Not sure really[fontem recensere]
I took out the claim that it was a "loligo" because (a) it doesn't belong to genus Loligo, and (b) since the ancient Romans didn't know this species at all, we can't claim that they would have called it "loligo". So my first change, to "octopus", was no good either, for exactly the same two reasons. So finally I changed to "cephalopus" , because it really does, taxonomically, belong to the order of Cephalopoda. This still begs the question of what the proper singular of "Cephalopoda" may be. Wimpus is the kind of editor who knows about that sort of thing: perhaps Wimpus will comment. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 09:06, 20 Octobris 2013 (UTC)
- I see. :) Good work. I guess I didn't notice that there is a gender called loligo. My lexicon are then saying the wrong name. They might have met Kraken (Navideletorigigas scandinavicus) when at sea... -- Donatello (disputatio) 11:34, 20 Octobris 2013 (UTC).
- Your lexicon is not exactly wrong; it's just that we need to have scientific Latin in mind as well as classical Latin.
- It's interesting that Linnaeus classified the mythical Kraken -- I would never have guessed that! Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:22, 20 Octobris 2013 (UTC)
- Dear Donatello and Andrew, thank you for inviting me to join the discussion. However I am no expert on this matter, therefore the following exposé is a non-educated guess :) This question is actually the reverse of the question that pops up regularly considering the plural of octopus (in English). People with a classical background would prefer octopodes, similar to the Greek ὀκτάπους (sing.)/ὀκτάποδες (plur.). Now, we have a similar reverse case, in which the neutrum plurale, i.e. cephalopoda, has to be singularized (eh..nomen hybridum..). The Greek ὀκτάπους is actually an adiectivum substantivatum of ὀκτάπους (M/F), ὀκτάπουν (N) (sing.) (Liddell & Scott)/ὀκτάποδες (M/F), ὀκτάποδα (N) (plur.). One would expect that in this case, if κεφαλόποδα would exist as neutrum plurale (κεφαλόπους as masc. noun exist according to Liddell & Scott) the neutrum singulare would be κεφαλόπουν. A similar case in Greek is τετράπους (Liddell & Scott) with an adiectivum substantivatum τετράπουν (neutr. sing.) /τετράποδα (neutr. plur.) (quadrupeds, beasts). This latter example however casts doubts on the smoothness of the process of singularizing as other adjectives exists that are constructed from τετρά- and πους. Liddell & Scott alternatively list τετράποδος (M/F), τετράποδον (N) with τετράποδα as neutrum plurale. In case you want to singularize τετράποδα, you would end up with two possible solutions, i.e. τετράπουν or τετράποδον as similarly with κεφαλόπουν or κεφαλόποδον for κεφαλόποδα. Andrew suggested cephalopus, but based on the information from Liddell & Scott, there is in Greek no neutrum singulare on -πους.
- For me as layman, it is however not perfectly clear how to Latinize endings on -ουν, in case κεφαλόπουν would be the solution. I remember that I read somewhere (but I do not remember where...), or inferred from the given cases that the corresponding Latin ending would be -um (and not -un). However, we must not rule out the possibility that the Romans used the masculine and feminine ending for the neuter gender.
- If I look at the Greek loan words in Latin by searching Lewis & Short, I can not find much clues. Lewis & Short lists masculine and feminine nouns on -pus (-πους), i.e. coronopus, -i (!!!) (m.) (Greek: κορωνόπους, -ποδος), haematopus, -podis (m.) (Greek: αἱματόπους), himantopus , -podis (m.)(Greek: ἱμαντόπους), lagopus , -podis (f.) (Greek: λαγώπους), polypus , -pi (!!!!) (m.) (Greek:πολύπους, -ποδος, and πούλυπος, πουλύπου (!!)), tripus , -podis (m.) (Greek: τρίπους), but I can not find nouns of neuter gender on -pus, -pum (/-pun/-poum/-poun) that are derived from πους.
- The names I've found, i.e. Melampus , -podis (m.) (Greek: Μελάμπους), Oedĭpus , -podis and -pi (!!!) (Greek: Οἰδίπους), and the book title Tetrapus, -podis (m.) of Apicius, are all of course not of neuter gender. The single adjective on -pus I've found in Lewis and Short, is only given without any gender, i.e. struthopus , -podis (I have not checked the source).
- So, there is no neutrum singulare on -pum in Latin, nor any on -pus when consulting Lewis & Short, thereby forms like cephalopum or cephalopus lack evidence from attested cases in classical Latin.
- As alternative, I searched for words ending on -podus/podum/podi/poda (Latinization of -ποδος, -ποδον), but they were absent, although Latinization of -ποδον seems in my humble opion less adventurous in contrast to Latinization of -πουν.
- In Google books, Linnaeus him self uses the adjective (neuter singular) tetrapodum in when describing the frog (rana), the lizard (lacerta) et cetera. Schicklum (1879, Lateinisch-deutsches Special-Wörterbuch) does not give the neutrum singulare of cephalopoda, but gives the genitivus pluralis of cephalopodorum, which implies a nominativus singularis of cephalopodum. However, Greek loan words sometimes follow the Greek endings for some cases while mixed with Latin for the other cases, with words on -des (if I remember correctly, because I do not remember where, so do not take this as a fact) have forms with -darum (genitivus pluralis) intermixed. So in other words, a genitivus pluralis on -podorum, does not necessarily rules out a nominativus singularis on -pum. The form tetrapum can be found in Lodouici Caelii, but it seems that this is an accusativus singularis of tetrapus (see also the index: tetrapus mensa and tetrapus sella).
- I did not found a definitive answer yet.
- In favor of cephalopodum:
- 1. Linnaeus uses corpus tetrapodum
- 2. Schicklum gives as genitivus pluralis cephalopodorum
- 1. Tetrapodum is not used by Linneaeus in the given source as adiectivum substantivatum.
- 2. For -podorum: Greek loan words can have a mixed declension.
- 3. Personally I favor words that are more similar to the original noun, i.e. πους, than words that contain additional letters postfixed. It seems in Greek, that those other forms are later modification (compare the difference in number of adjective in Greek on -πους versus -ποδος). But this preference is subjective!!!
- In favor of cephalopum:
- 1. More akin to those forms on -πους.
- 2. Take into account that the neutrum singulare (-πουν) is different than the masculinum singulare (-πους).
- 1. Attested cases for -pum?
- I did not found any evidence in favour of -pus for a neutrum singulare yet. Personally, I would not use cephalopus as neutrum singulare, but in case evidence is presented, I would act otherwise. I have not checked the rules for binominal nomenclature yet, and that is a major ommission. Until then, I am not sure. With kind regards, Wimpus (disputatio) 20:12, 21 Octobris 2013 (UTC)