Saturday, August 22, 2015

1800. Noun, now

A Latin professor named Willoughby
At the start of each term passed out syllabi
By about mid-semester
Each student would fester
And just use his copy to kill a bee.

When I took Latin, the plural ending of most masculine nouns (e.g. amici or cacti) was pronounced 'ee.'  It seems to have changed to 'eye.'  However, 'eye' was once how feminine noun plurals (ending ae) were pronounced.  Perhaps another case of 'let's not be gender-specific' occurring in our crazy world?

8/23 Addendum:
Reader Robin Sutherland emailed this after reading my above entry.  He said, 

Alumnæ's like "nigh" -- never "knee."
Alumni's like "knee -- never "nigh."
Our hatches let's batten
With bonafide Latin!
And ne'er wonder how -- only why.
Thanks for having my back, Robin!

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