4

I'm studying Classical Arabic at the moment from a book written quite some time ago. It uses Latin names for the various grammatical terms and I am having some difficulty in understanding them.

For example, the terms: nomen substantivium and nomen adjectivum. From what I could gather nomen is Latin for noun? If so then what is nomen adjectivum? I know this is referring to adjectives but what is nomen doing prefixed to adjectivum?

Also what is the difference between nomen demonstrativum and nomen conjunctivium?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, NVZ, Phil Sweet, user66974, tchrist Aug 19 '16 at 23:19

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Welcome to EL&U. Terms like nomen substantivum (i.e. substantive) and nomen adjectivum (i.e. adjective) refer to Latin grammar, not English. Did you mean to ask at Latin.SE? – choster Aug 15 '16 at 16:59
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about Latin and/or antiquated Arabic-focused texts – FumbleFingers Aug 15 '16 at 17:05
  • 3
    @FumbleFingers Hmm ... I'm inclined to regard it as legitimate, since these terms were the stock-in-trade of grammatical discourse in English, too. – StoneyB Aug 15 '16 at 17:13
  • 1
    @StoneyB: But isn't it "domain specific" terminology? Even if the domain happens to be English, it's not relevant to terminology currently used in the domain "Study of English Grammar" or whatever we call it. I accept that obscure terminology in current use within that particular domain is On Topic (whereas obscure usages in particle physics wouldn't be). But there has to be a limit. – FumbleFingers Aug 15 '16 at 17:26
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers What's "current use" got to do with it? Do we prohibit questions about Eliot's or Joyce's or Byron's or Shakespeare's or Chaucer's use of terms which have lost currency? – StoneyB Aug 15 '16 at 22:32
6

Classical Latin grammarians did not distinguish between adjectives and nouns as 'parts of speech': what we call adjectives could be used as nouns, and adjectives declined the same way nouns did (only in three genders!), so they called them both nomina, our nouns. What they did distinguish (in a very modern way) was uses of the words: a nomen substantivum (substantive noun) was a noun employed to designate an 'entity', something with 'substance', and a nomen adjectivum (adjective noun) was a noun 'set down next to' a substantive as a modifier.

Similarly, a nomen demonstrativum, which 'pointed to' another noun, was what we call a 'demonstrative pronoun', and a nomen conjunctivum, which 'joined' a noun to a clause about it, was what we call a 'relative pronoun'.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.