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Nick Pharris wrote
>Most names for large clades of animals are neuter plural, because they are
>construed as adjectives modifying the neuter plural noun _animalia_.
>Similarly, names for plant groups are feminine plural, modifying the
>plural noun _plantae_. _Dinosauria_ is the Latinized Greek stem
>the adjective formant -i- plus the neuter plural ending -a.
OK, so "Dinosauria" is a name (sic: a noun) constructed from the plural
of a Latin adjective cobbled together from Greek elements.
Did Owen state anything about grammar in his definition of Dinosauria?
(And who was the first to refer to something as a "dinosaur"?)
However, since the ending is supposed to come from Animalia:
Note that Carl Linné's "Animalia" has one Latin ending otherwise typical for
names of countries or geographic areas (like Italia, Gallia, Umbria, Germania,
etc.) Such geographic names are feminine singular nouns.
Linné's "Imperium Naturae" (nature's empire) was divided into "regna tria
naturae" ("nature's three kingdoms", i.e. animals, plants and stones) and
his treatment of groups of entities by geographic metaphors was certainly
on purpose. (Before Linné there was no real classification system and he
had to use existing concepts to express classification of organisms in
a way people would understand.)
True, the word animalia is originally a plural of an adjective made from the
noun anima ("life breath", "vitality"), but Linné wanted to express the
of "the domain of beings with life breath".
>There is a logistic aspect to this issue that I hadn't previously
>That is that the title should begin with the word "Dinosaur," so a person
>scanning a catalogue such as Books in Print for dinosaur books would be able
>to find it easily. Given the disputandum nature of Latin titles (half a
>emails, half a dozen different choices) versus the logistic aspect, the
>straightforward English title The Dinosaur Catalogue will probably prevail
Upon hearing this last sentence a coleague wailed "Please don't!"
(And he wants the Latin as pompous as possible.)
In this context I just thought I'd mention the title of Schenkling's
beetles (31 volumes published in Berlin 1926-40): Coleopterorum catalogus.
I've also seen "Coleopterorum" used in the Latin title of two other beetles
catalogues (never just the group name Coleoptera), and I've seen one
"Lepidopterorum catalogus" (about butterflies).
Now I stop before I go off-topic, and this was enough linguistics from me for
a long time, I think.