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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

The Latin Legacy

319

masculine, feminine, neuter, according to the behaviour of an adjective
coupled with it, or of the pronoun which replaces it Tius peculiar
gender-distinction which the Indo-European (pp 113 and 114) shares
with the Semitic family was not based on sex-differentiation. Except
where gender distinguished actual sex, which was irrelevant to the
gender-class of most animals, Latin gender referred to nothing in the
leal wciid It was merely a mattei of table manners Nobody, not even
a poet, would have been able to say why the wall (munis) should be
masculine, the door (portd) feminine, and the ioof(tectum) neuter The
singular nominative or dictionary form of many aouns carries no trade-
mark of the gender-dass to which they belong Pines (pear-tree) was
feminine, hortus (garden) was masculine, and corpus (body) was
neuter

What labels a Latin, like an Old English,noun as masculine, feminine,
or neuter is the form of the noun-substitute (pronoun) or of the
adjective (including demonstiatives) which went with it Excluding
participles nearly all adjectives of classical Latin can be assigned to two
types One type has three sets of case-derivatives, e g the nominative
forms bonus, bona, bonum (good) The femimnes had endings like
those of nouns such as porta (door) placed in the first declension, the
masculine and neuter respectively like donnnus (master) and bellum
(war) in the second declension To say that a Latin noun is masculine,
neuter or feminine therefore means that a Latin writer would use the
masculine, neuter, or feminine forms of such adjectives with it The
flexional modifications of the second type are modelled en the nouns
of the third declension Most adjectives of this type have a common
gender form used with either masculine or feminine nouns, and a
separate neuter, e g tnstis-tnste (sad) Some of them, including present
participles, e g amans (loving), have the same form for all three genders,
e g prudens (prudent), velox (quick) The nominative and accusative,
singular and plural, of the two chief adjectival types are below


	(a) bonus (good)
			() zrom(sad)
	

	MASC
	FEM
	NEUT
	MASC.= FEM
	NEUT

NOM SING AGC SING
	bonus bonum
	bona bonam
	V bonum
	tnstis tustem
	j- triste

NOM PLUR ACC PLUR
	boni bonos
	boaae bonas
	j- bona
	tnstes
	tristia