The gender of the generic name Acis

Rodger Whitlock
Fri, 18 Feb 2005 13:16:47 PST
On 17 Feb 05 at 20:34, Jim McKenney wrote:

> ...can anyone tell me why Acis is being treated as a feminine word
> [when it refers to a male character in mythology]? 

As an old Latinist, I must remind everyone that grammatical gender
is not the same as anatomical sex. The linguists call it "gender",
but it's really a much broader concept than mere sex. I'm not infra 
dig vis a vis other languages, but iiuc (if I understand correctly), 
it's possible for a language to have genders describable as "blue 
things", "black-and-white things", "red things", "things that smell", 
and "things that move on their own." Just where a skunk would fall in 
this classification remains a conundrum.

Those of you with French know that the two genders in that beautiful 
language often conflict with the biological realities. The same is 
true of classical Latin and Greek from which botanical names are 

So: it is *possible* (note emphasis) that the poetic name Acis, 
though referring to a male, has either feminine or neuter grammatical 

The way to ascertain the truth would involve examining ancient
classical Latin texts for the gender (grammatical!) of the
adjectival forms associated with it.

One must also be alert for "Akis" being used as a poetic name in the 
ancient Greek literature, possibly with some other gender 

Confusion reigns.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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