I've taken a great interest in linguistics lately and want to learn more about the basic principles but also advanced topics we built into different languages.
As I was browsing through Wikipedia, I tripped over an article about the so called distributive case (link to article). Instantly I tried to find out more about it, but alas this concept seems to be quasi non-existent in English and German (my 2nd and 1st language), so I tried to go with the Latin example in the German Wikipedia article.
The example: bis bina sunt quattuor (in numbers: 2 x 2 = 4)
My analsysis so far:
- bis relates to the word bi, which simply means two. The suffix -s changes the meaning to twice
- bina means pairwise
- sunt is basically third-person plural of to be (sum in Latin)
- quattuor simply means four
What I don't really understand now is why this sentence is like this.
Basically the information for two times is doubly present in the example.
Once in bis and once bina.
Why isn't the sentence "bis bi sunt quattuor", which would roughly translate to "Two times two is four". Or maybe "bina bi sunt quattor", which would be something like "A pair of twos is four"?
The meaning of the example translates to "Two times a pair of twos is four", which sounds quite odd to me.
- Why is the sentence like the exapmle and not like one of my conceptions?
- Does anyone have more material about the distributive case itself?
Question 1: Due to a wrong interpretation of the word bina, I mistranslated the sentence.
Question 2: Thanks to a hint by Yellow Sky, I'm now collecting useful ressources about collective numerals, which are kind of a prestage for distributive numerals.