Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Two Latin Genitives

Stephen Jay Gould, Bully for Brontosaurus (New York: Norton, 1991), pp. 341-342:
I found Jenkin's article and rushed to the pre-Xerox wet processor (anachronistically named smellox by a friend of mine several years later, in honor of the unpleasant chemical that left its signature even after drying)....I kicked myself for sectarian assumptions in the granting of "importance," vowed to learn more about Jenkin (and to tell my fellow evolutionists), and raided the stacks of Widener Library, where I found several copies of Stevenson's memoir, amidst (no doubt) a liberal sprinkling of North British Reviews for 1867 (which smelloci gratia, I didn't need).
If we treat smellox as a Latin word, as Gould did ioci gratia, then its genitive would be not smelloci, but smellocis (see e.g. vox, vocis).

Lynda Mugglestone, Lost for Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), p. 117:
In the exposition of such concerns, the ideal of the lexicon totius Anglicitatus again fragments, as does the neutrality of the 'complete inventory of our English tongue' with which Trench sought to inspire the members of the Philological Society.
For Anglicitatus, read Anglicitatis, which Mugglestone gets right on p. 73. See Richard Chenevix Trench, On Some Deficiencies in Our English Dictionaries. Being the Substance of Two Papers Read Before the Philological Society, Nov. 5, and Nov. 19, 1857, 2nd ed. (London: Parker, 1860), p. 64.

Related post: Fact Checking and Proofreading.

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