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Re: Adjectives and ordinal numbers

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Thursday, February 27, 2003, 11:53
Daniel Andreasson Vpc-Work scripsit:

> To form an ordinal from a cardinal, you (AFAIK!) simply prefix the cardinal particle > with the prenoun (not pr*o*noun!) _éko-_ which forms ordinals higher than one.
It's interesting that "first" is treated separately. Historically, in IE langs "first" was separate too: in fact it is formally a superlative. Note the "-st" in the Germanic languages, and the Latin "primus", showing the old superlative ending before "-issimus" took over from it (also surviving in a few other words, most oddly in "bruma" = "winter", from an old superlative of "brevis" = "short", presumably referring to the days). "Last"/"ultimus" is also a superlative. "Second" is odd too, being a metaphor from the Latin participle "secundus" = "following". The original Latin and English forms were "alter" and "other", which still survive for non-ordinal purposes; it's quite a coincidence that "secundus" displaced "alter", and then a millennium later its French descendant "seconde" displaced "other". -- John Cowan To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful. --_The Hobbit_