Romanus and Romanum). For adjectives like this masculine forms look different from feminine forms — with the exception of plural dative and ablative. Some ...


13

'Herstory' is not much more than a nonce-word. It's the sort of thing that used to be quoted by feminists in order to demonstrate how wrongfully the world, even the English language, had been arranged to ensure that men would rule it. As @brianpck suggests, it's quite wrong to look for any other etymological explanation. Over the years, other words have ...


12

I can only partially answer your question. In medieval documents dies is sometimes feminine where based on classical usage we would expect it to be masculine. Examples: Liber Pontificalis1 (~10th century) 371, in reference to Charlemagne's arrival in Rome (but note that this text contains frequent grammatical irregularities): Et alia die, secundum ...


11

It is important to distinguish between syntactic gender and semantic gender. As we all know, a word like centuria, "group of ca. 100 soldiers", is syntactically feminine, but semantically it is masculine, since the Romans had no female soldiers. A feminine word is used to describe men. Or consider the feminine word virtus "manhood", from vir "man". There is ...


11

There is a small difference between the people and the tree: vowel length. Indicating long vowels with a bar and short ones with a cup as usual, the masculine word is pŏpŭlŭs and the feminine one pōpŭlŭs. Long vowels are indicated in many dictionaries, whereas short vowels are indicated by a lack of macron (the bar). ...


11

The relevant passage is this one, from Aeneid IV.462-3: sōlaque culminibus fērālī carmine būbo saepe quer' et longās in flētum dūcere vōcēs And the lone owl on the rooftops would cry out its mournful song, drawing out its long calls into an elegy. I can see a few possible reasons why Vergil chose to make this particular būbo a feminine one: ...


10

The OLD writes that dies is "fem. frequently or usually in senses 1b, 5, 7, 10, occasionally elsewhere," with the following definitions listed: 1b: [the period from sunrise to sunset] as a diety 5: A specific day, the date of a letter 7: A day appointed for business 10: The lapse or passing of time You might want to scope out the OLD for more about those ...


10

In theory, the feminine of professor would be profestrix. However, this is a rather awkward formation, and isn't attested classically—the use of -trix on a dental-stem noun is incredibly rare in any period. So most often, in my experience at least, the word professor is used for both the masculine and the feminine. If the professor is female, the noun is ...


10

As said already, history comes from the ancient greek ἱστορία. I am a native Greek, although my studies are not in literature, so I don't have as much info to provide as sumelic, for example. However, there is a key point here. Notice the punctuation on the first letter: That is a δασεία (dasia). This punctutation implies an additional sound*. For these ...


10

In fact, dies does have a slightly different meaning in the two genders. The masculine is the more general meaning, but for specific meanings like an appointed special day or day as a deity you need the feminine. This division probably has to do with the word being originally masculine but being leveled to feminine gender to conform with the rest of the ...


9

I'm not sure this covers all relevant ideas, so any addition/clarification is appreciated. Four ideas that can help you: Regarding logics as to certain types of nouns being predictably neuter by semantics alone, the main rule is... genders are arbitrary. It is not completely random: women are feminine and men are masculine, but I'd trust grammar and ...


8

In the Plautus passage, it has to be a man because of not only hic, but also ebrius. L&S's entry for homo lists several examples: Of females: mater, cujus ea stultitia est, ut eam nemo hominem appellare possit,” Cic. Clu. 70, 199: “quae (Io) bos ex homine est,” Ov. F. 5, 620; Juv. 6, 284: “dulcissimum ab hominis camelinum lac,” Plin. 28, 9, 33, § 123:...


8

If the adjective is plural and it refers to words of several genders, I seem to recall the masculine is used by default. But I believe a Roman author would indeed recast a sentence like this, especially because it also refers to a neuter word. If the adjective is singular, it should agree with the last noun mentioned.


8

According to the conclusion of one discussion, constructions in which these nouns are modified by feminine adjectives, when referring to females, are not so much avoided as simply not needed ... There is no grammatical reason not to treat these as common gender or epicene nouns. There are adjectives in the same declension class, like ruricola and indigena,...


8

It depends on how much emphasis you put on "unambiguously refers to an individual human being". I don't know of any examples that are just like παιδίον or Mädchen. Several Latin grammars that I have looked at include short lists of neuter nouns that seem to have been used fairly regularly to refer to human beings, but it seems like most of these words did ...


7

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.1162 caesia Palladium, nervosa et lignea dorcas, parvula, pumilio, chariton mia, tota merum sal, magna atque inmanis cataplexis plenaque honoris. If sāl were masculine here, it would be modified by merus. Other citations are mentioned in L&S, but I have not been able to find copies of the texts.


7

It's more accurate to ask why the Δ changes to Ζ than vice versa. Historically Ζεύς comes from a pre-Greek form *Dyeus, and just like in English we sometimes hear a "dy" combination merge into a "j" sound (i.e., [dj]) -> [dʒ]), the same thing happened in Greek, so that the initial consonant was originally pronounced something like [dʒ] (with subsequent ...


7

A summary based on a number of sources (Kühner and Holzweissig 1912, Leumann 1977, Tronskii 1960, Weiss 2009/2011) humus, vannus (always feminine); alvus, colus (these two words alternated between feminine and masculine). Weiss notes that even though alvus is regularly feminine in Classical Latin, examples of masculine gender are found in Old Latin (in suom ...


7

The History of Herstory Robin Morgan coined the neologism in 1970. She was well aware of the etymology of history. As she recalled in her book, The Word of a Woman (emphasis added) [The essay] “Goodbye to All That” was my contribution to the first issue [Of Rat magazine upon its takeover by radical feminists in January 1970]. Beneath the byline, I ...


7

Since the Virgil's passage in question happens to start with 'Tum' I have to contribute something... (This is not an answer but I see no way of putting this as a comment due to formatting issues.) There appears to be no clarity on the issue, so the chances of getting a clear, authoritative answer are actually slim. "The Royal Grammar, Commonly Called ...


6

Yes, feminine forms exist. This is covered in sections 845–848 of Smyth's Greek Grammar. Here are some examples: Βορέας > Βορεάδης, 'son of Boreas'; Βορεάς -δος, 'daughter of Boreas' Θέστιος > Θεστιάδης, 'son of Thestius'; Θεστιάς -δος, 'daughter of Thestius' Φέρης > Φερητιάδης, 'son of Pheres'; Φερητιάς -ιάδος, 'daughter of Pheres' Περσεύς > Περσηιάδης, ...


6

Bōs, bovis, m/f This is the usual type of common-gender noun. In the feminine, it means "cow". Livy 1.7.6: Inde cum actae boves quaedam ad desiderium, ut fit, relictarum mugissent, reddita inclusarum ex spelunca boum vox Herculem convertit. (Heinemann trans) As the cattle were being driven off, some of them lowed, as usually happens, missing ...


6

A possible construction (I think more likely than quam) would be the accusative of exclamation (Allen and Greenough 397d): O morbidum! This is assuming a neuter (or masculine) referent. But you could add a specific noun, e.g. O morbidam fabulam "What a morbid story!" Probably there are better choices than morbidus, which L&S call "rare and only ante-...


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