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Re: Antetonitrus (please forgive linguistic diatribe)

Quoting MKIRKALDY@aol.com:

> (Posted for Adam Yates)
> ____
> As for
> ingenipes being spelt incorrectly, my little latin
> dictionary told me that â??ingensâ?? was latin for
> massive, if this is wrong then â?? Dâ??OH.

Well, in a way it is, and in a way, no.  Latin compounds are formed from the 
*stems* of nouns and adjectives, and it's not always possible to tell what the 
stem is from the nominative singular alone.  Your Latin dictionary should have 
given you both the nominative singular "ingens" and the genitive 
singular "ingentis".  From these two forms you can tell that the rest of the 
forms for use with a masculine or feminine noun will look like this (the 
circumflexes show long vowels, which need not concern us here):

                    Singular           Plural
Nominative          inge^ns            ingente^s
Genitive            ingentis           ingentium
Dative/Ablative     ingenti^           ingentibus
Accusative          ingentem           ingenti^s/ingente^s

So the underlying "word" for 'massive' is actually /ingent-/.

The ending for the nominative singular (the form that would be used for, e.g., 
the subject of a sentence) is -s.  But there is a general rule in Latin that 
when a /t/ stands right before an /s/, as in /ingent-s/, the /t/ is dropped, 
producing the surface form "ingens".

That is why, for this particular word (and many others like it), it is not 
possible to figure out the stem just by looking at the nominative singular 
(which is the form typically given in the dictionary).

Incidentally, the stem of "tonitrus" is /tonitru-/, so if anyone ever decides 
to name a higher-level taxon based on _Antetonitrus_, it should 
be "Antetonitruinae/Antetonitruidae/Antetonitruiformes/etc.".

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan