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Vocative of meus

 

cinefactus

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This may be a dumb question, but what is the vocative of meus?
 
 

cinefactus

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Thanks :) I am sure I remember reading that somewhere, but I coudn't quite bring it to mind....
 

Iynx

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"Mi" est vero "meus" in casu vocativo. Sed exceptio quidem est: "Mi Dee" non scribebatur, temporibus medievalibus, sed "Deus meus".

Invenimus (exempla gratia) has litteras a Sancto Thoma:

"O Deus meus, quantum nocui verbo et opere, peccando latenter, patenter, et contumacier..."

(Pro Peccatorum Remissione)

Hic usus scilicet hodie in Ecclesia retinetur.
 
 

cinefactus

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Thanks Inyx, you have answered my next question ;)

Now extrapolating... Does this extend to all nouns / adjectives ending in -eus, or is it particular to this pair?
 

Cato

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Cinefactus dixit:
Now extrapolating... Does this extend to all nouns / adjectives ending in -eus, or is it particular to this pair?
This is a good question. The -eus ending is usually found on adjectives formed from nouns--e.g. igneus - "fiery", obviously comes from ignis - "fire"--so I would guess the Romans just avoided forming this vocative (e.g. if you really need the vocative for igneus, just use ignis in apposition).

However, there are a few legitimate nouns that end in -eus; one of the top of my head is reus - "defendant". This is obviously derived in some way from res - "affair (of the court)", so it may have originally been an adjective. Nevertheless, one could see a need for the vocative here, and I'm dismayed to think it would be ree; if the Romans didn't like mee and used mi instead, they'd likely avoid the similar-sounding ree.

So let's take a closer look at the vocative of meus, which is mi. This word is also a recognized dative form of ego (shortened mihi). So I wonder if, in the case of reus, a Roman would associate this word as an adjective related to res, and so draft the dative form rei to stand in for the vocative of the word "defendant".

I'm going to peruse some texts at home and look for vocative examples; otherwise I'll chalk it up to "can't be known".
 

Cato

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Not much help from texts. I will note that a few -eus nouns are proper names taken from the Greek (e.g. Orpheus, Proteus), so a Greek vocative like Orpheu might be available, e.g. Te maestae volucres, Orpheu, te turba ferarum...fleverunt (Ovid Met. XI.44).
 

Iynx

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1. We also need to exclude from our discussion the name Jesus, which of course entered Latin from Hebrew /Aramaic, via Greek. It is not a IInd-Declension noun at all; the genitive singular is Jesu. The vocative is also Jesu.

2. I do know of at least three other irregular IInd-Declension vocatives:

a. Puere occurs in Plautus.
b. Ocellus also occurs in Plautus (though ocelle does too).
c. The vocative of agnus is agnus, not agne, as in the old requeim Mass: Agnus Dei, Qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem . Agne (AN-yay), like dee, just doesn't feel good in my mouth.

3. We can trace the Deus as a vocative back at least as far as the Vulgate, as in Psalm XLII:

Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam..

Allen-&-Greenough (49) say that "The vocative singular of deus does not occur in classical Latin, but is said to have been dee..."

4. Can anyone cite any authoritative instance of a IInd-Declension noun in -eus (like deus or reus) being used in the vocative with an -e ending?

5. I myself have used eculeus as the vocative of eculeus , and am of the opinion, more generally, that the vocative of such nouns should be the same as the nominative. But this is no more than a personal opinion.

6. We have established that the vocative of meus is mi, or sometimes meus. But (and this is the difficult question) what is the vocative of ego?

This is not a new question. In Virgilius Maro (probably seventh century) "Terrentius and Galbungus are found arguing for fourteen days and nights over the vocative of ego" (J. E. G. Zetzel, cited in a review by Vivien Law: "Wisdom, Authority and Grammar in the Seventh Century: Decoding Virgilius Maro", in The Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 95.10.23, 1995; I have never seen the original text. In Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (English by William Weaver, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983, p. 312), “William of Baskerville” recalls (within a page of a mention of Vergilius Maro) being told the Galbungus-Terrentius story; in his version the period of time was 15 days, “and in the end they attacked one another, with weapons”.

Neither is the question entirely theoretical. Imagine yourself trying to translate into Latin the following English:

"I said to myself, 'self', I said, 'be careful here'".
 

Diaphanus

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Iynx dixit:
6. We have established that the vocative of meus is mi, or sometimes meus. But (and this is the difficult question) what is the vocative of ego?
That is a toughie. None of my grammars show a vocative form...

Honestly, though, I do not see any other viable candidate other than ego.

Meus and mi would not work. Why?

There is a difference between the personal pronouns (ego, mei, mihi, me, me) and the possessive pronoun meus.

A form of meus can be found in the personal-pronoun paradigm (mei), but meus is not used there, and mi is used in a different way.

Iynx dixit:
4. Can anyone cite any authoritative instance of a IInd-Declension noun in -eus (like deus or reus) being used in the vocative with an -e ending?

5. I myself have used eculeus as the vocative of eculeus , and am of the opinion, more generally, that the vocative of such nouns should be the same as the nominative. But this is no more than a personal opinion.
No, I cannot cite any authoritative instance of such a thing, but then again, I really do not see any reason -eus generally should not (or cannot) become -ee. There does not seem to be any special rule that is generally applied to such words, so the "default" seems to be -ee.

I suppose eculeus could have vocative eculeus like deus, but one could make it eculi on the analogy of meus and mi...
 
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