Archiver > SOUTH-AFRICA > 2005-08 > 1124692759

From: Richard Ball <>
Subject: Re[4]: [ZA] deciphering signatures
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 07:39:25 +0100
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In-Reply-To: <>

Hello Andrew,

AR> As for Johannis, I note there is a wine in Germany called
AR> "Johannisberger"; "Johannis" I take to be the possessive form of
AR> Johannes,

I believe 'Johannis' or 'Johanis' or, in 1600s or early 1700s
'Joannis' is merely a spelling variation of what is nowadays spelled
'Johannes' (which last form was also used in those days, although
'Jan' is the most common variation).

AR> just as German given names ending in -us commonly form a
AR> possessive in -i, e.g. "Markus, Marci",

You may be right as far as German goes, I don't know, but I don't
believe there is any possessive form of the noun to be found in
Afrikaans except the vestigial 's' as in 'myns insiens' (if I have
got that right!) which is presumably derived from the Dutch possessive
forms such as 'desselfs kinderen' (I am prepared to be shot down in
flames here - I am no authority - I have just read a lot of

AR> This plural still exists also in Dutch, and less commonly in
AR> Afrikaans.

As a matter of interest what would your examples be here?

Many people, when using words derived from Latin forms will use a
Latin type plural, which is probably correct if the word in question
has not been adopted into the vernacular language. To use it in a
commonly used word, however, such as 'hippopotamus' and 'hippopatami'
for instance, rather than 'hippopotamuses' is, in my opionon, a bit
like sticking your little finger out while drinking a cup of tea!!


Richard Ball,
Norfolk, England

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