Nomenclature: a long quibble

Jim McKenney
Tue, 12 Jul 2005 13:41:39 PDT
Roger is right about those words being treated as first declension words,
almost all of which (but not all) are feminine in gender. Whereas a betting
man might profit by assuming that all first declension words are feminine, I
obviously lost that bet!

Latin, of course, by and large observes a system of "natural" gender: boys
are boys and girls are girls regardless of declension assignment.  

Mons Balansa's gender is no longer in question. 

I set myself up for that one because although I've known the word balansae
(from Crocus balansae) for decades, I had always assumed it referred to a
woman. It was only when I composed that post that I took the time to look
the name up - and I was momentarily disconcerted to discover that it was the
name of a man!

I was like the tourist who, seeing the names on the restrooms (Damen and
Herren) came to an unfortunate conclusion in deciphering them as Damen=Da
Men=the men and Herren= Hers and barged right in. 

Luckily for me, email does not convey the squeals of outrage over my

Jim McKenney  

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