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Re: OT: latin pronunciation - Acorus

DFerguson@cabq.gov wrote: 
There is a whole list of
rules on formulating the end of a name to match gender, plurality, etc.,
but this one was always a puzzle for students, and I'm not sure it is
actually published as a rule anywhere, for botanical nomenclature. 

This is another interesting aspect of biological nomenclature. By convention all Species names are grammatically adjectives modifying Genus names, which are nouns. Since Latin is a gendered language this means that species names must agree in gender with the Genus names they modify. In Latin the word "Iris" is of the feminine gender, therefore the species names all have feminine endings. Thus, for example, Iris sanguinea (feminine), but Geranium sanguineum (masculine or neuter - don't remeber which, but at least its not feminine).

Curiously, in some ot the modern Romance languages, such as Spanish and French, which are direct linguistic descendants of Latin, "Iris" is grammatically masculine.

Jeff Walters
in northern Utah
(USDA Zone 4)

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