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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

 
U, u is the 20th letter of the Latin alphabet. It was originally written V, v as an alteration of the Greek letter Y, u (upsilon).

The Latin 'u' is 'connected etymologically as well as graphically with the Greek upsilon (Y,u)' (Simpson, D. P. 1968). When Latinized, the Greek upsilon becomes 'y' (see introduction to the section "Y", (or 'hy' if the upsilon that begins a word has a spiritus asper, or "h" sound (see introduction to section "Y")).

NOTE: the word in German for the letter y in its alphabet is 'upsilon.'

Within a Greek word (i.e. medially) the upsilon is always transliterated as simply 'y'. Conversely, when a Latin or a Latinized word begins with y or hy, one must seek its Greek equivalent in the dictionary under 'u' (as upsilon); medially, the 'y' also becomes 'u', as in phyllon, a leaf, is phullon in the Greek dictionary.

A classical Latin dictionary will also spell the Greek upsilon as 'Y' or 'Hy', as hydrus is Latin for (h)udros.

See the ICBN section 60A.2 of the Vienna (2006) Code p. 110 for some discussion of orthography of the spiritus asper.

Examples

1. initial upsilon:

- any prefix using Greek (h)uper-, becomes hyper-: (h)uperbolikos > hyperbolicus,-a,-um (adj.A): excessive, exaggerated.

- any prefix using Greek (h)upo- becomes hypo-: (h)upogaios > hypogeus,-a,-um (adj.A): under-ground.

- (h)ussopos > Hyssopus, perhaps Hyssopus officinalis L.

Note the word in the German language for the letter y is upsilon. NOTE: hardly any Greek word beginning with 'u' is not aspirated > '(h)u.'

2. medial upsilon:

- thuia, Thua or Thueia, the ancient Greeek name for a resin bearing evergreen > Thuja,-ae (s.f.I), the Arbor Vitae

- cuparissos > cyparissus,-i (s.f.II) or Cypressus,-i (s.f.II)

- thumon > thymum,-i, thyme, perhaps Thymus vulgaris L.

Originally in Latin the vowel 'u' was distinguished by Roman grammarians from the consonant ('V'), although the letter 'V' represented both sounds. V was later differentiated into the character 'v' representing the consonant, and 'u' the vowel, as is presently current usage. See introduction to the letter "V" for use of the 'u' and 'v.'

Note the rendering of Peru, the country, as 'Peruvia,-ae' (s.f.I), its adjective peruvianus,-a,-um (adj.A). This suggests that when the word element of a prefix ends in 'u' before a suffix beginning with a vowel, the 'v' is inserted between the terminal (prefix) and initial (suffix) vowels.

Article 60.5, in the ICBN (2006) makes note that names published in works where the letters u and v are used interchangeably must be transcribed to conform with 'modern botanical usage.' Hence (examples 8 and 9, p. 60) such names as Vffenbachia, must be transcribed as Uffenbachia, and Cvrcvligo must be spelled Curculigo.

The Linnaean generic name Euonymus has a large literature associated with it. Euonymus is the ancient or classical Greek name for a plant, ironically derived from the Greek words 'eu', good, and 'onoma,' name. The irony for Fernald (1950) is that this 'well-named' plant actually is said to poison cattle, but perhaps it is more troubling to nomenclaturists. Linnaeus spelled his genus Evonymus in one publication, and Euonymus in another. Zijlstra and Tolsma (1991) tracked the controversy, which was then compounded by arguments about the gender, both of which had to be determined by special acts of botanical congresses to result in the present spelling (Euonymus) and the present gender (masculine); see Yatskievych 2006 pp. 852 & 854.

To refer again to the discussion at the beginning of "V":

In the ICBN, 2006 (Vienna Code), Article 60.7, under example 13, it is said that the 'u' in the terminal 'ou' and 'eau,' and 'w' in people's names is rendered with a 'v' when the author seeks to intentionally Latinize such names. Such intentional Latinizations are not to be 'corrected' by later authors; see the beginning of "V" for examples: 'ov', 'eav' and '[o]v' respectively.



GREEK DIPHTHONGS 'ou' and 'eu':

1. 'ou:'

Greek word elements transliterated into Latin (or English) as 'u' generally represent the Greek diphthong 'ou.' Such Latin words may be sought in a Greek dictionary under words beginning with 'ou' (omikron + upsilon). The Greek diphthong -ou- corresponded to the long 'u' in Latin. Stearn (1983)indicated that the "Latin equivalent" of the Greek diphthong 'ou' was 'ou,' but is transliterated or Latinized, for botanical purposes, as 'u;'

- Anchousa becomes Anchusa.

- apouros, far away, absent, becomes Apura xanthosoma (a moth);

- xouthos, tawny yellow, becomes xuthos.

- strouthos, any bird, such as a sparrow or eagle, becomes struth-, strutho-,

-struthio,-onis (s.m./f.III), abl. sgl -strouthione, a sparrow or ostrich.

- ouranos > Uranus,-i (s.m.II), the father of Saturn.

- pous (s.m.III), gen. sg. podos, a foot is rendered into Latin as -pus,-podis (s.m.III); apparently Greek prefixes derived from pous begin with pod- [e.g. pod-agra (s.f.I) 'a trap or snare for the feet; a gout in the feet' > pous and agra]; brachypus,-odis (s.m.III) a short foot, but brachypodus,-a,-um (adj.A), short-footed. elephas, elephant, and pous, foot result in Elephantopus L., Elephant's-foot.

- Ulota,-ae (s.f.I), the name of a genus of mosses, derives from the Greek 'oulotE,' meaning 'something curled' in reference to the condition of the leaves when dry. Its meaning cannot be found in the Greek dictionary under 'u' but under 'ou.'

NOTE: Note Greek nouns of the third declension lose a syllable in the nominative singular, as in Latin. When making compounds from Greek words such as odous, gen.sg. odontos (s.m.III),'tooth,' is rendered into Latin compounds with the stem (-odon), gen.sg. -odontis (s.m.III), in Didymodon, Zygodon (not Didymodous, or Zygodous).

2. 'eu:'

The Greek diphthong 'eu' is transliterated as 'eu', not 'ey':

- eu 'well'; eupatoria is Greek for a plant, presumably agrimony, or perhaps Eupator,-oris (s.m.III), a surname of Mithridates of Pontus. It becomes Eupatorium, the genus (not Eypatorium).

- in compounds of eury-, 'wide, broad,' in Greek the first upsilon is rendered with u, the second as -y: eury-: in Gk. comp., from eurys, eureia, eury 'wide, broad' > Eurycaulis; Eurycentrum; Eurylepis; Euryloma; Euryptera; Euryomyrtus; Euryops.
Originally in Latin the vowel 'u' was distinguished by Roman grammarians from the consonant ('V'), although the letter 'V' represented both sounds. V was later differentiated into the character 'v' representing the consonant, and 'u' the vowel, as is presently current usage. See introduction to the letter "V" for use of the 'u' and 'v.'

Note the rendering of Peru, the country, as 'Peruvia,-ae' (s.f.I), its adjective peruvianus,-a,-um (adj.A). This suggests that when the word element of a prefix ends in 'u' before a suffix beginning with a vowel, the 'v' is inserted between the terminal (prefix) and initial (suffix) vowels.

Article 60.5, in the ICBN (2006) makes note that names published in works where the letters u and v are used interchangeably must be transcribed to conform with 'modern botanical usage.' Hence (examples 8 and 9, p. 60) such names as Vffenbachia, must be transcribed as Uffenbachia, and Cvrcvligo must be spelled Curculigo.

The Linnaean generic name Euonymus has a large literature associated with it. Euonymus is the ancient or classical Greek name for a plant, ironically derived from the Greek words 'eu', good, and 'onoma,' name. The irony for Fernald (1950) is that this 'well-named' plant actually is said to poison cattle, but perhaps it is more troubling to nomenclaturists. Linnaeus spelled his genus Evonymus in one publication, and Euonymus in another. Zijlstra and Tolsma (1991) tracked the controversy, which was then compounded by arguments about the gender, both of which had to be determined by special acts of botanical congresses to result in the present spelling (Euonymus) and the present gender (masculine); see Yatskievych 2006 pp. 852 & 854.

To refer again to the discussion at the beginning of "V":

In the ICBN, 2006 (Vienna Code), Article 60.7, under example 13, it is said that the 'u' in the terminal 'ou' and 'eau,' and 'w' in people's names is rendered with a 'v' when the author seeks to intentionally Latinize such names. Such intentional Latinizations are not to be 'corrected' by later authors; see the beginning of "V" for examples: 'ov', 'eav' and '[o]v' respectively.

GREEK DIPHTHONGS 'ou' and 'eu':

1. 'ou:'

Greek word elements transliterated into Latin (or English) as 'u' generally represent the Greek diphthong 'ou.' Such Latin words may be sought in a Greek dictionary under words beginning with 'ou' (omikron + upsilon). The Greek diphthong -ou- corresponded to the long 'u' in Latin. Stearn (1983)indicated that the "Latin equivalent" of the Greek diphthong 'ou' was 'ou,' but is transliterated or Latinized, for botanical purposes, as 'u;'

- Anchousa becomes Anchusa.

- apouros, far away, absent, becomes Apura xanthosoma (a moth);

- xouthos, tawny yellow, becomes xuthos.

- strouthos, any bird, such as a sparrow or eagle, becomes struth-, strutho-,

-struthio,-onis (s.m./f.III), abl. sgl -strouthione, a sparrow or ostrich.

- ouranos > Uranus,-i (s.m.II), the father of Saturn.

- pous (s.m.III), gen. sg. podos, a foot is rendered into Latin as -pus,-podis (s.m.III); apparently Greek prefixes derived from pous begin with pod- [e.g. pod-agra (s.f.I) 'a trap or snare for the feet; a gout in the feet' > pous and agra]; brachypus,-odis (s.m.III) a short foot, but brachypodus,-a,-um (adj.A), short-footed. elephas, elephant, and pous, foot result in Elephantopus L., Elephant's-foot.

- Ulota, the name of a genus of mosses, derives from the Greek 'oulotE,' meaning 'something curled' in reference to the condition of the leaves when dry. Its meaning cannot be found in the Greek dictionary under 'u' but under 'ou.'

NOTE: Note Greek nouns of the third declension lose a syllable in the nominative singular, as in Latin. When making compounds from Greek words such as odous, gen.sg. odontos (s.m.III),'tooth,' is rendered into Latin compounds with the stem (-odon), gen.sg. -odontis (s.m.III), in Didymodon, Zygodon (not Didymodous, or Zygodous).

2. 'eu:'

The Greek diphthong 'eu' is transliterated as 'eu', not 'ey':

- eu 'well'; eupatoria is Greek for a plant, presumably agrimony, or perhaps Eupator,-oris (s.m.III), a surname of Mithridates of Pontus. It becomes Eupatorium, the genus (not Eypatorium).

- in compounds of eury-, 'wide, broad,' in Greek the first upsilon is rendered with u, the second as -y: eury-: in Gk. comp., from eurys, eureia, eury 'wide, broad' > Eurycaulis; Eurycentrum; Eurylepis; Euryloma; Euryptera; Euryomyrtus; Euryops.

U, in chemistry: the element Uranium,-ii (s.n.II), abl. sg. Uranio.

-u, gen.sg. -us, as in cornu, gen. sg. cornus 'a horn,' are neuter nouns of the fourth declension, q.v.; see -us,-us (s.m.IV) below.

 

A work in progress, presently with preliminary A through R, and S, and with S (in part) through Z essentially completed.
Copyright © P. M. Eckel 2010-2017

 
 
 
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