Re: Viri? -- no such thing!
From: Piotr Gasiorowski
The fourth "exceptional" neuter is
<ce:tus>, pl. <ce:te:>, a Greek word like <pelagos> (the pl.
of which could also be <pelage:>). The other two (<vi:rus> and
<vulgus>) were once ordinary s-neuters (like <genus> or
<corpus>) that became attracted into the second declension, acquiring its
case endings in the singular (the gen. <vi:ri:> is attested only once!),
except for the unchanged acc. (as expected of neuters). As both are mass nouns,
they virtually lack the plural, and indeed no plural is attested anywhere in
Classical Latin. We owe the _artificial ending_ <-i:> to the
horror vacui of dictionary makers.
To sum up, since <vi:ri:> is not even
an authentic Latin plural, everyone should feel free to regularise it in
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 4:11 AM
Subject: [tied] Re: substratums
I thought I had the
answer to the question as to why we don't
see the Latin plural of "virus"
used -- that it is fourth declension
so the nom. pl. is spelled like the
nom. sing. But wrong again!
Checking my Allen & Greenough
Latin grammar, I find it's
second declension. But my vague memory of
was right -- "virus", with "vulgus" (usually) and "pelagus"
neuter rather than masculine.
"Pelagus" is Greek, but what's the
explanation for the anomaly
with "virus" and "vulgus"?