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Singular of -poda words[fontem recensere]

I claimed in the article that the singular of gastropoda should be gastropus. Alas, I am not so clear on this, now that I think about it. Greek adjectives in -πους -ποδος normally form their neuter in, of all things, -πουν. Therefore, the expected singular of γαστρόποδα would be γαστρόπουν. This in turn would be expected to yield Latin gastropun gastropodis, n. That's just freakin' absurd! So I looked for Latin -pūs words to see how they declined, and it looks like not a single one is attested in the neuter (so far as I can tell using only the online L&S at any rate). It seems logical to assume that they would be treated as one-termination adjectives, yielding the gastropus I used in the article, but I just wish I could find a darn attestation! --Iustinus 03:18, 7 Septembris 2006 (UTC)

Hi Iustine, I got around to do some more research on this subject. Section 311.b of Herbert Weir Smyth's Greek Grammar points out that "Some compounds of πούς foot (ποδ-) have -ουν in the nom. sing. neut. and sometimes in the acc. sing. masc. by analogy to ἁπλοῦς (290). Thus, τρίπους three-footed, τρίπουν (but acc. τρίποδα tripod)." It turns out that, as far as I have found, all of the compounds of πούς that specifically give the neuter nominative singular forms have such forms ending in -πουν, not -πους. Here is a scan of the paradigm for διπλοῦς from A Grammar of the Greek Language by Charles Anthon: image. In that case, we would expect the hypothetical Greek compound γαστροπους to have the forms -πους, -πους, and -πουν in the nominative singular, where the γαστροπουν is declined like ἁπλοῦν (a contraction of the second-declension ἁπλόον). So now the question is "How is the contraction οῦν regularly Latinized?" The answer is -um, as we see in triplus, -a, -um, the Latinization of τριπλοῦς, -οῦς, -οῦν. According to that information, we would expect γαστροπους (declined like πούς), -πους (declined like πούς), -πουν (declined like ἁπλόον) to be Latinized as Gastropus, Gastropus, and Gastropum. So it seems that Gastropum is the singular form of Gastropoda. Now that seems just freakin' absurd! --Diaphanus 08:35, 5 Martii 2008 (UTC)
That's only true if triplus is derived from τριπλους, and not merely cognate. I doubt this is the case; examine other terms in the series: duplus/διπλους, quadruplus/τετραπλους, etc.--it just happens that tri- and τρι- manage to look alike in Latin and Greek. —Mucius Tever 11:53, 6 Martii 2008 (UTC)
But finding apparent fault with my chosen example hardly refutes my point. I could just as easily have used the other -plus words because my point had to do with the nature of -plus, and not predicated on whether or not tripus is a Latinization of the Greek form (L&S seem to imply it is.). I will freely admit that Greek and Latin words both seem to have some sort of early etymon with the ple- form.
Although it is not outside the realm of possibly that the Greek and Latin words are merely cognates, and the -plus and the Greek word element derive from a common etymon that behaves as an adjective of the first and second declensions, I doubt even more that is the case because the etymology sections of the word entries in dictionaries such as L&S and Lewis fail to indicate such an etymon, and whenever such a relevant adjective form is in fact indicated, it is the Greek form that is shown (e.g. octuplus , -a, -um, adj., = ὀκταπλοῦς, triplus , -a, -um, I. adj. num., = τριπλοῦς). This seems to indicate that this -plus is a Latinization of that -πλοῦς, and that Latin numerical prefixes were later added to it.
Leaving aside those -plus words, let's look at my point: the second-declension endings -οῦς and -οῦν endings (adjectives and nouns behave the same way) may be latinized as regular (and perfectly attested) second-declension endings without having to mess around with a strange form in -ūn. There are periplus, -i, m., from περίπλους, panchrus, -i, m. from πάγχρους, catarrhus, -i, m. from κατάρρους. There is also cataplūs, -i, m. from κατάπλους, with the literal transliteration -ūs, indicating some undiscovered form in ūn, and then we're right back where we started!
But back to the -plus words: If you have a better theory about the words being cognates that accounts for the similarity in form (looking like they are Latinizations of the Greek words, much like in periplus and the others), I'd love to know about it! -- Diaphanus 21:59, 25 Ianuarii 2009 (UTC).
I thought that the compounds ending in the Greek -πους (-ποδος) may be forced into being one-termination adjectives ending in -pus when Latinized. The online L&S shows "strūthŏpūs, pŏdis, adj." ("sparrow-footed") and that made me think that the word is a one-termination adjective like "vĕtus, ĕris." I can't find a Latinized compound ending in -pun (representing the Greek element -πουν). For those reasons, I think it might be a good idea to avoid gastropun and cephalopun. --Diaphanus 09:20, 26 Decembris 2006 (UTC)
Well, as I said above, no -pus adjective is ever attested in the neuter, so far as I can tell, so the fact that you haven't found a -pun isn't necessarily decisive in and of itself. I would rather avoid gastropun, but I'd rather know for sure that it's the right way to go. --Iustinus 01:09, 16 Ianuarii 2007 (UTC)
I know. I didn't mean to imply that my not finding a relevant word was necessarily decisive! I should have said that it might be better to avoid the absurd forms unless it's really necessary. At any rate, I agree with what you have there on the article (even though we can't find an attestation). --Diaphanus 12:48, 23 Ianuarii 2007 (UTC)
(I should add that this is especially important because I was planning on doing cephalopoda next) --Iustinus 04:14, 7 Septembris 2006 (UTC)
No attestations on my part as to whether it's a one-termination or a two-termination form, but I suspect one could in the interim shove the question aside and use gastropus, -odis, comm. in the singular, leaving the obnoxious singular-less plural for addressing the class of mollusca gastropoda as a whole. —Myces Tiberinus 22:24, 7 Septembris 2006 (UTC)
I am now wondering if there is a need to come up with neuter singular forms of -poda names when those -poda names are used in biological classification. Is Cephalopus -podis, n. referring to one individual cephalopod, while Gastropus -podis, n. refers to one individual gastropod? Why not use cephalopus, -odis, comm. or cephalopus, -odis, m./gastropus, -odis, comm. or gastropus, -odis, m. to refer to one individual animal? As far as I can tell, a name for a particular animal does not have to be of the same gender or form as its biological classification names. We seem to be using octopus, -odis, m. (or is that comm.?) over at the Cephalopoda article when there is the biological classification name Octopoda (a neuter plural form). We might write dinosaurus, -i, m. to refer to a particular animal (as Traupman does) instead of dinosaurium, -i, n. when there is the biological classification name Dinosauria (a neuter plural form). --Diaphanus 18:17, 12 Februarii 2007 (UTC)
I suppose there's always the option of doing a substantive adjective, like gastropodium. --Iustinus 00:24, 9 Septembris 2006 (UTC)
Why isn't it following a Greek declension: gastropodon, gastropodou; pl. gastropoda? IacobusAmor 02:19, 9 Septembris 2006 (UTC)
Because that's not the paradigm. -poda words are third declension! For confirmation of this, you can use Perseus to search for words that end in -podon vs. words that end in -pus --Iustinus 02:48, 9 Septembris 2006 (UTC)
If it's of interest: the Spanish term appears to be gastrópodo, pl. gastrópodos. IacobusAmor 03:09, 9 Septembris 2006 (UTC)

The Latin counterpart of Greek -pous, -podos adjectives are adjectives in -pes, -pedis, like the poetic 'quadrupes', which is a one-termination adjective. In the absence of any examples of neuter -pun or -pum (but keep on searching!), I'd go for -pus.--Fabullus 14:36, 6 Martii 2008 (UTC)