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#49953 - 12/14/01 12:43 PM plural of emeritus  
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Sparteye Offline
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My employer has decided to include a certain position emeritus on the letterhead, and so has come the question of the proper plural of "emeritus."

According to my Webster's unabridged,

emeritus...<Latin, past part. of emerere to obtain by service, to complete one's term, fr. e + merere to earn, serve one's term ...> 2: retired from an office or position esp after gaining public or professional recognition ... often used postpositively <professor ~> and sometimes converted to emeriti after a plural substantive <professors emeriti>

My first impulse was to say that the plural of emeritus was emeriti, but that use of sometimes in the definition gave me pause. So, I thought I'd ask you latin scholars. Would you indicate two Chief Judges emeritus as Chief Judges Emeriti?


#49954 - 12/14/01 03:36 PM Re: plural of emeritus  
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i ain't no latin scholar, but i would write "Emeritus Chief Justices", emeritus being used as an adjective and all.


#49955 - 12/14/01 03:58 PM Re: plural of emeritus  
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I would barely qualify as a Latin scholar if I knew anything but, if you really wanna wow 'em.

                    Singular      Plural
Nominative   emeritus     emeriti
Genitive       emeriti        emeritorum
Dative          emerito      emeritis
Accusative    emeritum    emeritos
Ablative        emerito      emeritis
Vocative        emerite      emeriti

Course that's just masculine and mixed sex plural. If it's females it goes to first declension.


#49956 - 12/14/01 05:21 PM Male of female declension  
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TEd Remington Offline
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Whether it's male or female depends on the genitives, doesn't it??



TEd
#49957 - 12/14/01 05:21 PM Male or female declension  
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Whether it's male or female depends on the genitives, doesn't it??



TEd
#49958 - 12/14/01 06:59 PM Re: plural of emeritus  
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Sparteye Offline
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Thanks, Faldage. It happens that all the former Chief Judges are male, so the lists you provided suit. But I don't pretend to know anything about Latin, so could you please identify for me which of these would be proper to use in describing former CJs on a letterhead?

[thank-you-hug icon]


#49959 - 12/14/01 08:03 PM Re: plural of emeritus  
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all the former Chief Judges are male

All the former Chief Justices are male, but I am not sure the same is true of the former Chief Judges. I believe a jurist sitting on the US Supreme Court is properly titled Justice, not Judge.

But query [to which I know no answer]: how do the two terms differ?

#49960 - 12/14/01 08:27 PM Re: plural of emeritus  
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TEd Remington Offline
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Sparteye:

You could use either emeritus or emeriti after the words Chief Judges. Emeritus is the nominative case singular, while emeriti is the plural in the nominative case.

Latin is an inflected language, which means that the same word has different endings depending upon where it goes in the sentence and how other parts of speech are acting upon and with it.

The nominative case is in essence the subject of a sentence. I throw the ball. the word "I" would be in the nominate case (ego) if you translated the sentence into Latin. It would be something like this: Ego bolum jaco. I am going back 40 years here, so I might be wrong, but I think throw in Latin is jaco, jacere, jacti, jactus. When you are "defining" a verb in Latin, you give the first person singular present tense, jaco, the infinitive "to throw" jacere, the first person past hmm participle (I am thrown) or jacti, and a future tense of some kind, jactus, which means "I will be thrown" or something like that. Some Latin scholar is going to correct me on this, but I think it's pretty close.

Bolum, if I remember correctly, is the accusative case singular for bola.

But the more or less nonsense sentence "The farmer throws me" would come out something like "Agricola meum jacat." Meum may not be the first person singular accusative for ego, but I'm only trying to show that the object of the sentence has a different form than the subject. Just as it does in English as a matter of fact. But much of English is not inflected.

If the farmer is wrestling the sailor, it would be "the farmer throws the sailor" or "the sailor throws the farmer." It's almost all positional. In Latin it would be "agrocola nautam jacat" or "nauta agricolam jacat." But you can take the same sentences and put the words in ANY order in Latin and still know what it says, because position is unimportant. Not totally unimportant, except in simple sentences like this.

Getting back to Chief Judges emeritus vs. Chief Judges emeriti, they both mean retired chief judges. It's my lay view that emeriti is slightly hoi aristoi and that most people would use emeritus, since we do not use inflection in any significant way.

TEd








TEd
#49961 - 12/14/01 09:03 PM Judge or Justice  
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Interesting question. I thought it would be a simple matter of looking at my well-worn pamphlet in which is printed the US Constitution. But I was wrong.

Article 3, which establishes the judiciary, refers to the "Judges" of both the supreme and inferior courts. It is only in Article 1, Section 4, Cluase 6, that you find the term Justice: "When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside. . .."

Further in Article 2, Section 2, clause 2, that the President "shall nominate . . . Judges of the supreme(sic) Court. . .." There is no Constitutional provision for the President to appoint judges of the "inferior courts". My assumption is that when Congress created the inferior Federal Courts they authorized the president to nominate the judges therefor.

US Code Title 28, section 1, provides The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum. So, while Chief Justice is somewhat etched into the Constitution, the titles of the associate justices is simply statutory in nature. I suppose one could make an argument that there is nothing in the Constitution to specify that the Chief Justice referred to in Article 2 has nothing to do with the Supreme Court, which is composed of judges, but I suspect that argument wouldn't get very far.

Section 43 provides for the courts of appeals that "(t)he President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, circuit judges . . .."

My guess is that the use of the word judges for members of the Supreme Court in the Constitution is more or less an error, but of course there can be no "error" in the Constitution, and that the FFs had decided on the term of justice for the Supreme Court, based upon specific reference to Chief Justice in Article 2. I believe the use of justice parallels what is found in England.

This is probably boring as all holy hell to those who aren't US attorneys or like me a self-taught scholar of our Constitution.

TEd who secretly wanted to be an attorney but who never worked hard enough to get into law school





TEd
#49962 - 12/14/01 09:33 PM Re: Male or female declension  
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Geoff Offline
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Whether it's male or female depends on the genitives, doesn't it??

Only if somebody gets accusative regarding where their genitives have been, in which case they may become ablative.


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