Language evolution in the face of argument?

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

Fieari
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:16 am UTC
Location: Okayama, Japan

Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Fieari » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:11 pm UTC

Hypercorrection is a linguistic game that hackers play, and is where we get the word "virii" from, despite the fact that the correct plural of virus is "virii". There are a number of words that end in "us" that are pluralized with the i or double i ending (only when the root word also contains an i), and just because virus is not one of those words doesn't mean it isn't often pluralized that way, usually for fun, and usually knowing that it's "incorrect".

On the other hand, I've heard a number of people who aren't being purposefully silly, who simply don't know any better, begin to use the i plural for all words ending in us. They learn a couple of the real ones... octopi, fungi, etc., and then apply the rule as a general thing. This is actually spread through the silly usage of the word, and confuses the matter in the minds of those who don't really understand the issue.

My question is this. How widespread would this "mistake" have to become before it is an actual linguistic shift, and is finally accepted as "official"? Does the shift have to go unnoticed by acadamians first? Virii has certainly been noted, and argued against, often enough after all. As long as that argument goes on, will the shift not take place, or is there a critical mass after which academic opposition doesn't really matter anymore?
Surely it is as ridiculous to consider sqrt(-1) "imaginary" because you can't use it to count pieces of chalk as to consider the number 200 imaginary because by itself it cannot express the location of one point with reference to another. -Isaac Asimov

User avatar
bbctol
Super Deluxe Forum Title of DESTINYâ„¢
Posts: 3137
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:27 pm UTC
Location: The Twilight Zone
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby bbctol » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:21 pm UTC

It's octopodes, incidentally. Well, only when you want to look smart.

User avatar
Owehn
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:49 pm UTC
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Owehn » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:08 am UTC

At one point, I remember my historical linguistics professor telling me that changes tend to stabilize: the original and altered forms coexist until one pushes the other out completely. If the altered form survives, then it is a so-called linguistic shift. If the original form survives, then it is not. If the two forms are still around, it's too early to tell. Since I have heard both "viruses" and "viri", I think the jury's still out. On the other hand, as far as I know "octopuses" (and sometimes "octopi") has completely replaced "octopodes" in modern speech, and dictionaries tend to reflect this fact.
[This space intentionally left blank.]

User avatar
Gelsamel
Lame and emo
Posts: 8237
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:49 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:53 am UTC

Except octopus does not have a latin root so octopi is totally illogical.. what ever..
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

User avatar
Axman
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:51 pm UTC
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Axman » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:38 am UTC

It's only correct if the word itself is Latin. I mean, popular usage aside. But if you're looking for a rule or guide.

User avatar
Gelsamel
Lame and emo
Posts: 8237
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:49 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:52 am UTC

Of course languages is defined via. popular use, but Axman is right Octopi is as ridiculous as any other randomly made up word.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

User avatar
Eschatokyrios
Posts: 244
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:49 pm UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Eschatokyrios » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:04 am UTC

Hypercorrecting Latinate plurals is no fun unless you also decline them for the appropriate case for their role in the English sentence! "Two fungi" vs. "I have two fungos" vs. "The different fungorum properties". -orum == win :)

In all seriousness, both the Latinate plurals and regular -es plurals are acceptable, and in informal registers the -i plural has been regularized to any foreign word ending in -us, regardless of whether or not it was originally a Latin 2nd declension noun.
კაცი ბჭობდა, ღმერთი იცინოდაო
k'atsi bch'obda, ghmerti itsinodao
"Man was discussing, God was laughing"
-Georgian proverb

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Robin S » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:06 pm UTC

There will always be sticklers who refuse to acknowledge any linguistic innovations since 1066. Then there will be the public. It's another case of vernacular versus official language, except that in this case the "vernacular" spelling is so widespread that it has effectively eclipsed the etymologically correct one.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

zenten
Posts: 3799
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:42 am UTC
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:31 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Of course languages is defined via. popular use, but Axman is right Octopi is as ridiculous as any other randomly made up word.


How do you pluralize "octopus"?

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Robin S » Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:41 pm UTC

I pluralize "octopus" so rarely that, when I do, I generally make some sort of reference to "octopodes". I suppose if I was writing an article for a paper or something, I would write "octopuses".

I'd be quite surprised to learn that "octopodes" was ever used except to make a point, and ditto for "octopi" (which is a genuine case of hypercorrection).
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

zenten
Posts: 3799
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:42 am UTC
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:13 pm UTC

Robin S wrote:I pluralize "octopus" so rarely that, when I do, I generally make some sort of reference to "octopodes". I suppose if I was writing an article for a paper or something, I would write "octopuses".

I'd be quite surprised to learn that "octopodes" was ever used except to make a point, and ditto for "octopi" (which is a genuine case of hypercorrection).


Oddly enough it comes up for me frequently, probably because I like eating seafood.

I find octopuses sounds silly, so I try not to use that. I've never heard of octopodes before, could you explain why you would find that to be correct?

User avatar
bbctol
Super Deluxe Forum Title of DESTINYâ„¢
Posts: 3137
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:27 pm UTC
Location: The Twilight Zone
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby bbctol » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:19 pm UTC

Octopi assumes that it's a second declension latin noun, which it isn't. Octopus is directly descended from the greek oktopous, the plural of which is oktopodes. It's a kind of pedantic attempt to annoy people who think octopi is correct.

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Robin S » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:31 pm UTC

To be more accurate, people who say "octopi" generally seem to assume that, because words ending in -us often pluralize to -i (especially words with Latin-sounding bits like "octo" in them), "octopus" must work the same way. In my experience, people who know what a second declension Latin noun is don't make that sort of mistake, though I could be overgeneralizing.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

User avatar
zomgmouse
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:44 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby zomgmouse » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:15 am UTC

I'm guessing the same goes for 'forum' to 'fora'?

There was a joke, where a Latin teacher was a witness and was asked if he could "identify the hoodlums involved", to which he replied that "they were hoodla, your honour".

Something similar involved martini.
"Alf Todd," said Ukridge, soaring to an impressive burst of imagery, "has about as much chance as a one-armed blind man in a dark room trying to shove a pound of melted butter into a wild cat's left ear with a red-hot needle." P.G. Wodehouse

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Robin S » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:18 am UTC

Well, "forum" to "fora" (in an online context) is etymologically correct but also obsolete, since as far as I am aware everyone says "forums" unless they are trying to make a point - or it has become an injoke, such as happened here. However, using "fora" as the plural of "forum" in other contexts is perfectly valid.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

User avatar
Eschatokyrios
Posts: 244
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:49 pm UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Eschatokyrios » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:02 pm UTC

zomgmouse wrote:I'm guessing the same goes for 'forum' to 'fora'?

There was a joke, where a Latin teacher was a witness and was asked if he could "identify the hoodlums involved", to which he replied that "they were hoodla, your honour".

Something similar involved martini.


Yeah, "Said the Latin teacher, 'I asked the bartender for a martinus, because I only wanted one'". But again, this ignores the most fun part of Latinate pedantry, noun declension. "I asked the bartender for a martino, because I only wanted one and 'for' governs the Ablative"
კაცი ბჭობდა, ღმერთი იცინოდაო
k'atsi bch'obda, ghmerti itsinodao
"Man was discussing, God was laughing"
-Georgian proverb

User avatar
la fée verte
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:13 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby la fée verte » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:46 pm UTC

Off-topic as far as hypercorrection goes, sorry, but the Martinus/Martini joke reminded me of my Italian housemate's pet hate: 'panini' as a singular noun, and even worse, people asking for 'two paninis'.
"We are all polylingual but some of us pretend that there is virtue in relying on not trying to understand." - Ani DiFranco

User avatar
4=5
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:02 am UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby 4=5 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:39 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Of course languages is defined via. popular use, but Axman is right Octopi is as ridiculous as any other randomly made up word.


How do you pluralize "octopus"?

octopussies :)

vlad
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby vlad » Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:24 pm UTC

Fieari wrote:My question is this. How widespread would this "mistake" have to become before it is an actual linguistic shift, and is finally accepted as "official"?


As any descriptivist will tell you, linguistic shifts are actual linguistics shifts regardless of whether they're "officially accepted" or not. (English doesn't even have a language academy or any other regulatory body to decide what's "official" anyway. (And even if it did you'd be entitled to ignore it.))

Virii has certainly been noted, and argued against, often enough after all. As long as that argument goes on, will the shift not take place, or is there a critical mass after which academic opposition doesn't really matter anymore?


Prescriptivists, by and large, don't know what they're talking about. They don't just argue against new linguistic innovations, they often argue against well-established usage (which they sometimes think are new). ("Argue" is a bit of a misnomer -- it usually takes the form of declarations with little or no substantiation.) It's important not to confuse them with respectable academics.

Owehn wrote:On the other hand, as far as I know "octopuses" (and sometimes "octopi") has completely replaced "octopodes" in modern speech, and dictionaries tend to reflect this fact.


Actually, the earliest attested plural is in fact octopi. "Octopuses" does not show up until a bit later. "Octopodes" on the other hand, far from being archaic, is a pedantic neologism.

Gelsamel wrote:Except octopus does not have a latin root so octopi is totally illogical.. what ever..


It's only "illogical" if you expect everything to inflect according to its etymology. Personally, I find that assumption to be illogical itself.

bbctol wrote:Octopus is directly descended from the greek oktopous, the plural of which is oktopodes.


Actually, it came to us in Latinized form, like most ancient Greek words do. That's why it's "octopus" and not "oktopous".

User avatar
Ari
Posts: 725
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:09 pm UTC
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Ari » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:58 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Of course languages is defined via. popular use, but Axman is right Octopi is as ridiculous as any other randomly made up word.


All words are made up. You're applying a standard of certainty that's completely inappropriate to what words are "correct." Language is a machine of consensus- it doesn't care what the root was, it cares what people understand. :)
"Hey %*&^er, offensive communication works fine so long as you do it respectfully." :D
"I am so quoting that out of context at a later date."

User avatar
Flying Betty
Posts: 1147
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:25 am UTC
Location: Next Tuesday

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Flying Betty » Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:13 pm UTC

With something like octopus, I think there's only so many times a person is willing to amend their automatic grammatical rules. An English speaker knows how to pluralize something: -s. Once you know that it sounds right. Then you take some biology and learn that the plural of nucleus isn't nucleuses, it's nuclei. Cool, that sounds pretty good once you've heard it a few times. New rule ftw. But oh, you can only apply this rule to words with a Latin etymology. Fine if you know the etymology, but now you can't pluralize a new word until you go home and look it up. Languages evolve by things that sound good to you and make sense to other people. You can force rules upon yourself, and make it seem natural even if it isn't precisely correct. Once not ending a sentence with a preposition has been drilled into your head enough, doing so will sound wrong even when it isn't.
Belial wrote:The future is here, and it is cyberpunk as hell.

User avatar
bbctol
Super Deluxe Forum Title of DESTINYâ„¢
Posts: 3137
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:27 pm UTC
Location: The Twilight Zone
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby bbctol » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:11 am UTC

vlad wrote:
bbctol wrote:Octopus is directly descended from the greek oktopous, the plural of which is oktopodes.


Actually, it came to us in Latinized form, like most ancient Greek words do. That's why it's "octopus" and not "oktopous".


Yes, but it wasn't a second-declension Latin noun. It was a transliteration of a greek word in a manner that made it appear to be a second-declension Latin noun.

User avatar
just john
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:11 pm UTC
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby just john » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:53 pm UTC

What's the singular of "tortellini"? "Tortellinum" or "tortellinus"?

User avatar
Owehn
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:49 pm UTC
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Owehn » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:20 pm UTC

Tortellino? (Just a guess.)

Edit: Apparently that's the singular in Italian. It's also the supersymmetric partner to the Tortellon.
[This space intentionally left blank.]

Avram
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:57 am UTC
Location: Edmonton

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Avram » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:28 am UTC

This thread made me consider rejecting Latinate plurals entirely.

But I just don't think I could bear to say the words "crisises," "criterions," or "datums"

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26818
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:28 am UTC

Fonkey wrote:This thread made me consider rejecting Latinate plurals entirely.

But I just don't think I could bear to say the words "crisises," "criterions," or "datums"

I expect "criteria" and "data" will go the way of "media" and simply become mass nouns. So those two, at least, you won't likely see regardless.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Benny the Bear
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 2:44 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Benny the Bear » Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:32 am UTC

Frankly having one plural suffix for every ending would be better. English is hard enough already - is it a big deal about honoring former languages no one speaks anymore?

On one hand it's incorrect, but on the other hand English, the most commonly spoken language in the world, is simplified a bit.

My two cents.

User avatar
Engma
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:51 pm UTC
Location: Urbana, IL

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Engma » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:08 am UTC

< scientific Latin octopus (1758 or earlier in Linnaeus) < ancient Greek eight-footed, an eight-footed creature < OCTO- comb. form + -, foot (see -POD comb. form).
The plural form octopodes reflects the Greek plural; cf. OCTOPOD n. The more frequent plural form octopi arises from apprehension of the final -us of the word as the grammatical ending of Latin second declension nouns; this apprehension is also reflected in compounds in octop-: see e.g. OCTOPEAN adj., OCTOPIC adj., OCTOPINE adj., etc.

From the OED online. I am sorry, however, I had to remove the Greek part, because it was just showing up as {omicron}, etc. I think the last half of it gets the point across, though.

What were we saying about hypercorrection? Or, in this case, I'd call it analogy.

Alumnus : Alumni :: Octopus : ?

As my historical linguistics professor always said: Shift Happens.

People make mistakes and over-use analogies because people can't be bothered to take the time to look up the history of every freakin' word they use. Personally, I can't blame them.

The question of when a shift becomes rule is a thorny one. There is no real answer, honestly. If 51 out of every 100 people uses one form over another and THAT is the cutoff point for making it a rule, why not lower to 50 out of 100? It's not THAT big of a deal to lower it by one. And then why not one more? And one more after that?

There can't be absolute numbers and cutoff points in linguistics. Traditional scientists and mathematicians have to give that up when they study language, especially as it's used in everyday situations.

Typically, though, shift happens when enough people die.

No, seriously. Forms change when the hold-overs from the previous generations die and the newer form becomes prominent. Those who are in the younger generation who cling to an older form of a word/paradigm/idiom/etc are in the minority and their usage rarely takes hold.
M: So I'm living in a movie right now

L: really? Too much LSD in your cheerios?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26818
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:13 am UTC

Engma wrote:There can't be absolute numbers and cutoff points in linguistics. Traditional scientists and mathematicians have to give that up when they study language, especially as it's used in everyday situations.

Actually, there are rarely absolute numbers and cutoff points in the other sciences, either.

Vagueness (whether it's about grammatical rules or species divisions or the size of a "planet") seems to bother a lot of people, but there's really no reasonable way around it.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

zenten
Posts: 3799
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:42 am UTC
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:50 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Engma wrote:There can't be absolute numbers and cutoff points in linguistics. Traditional scientists and mathematicians have to give that up when they study language, especially as it's used in everyday situations.

Actually, there are rarely absolute numbers and cutoff points in the other sciences, either.

Vagueness (whether it's about grammatical rules or species divisions or the size of a "planet") seems to bother a lot of people, but there's really no reasonable way around it.


Thus all the unreasonable methods people propose ;)

Fieari
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:16 am UTC
Location: Okayama, Japan

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Fieari » Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:47 pm UTC

This is where formal fuzzy logic becomes handy, I suppose.
Surely it is as ridiculous to consider sqrt(-1) "imaginary" because you can't use it to count pieces of chalk as to consider the number 200 imaginary because by itself it cannot express the location of one point with reference to another. -Isaac Asimov

Fargren
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:40 pm UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Fargren » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:57 am UTC

Robin S wrote:Well, "forum" to "fora" (in an online context) is etymologically correct but also obsolete, since as far as I am aware everyone says "forums" unless they are trying to make a point - or it has become an injoke, such as happened here. However, using "fora" as the plural of "forum" in other contexts is perfectly valid.

I haven't studied latin in 2 yeras, but would the plural form of forum be foros (wich is also the plural in spanish)?
I don't really remember the fourth and fifth declensions/declinations, so it probably belongs to one of those and I'm wrong. But asking is good for learning.
English is not my native language, so please don't expect me to be perfectly profficient with it.

User avatar
Eschatokyrios
Posts: 244
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:49 pm UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Eschatokyrios » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:38 am UTC

Fargren wrote:
Robin S wrote:Well, "forum" to "fora" (in an online context) is etymologically correct but also obsolete, since as far as I am aware everyone says "forums" unless they are trying to make a point - or it has become an injoke, such as happened here. However, using "fora" as the plural of "forum" in other contexts is perfectly valid.

I haven't studied latin in 2 yeras, but would the plural form of forum be foros (wich is also the plural in spanish)?
I don't really remember the fourth and fifth declensions/declinations, so it probably belongs to one of those and I'm wrong. But asking is good for learning.


No, it's a 2nd declension neuter noun, so the plural (at least the Nominative/Accusative plural) of Latin forum is fora. foros would be the Accusative plural of forus, which my dictionary says means "ganway in a ship; row of benches; cell of bees".
კაცი ბჭობდა, ღმერთი იცინოდაო
k'atsi bch'obda, ghmerti itsinodao
"Man was discussing, God was laughing"
-Georgian proverb

Avram
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:57 am UTC
Location: Edmonton

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Avram » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:43 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I expect "criteria" and "data" will go the way of "media" and simply become mass nouns.


I think "data" already has become a mass noun (expect perhaps among academics, specialists, and the like). I rarely if ever hear someone say "the data are persuasive." Also, people refer to a datum as a "piece of data." If I called something a "datum," pretty much no-one would know what I was talking about.

Fargren
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:40 pm UTC

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Fargren » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:26 am UTC

Eschatokyrios wrote:
Fargren wrote:
Robin S wrote:Well, "forum" to "fora" (in an online context) is etymologically correct but also obsolete, since as far as I am aware everyone says "forums" unless they are trying to make a point - or it has become an injoke, such as happened here. However, using "fora" as the plural of "forum" in other contexts is perfectly valid.

I haven't studied latin in 2 yeras, but would the plural form of forum be foros (wich is also the plural in spanish)?
I don't really remember the fourth and fifth declensions/declinations, so it probably belongs to one of those and I'm wrong. But asking is good for learning.


No, it's a 2nd declension neuter noun, so the plural (at least the Nominative/Accusative plural) of Latin forum is fora. foros would be the Accusative plural of forus, which my dictionary says means "ganway in a ship; row of benches; cell of bees".

Oh, right, I keep forgeting about the neutral... Stupid spanish using masculine or feminine for things...
English is not my native language, so please don't expect me to be perfectly profficient with it.

User avatar
mudge
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:14 pm UTC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby mudge » Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:20 am UTC

I'm surprised no one has offered up hexadecipus to describe two of the buggers.
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mudge <-- buy my CD (Now back in stock!)

User avatar
Ari
Posts: 725
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:09 pm UTC
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby Ari » Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:40 pm UTC

Fonkey wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:I expect "criteria" and "data" will go the way of "media" and simply become mass nouns.


I think "data" already has become a mass noun (expect perhaps among academics, specialists, and the like). I rarely if ever hear someone say "the data are persuasive." Also, people refer to a datum as a "piece of data." If I called something a "datum," pretty much no-one would know what I was talking about.


I was about to say the same thing.

I don't know about "criteria", though. From what I've heard, it's turning into one of those words like "sheep" with an identical plural.
"Hey %*&^er, offensive communication works fine so long as you do it respectfully." :D
"I am so quoting that out of context at a later date."

User avatar
goedjn4
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:13 pm UTC
Location: Rhode Island
Contact:

Re: Language evolution in the face of argument?

Postby goedjn4 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:23 pm UTC

I recommend pluralizing octopus the same way you do
fish. IOW: "one octopus, two octopus, three octopus".

People will give you grief about it, and you should
claim it's a nauticle thing. And then slay them.

I always interpet "octopodes" as more than one type.
Kind of like "fishes".

--Goedjn


Return to “Language/Linguistics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests