At 7:11 pm -0800 3/2/01, Jesse Bangs wrote:
>> Of course in Vulgar Latin it is quite clear that there was a drift of
>> commonly used 3rd neuters to the second declension, e.g.
>> tempus,     temps   tiempo   tempo    tempo     tempu
>> temporis
>> corpus,     corps   cuerpo   corpo    corpo     ??
>> corporis
>> Fraid I don't know the Romanian for "body".
>Romanian for "time" is actually 'timp', and "body" is 'corp'.


>I'm not
>sure where you saw 'tempu,' although it's a plausible form for very
>archaic Old Romanian.

Probably a typo.

>Interestingly, Romanian preserved the neuter gender and generalized from
>these nouns to create its neuter plural ending -uri.  The process began
>with the replacement of the neuter plural endings with feminine plural
>endings, so that the plural of 'corpus' was something like 'corpores'
>instead of the proper Latin 'corpora.'  Normal sound changes working on
>'corpores' turned it into 'corpuri,' and the resulting pairs
>'corp/corpuri' and 'timp/timpuri' were generalized.  This has become the
>productive class for monosyllabic neuter nouns and foreign words, so the
>modern Romanian plural of 'taxi' is 'taxiuri'!

Doh! I once knew that - thanks for reminding me.  I guess I must've been
tired when I typed the above.

Yep - the Romance forms in fact show mixt treatment of the those two Latin

Old French (and modern French spelling) retains singular forms derived from
the 3rd neuters which in the VL of the west would be /tEmpos/ and /cOrpos/
respectively, ie. having the same ending as a 2nd decl. acc. plural; and it
seems that this was, indeed, used also as an acc. plural, giving rise to
_indeclinable_ nouns, thus in Old French:
Nominative    tens    tens               cors    cors
  Oblique     tens    tens               cors    cors

(The -p- in the modern spellings 'temps' and 'corps' are merely
etymological restorations which have never been pronounced)

Spanish, Portuguese & Italian show forms derived from the complete
assimilation of 'tempus' and 'corpus' as regular 2nd declensions masculines.

Romanian, as Jesse rightly reminded me, retained these as 3rd neuters,
giving rise to 'timp/timpuri' and 'corp/corpori'.

....which is a more interesting than the bland one I'd was suggesting.


A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                   [J.G. Hamann 1760]