Latin nominatives and animal names (cf. Bossie)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 28 23:25:27 UTC 2006

Yes, *we* do, but that is a modern, learned derivation that has nothing to
do with whether English-speaking cowherds of the Dark Ages were familiar
enough with Latin to derive a nickname for a cow
from a word that referred to oxen as much as to cows.


On 4/28/06, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Latin nominatives and animal names (cf. Bossie)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> We do name our lions Leo, not Leon.  (At the moment, that's
> the only other stereo- or prototypical animal name I can
> think of that resembles the Latin common noun designating
> the species.)
> --Charlie
> >>>>
> >It's difficult to derive "Bossie" from _bov-_. Derivation
> from a nominative rather than from a stem is very, very
> rare, though not unknown or impossible.
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