Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby ZLVT » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:33 am UTC

Hmm, strange, I've never met a neuter ending in -us before. How many of those are there?
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:02 am UTC

Seeing as corpus, genus, and tempus also are, there are at least four, apparently. :-)
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Carpe Clunes » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:06 am UTC

Wait... Are you guys seriously telling me that the plural of virus is not and never was viri?
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby ZLVT » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:32 am UTC

It appears to be so. Or rather that It didn't originally have a plural
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Carpe Clunes » Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:57 am UTC

Indeed... fifth declension...
Man, I wish I'd thought of that. I feel stupid, now.
So I can say I have several virus... or I can say... I have a collection of viri.
(viri is only the in the genitive... there is no plural in any other case)
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby ZLVT » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:19 am UTC

It's not 5th for two reasons:

a) we've established that it is neuter, while all but two fifth declention nouns are feminine
b) it would be virui in the genitive and not viri as the dictionary gives it
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby goofy » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:42 am UTC

According to that link I gave earlier, it has only two attested forms: nominative/accusative singular vīrus, and genitive singular vīri.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Carpe Clunes » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:51 am UTC

ZLVT wrote:It's not 5th for two reasons:

a) we've established that it is neuter, while all but two fifth declention nouns are feminine
b) it would be virui in the genitive and not viri as the dictionary gives it


Louis and Short list it as fifth declension, no plural... viri in the genitive.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby ZLVT » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:35 am UTC

Damn. I need to get one intergrated book in stead of looking everythign up in three.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby markfiend » Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:59 am UTC

ZLVT wrote:No it isn't. The plural of Elvis would be Elves. the -i plural occurs when the word ends in -us not -is

Aye, but I've seen/heard people refer to Elvi.

I did say pseudo-latinate. ;)

Edit: and the incorrect plural of virus I'm complaining about is virii with two i's -- which would be the plural of virius, I believe?
I have also seen the singular form 'virion' if that's any help...
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Re: Some xkcd Forum Statistics

Postby Shadic » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:41 pm UTC

..Am I the only person who thinks using "Fora" instead of "Forum" is stupid? :?

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Re: Some xkcd Forum Statistics

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:42 pm UTC

Shadic wrote:..Am I the only person who thinks using "Fora" instead of "Forum" is stupid? :?


Fora doesn't mean forum. It means forums. And no, you're not. There's a thread in Linguistics.
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Re: Some xkcd Forum Statistics

Postby Shadic » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:44 pm UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:Fora doesn't mean forum. It means forums...

Meh, plural. Same thing. :|

As for that... I may go check it out.

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Re: Some xkcd Forum Statistics

Postby RealGrouchy » Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:05 pm UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Shadic wrote:..Am I the only person who thinks using "Fora" instead of "Forum" is stupid? :?
Fora doesn't mean forum. It means forums. And no, you're not. There's a thread in Linguistics.
Well, technically, using the plural "Fora" where it is appropriate to use the singular "Forum" would be pretty stupid.

But it's a fairly established practise on here--especially among us mods and other old-timers--and calling it stupid won't win any brownie points.

Splitting this off into the fora/forums thread.

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Rilian » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:04 am UTC

The people in my fraternity used to consistently refer to our old members as "alumnis", and say "he's an alunmi". I corrected it so many times that more of them are now saying "alumnus", but some still use it incorrectly. Sometimes I feel that it's because our fraternity is co-ed, and they wish to avoid the whole alumnus/alumna distinction, but then I remind them (on a couple occasions, I did) that, by national dicatate, all members of our fraternity are brothers, regardless of their identity elsewhere.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby RealGrouchy » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:32 pm UTC

Rilian wrote:The people in my fraternity used to consistently refer to our old memers as "alumnis", and say "he's an alunmi".
This concept of a meme-based fraternity intrigues me. Is it, by chance, in Soviet Russia (where brothers fraternize you?)

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Monika » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:18 pm UTC

Carpe Clunes wrote:But if we carry on refusing to use original plurals it's only a matter of time before we're forced to accept words like matrixes/matrixs and octopuses/octopuss

Apparently "matrixes" is sufficiently accepted besides "matrices" to make it into leo.org, the most widely used German-English online dictionary: http://dict.leo.org/ende?search=matrix

Oh, and into Merriam Webster, too, I just noticed: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrixes

Let's check for octupuses. Yep, all there: http://dict.leo.org/ende?search=octopus
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/octopuses

Carpe Clunes wrote:Wait... Are you guys seriously telling me that the plural of virus is not and never was viri?

Seems so. I was surprised when I first learned that, I had assumed it's masculin and thought the Latin plural would have been viri. But I find "virii" is really horrible.
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Maybe you'll find it interesting how German handles Latin "imported" nouns. They have special (irregular) plurals, but they do not keep the Latin ones.
Forum - Foren
Virus - Viren
Kaktus - Kakteen
Atlas - Atlanten
Bakterium - Bakterien
Oktopus - Oktopoden (that's Greek though, I think)

Children (or uneducated people) will often say Kaktusse, Virusse, Atlasse, i.e. try to form regular German plurals with -e. I have never heard any other plural of Forum than Foren, but then children don't talk much about forums/fora. Bakterien is used mostly in the plural form, so kids might form the singular incorrectly as "Bakterie". The word "Oktopus" is used rarely (we have other words for this, Krake, Tintenfisch) and I have never heard the correct nor any incorrect plural form.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby goofy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:41 pm UTC

Monika wrote:Apparently "matrixes" is sufficiently accepted besides "matrices" to make it into leo.org, the most widely used German-English online dictionary: http://dict.leo.org/ende?search=matrix

Oh, and into Merriam Webster, too, I just noticed: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrixes


Earliest citation for matrixes in the OED: 1651
matrices: 1615

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

From what I can see, 1641 and 1555, actually. But still, both have been in English for well over 350 years, which I'd say makes both pretty acceptable plurals of the word.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby goofy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

We must have different OEDs. I'm using the online version.

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:15 pm UTC

You sure it's not just a matter of you looking at a different part of the entry from me?
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby goofy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:31 pm UTC

No, those citations aren't in the version I'm looking at. tha hell

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby sje46 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:43 am UTC

Bump.

Pseudo-Latin is fun. Especially when people call them "penii" or "peni" instead of "penes".

Which reminds me...why do people always add two "i"s at the end? If you ask someone who hasn't taken latin what the plural of "circus" is, often they'll say "circii". Is that just because they're used to the word "radii" (which is dumb, because radii is the plural of "radius", and clearly that's where that first i comes from)?
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:48 pm UTC

I've never seen anyone think the plural of circus is circii.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Monika » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:00 pm UTC

But lots of people write "virii".

I think it's not because of radius - radii, but because they saw a couple of masculin (-us) words in the genitive plural form with -ii, which looks kind of intriguing to people whose language does not include ii (so approximately everybody except Fins), and didn't know it's only the genitive form so started using it for the nominative form, too.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Bobber » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:03 pm UTC

sje: I guess that when people make the -ius -> -ii connection, they think it's the -us that forms the -ii and that the i in in -ius is irrelevant, thus causing the hypercorrection.

I hope that answers your question.
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Re: The most ridiculous question of all. (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Dibley » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

phlip wrote:I've been known to use "ninjae" on occasion.)
And 'jedus', never forget that 'jedus' is the singular form of 'jedi'.

I'm somewhat prone to using -ii, but that's because something like half of all botanical names end with -ii, like, say, Dodecatheon hendersonii, or Pseudotsuga menziesii, or Viola douglasii.

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Re: The most ridiculous question of all. (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Monika » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:48 am UTC

Dibley wrote:I'm somewhat prone to using -ii, but that's because something like half of all botanical names end with -ii, like, say, Dodecatheon hendersonii, or Pseudotsuga menziesii, or Viola douglasii.

Interesting.

This must mean something like Dodecatheon of the hendersons, Pseudotsuga of the menziesuses, Viola of the douglases ... whatever that is supposed to mean.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Dibley » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:37 am UTC

It's common for scientific names to be dedicated to famous scientists, and Henderson, Menzies, and Douglas were famous botanists. It's bad form to name thins after yourself, but loyal grad students often dedicate newly described species to their professors.

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:00 am UTC

I like plurals that involve a vowel change, especially when it's a characteristic vowel of the word's stem (eg man / men), rather than a mere vowel change in a suffix. Tolkien used stem vowel change plurals in his elvish languages, but which natural languages use this mechanism as their primary way to pluralise?

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby goofy » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:13 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:I like plurals that involve a vowel change, especially when it's a characteristic vowel of the word's stem (eg man / men), rather than a mere vowel change in a suffix. Tolkien used stem vowel change plurals in his elvish languages, but which natural languages use this mechanism as their primary way to pluralise?


Germanic languages use ablaut, which is a remnant of an earlier stage where a suffix was added which changed the vowel. So in Proto-Germanic the nominative plural of "man" had a suffix with a high vowel, and this high vowel caused the main vowel to change by assimilation. Then the suffix disappeared but the vowel change remained.

English man - men
German Mann - Männer
Old Norse mann- menn

English foot - feet
German Fuß - Füße
Old Norse fōtr - fœtr

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Re: The most ridiculous question of all. (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby ahammel » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:28 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Dibley wrote:I'm somewhat prone to using -ii, but that's because something like half of all botanical names end with -ii, like, say, Dodecatheon hendersonii, or Pseudotsuga menziesii, or Viola douglasii.

Interesting.

This must mean something like Dodecatheon of the hendersons, Pseudotsuga of the menziesuses, Viola of the douglases ... whatever that is supposed to mean.
In botanical nomenclature (at least the way I learned it), a specific epithet ends in -ii if it's named after one person, or -orum if it's named after a group of people. There are many other suffix rules, none of which I can remember at the moment.

I'm not sure what the relationship of these rules is to the grammar of classical languages, but I suspect that it is rather tenuous, as zoological nomenclature has different rules. Animals named after a single person end in -i, for instance; as in Equus grevyi (Grévy's zebra).
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Re: The most ridiculous question of all. (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Derek » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:53 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Monika wrote:
Dibley wrote:I'm somewhat prone to using -ii, but that's because something like half of all botanical names end with -ii, like, say, Dodecatheon hendersonii, or Pseudotsuga menziesii, or Viola douglasii.

Interesting.

This must mean something like Dodecatheon of the hendersons, Pseudotsuga of the menziesuses, Viola of the douglases ... whatever that is supposed to mean.
In botanical nomenclature (at least the way I learned it), a specific epithet ends in -ii if it's named after one person, or -orum if it's named after a group of people. There are many other suffix rules, none of which I can remember at the moment.

I'm not sure what the relationship of these rules is to the grammar of classical languages, but I suspect that it is rather tenuous, as zoological nomenclature has different rules. Animals named after a single person end in -i, for instance; as in Equus grevyi (Grévy's zebra).

All of the above come from the Latin 2nd declension genitive. There are two main types of 2nd declension nouns: Regular, which end in -us or -um in the nominative singular, and i-stem, which end in -ius or -ium in the nominative singular. The regular nouns have genitive singular -i and genitive plural -orum, while the i-stem nouns have genitive singular -ii and genitive plural -iorum. Which form is used should depend on the Latinization of the name of the person/group, not whether it's botanical or zoological (also, if it's a woman it should probably use the 1st declension, with -ae and -arum)

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Re: The most ridiculous question of all. (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby ahammel » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:36 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Which form is used should depend on the Latinization of the name of the person/group, not whether it's botanical or zoological.
It's not that anybody thinks that animals and plants have different grammatical rules, it's that the ICBN and ICZN* each make their own rules without consulting one another or (I suspect) classical scholars.

I don't think either is likely to tighten up the rules to bring them in line with Latin grammar. In fact, I believe both conferences have now done away with the requirement for a Latin diagnosis when describing a new species.

Interestingly: Carl Linnæus (the inventor of the binomial nomenclature system) may have spoken Latin as his first language.

* The International Conferences on Botanical and Zoological Nomenclature, respectively.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:27 am UTC

goofy wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:I like plurals that involve a vowel change, especially when it's a characteristic vowel of the word's stem (eg man / men), rather than a mere vowel change in a suffix. Tolkien used stem vowel change plurals in his elvish languages, but which natural languages use this mechanism as their primary way to pluralise?


Germanic languages use ablaut, which is a remnant of an earlier stage where a suffix was added which changed the vowel. So in Proto-Germanic the nominative plural of "man" had a suffix with a high vowel, and this high vowel caused the main vowel to change by assimilation. Then the suffix disappeared but the vowel change remained.

English man - men
German Mann - Männer
Old Norse mann- menn

English foot - feet
German Fuß - Füße
Old Norse fōtr - fœtr


Ok. That makes sense. Thanks, Goofy.

So does anybody know of any languages that use main vowel change for pluralisation that isn't an effect of suffix assimilation?

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:35 am UTC

I don't know about pluralisation, but I believe that vowel change is one of the primary processes for conveying various bits of grammatical information in semitic languages (which is one reason why abjads are such a good type of script to use for them).
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby Monika » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:16 pm UTC

In Arabic (a semitic language) a lower number of nouns have a regular or "healthy" plural, which is formed with a suffix (-na for masculine words ... I think -(a)tu for feminine words, but I may be wrong) and a higher number of nouns have an "inner" or "broken" plural, which is formed by vowel changes inside the stem (and a few have both plurals). But I don't know whether or not these originally come from a suffix that influenced the vowel in the stem.
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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby PM 2Ring » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:57 am UTC

Thanks, eSOANEM and Monika.

I vaguely remembered that Semitic languages are big on stem vowel changes, though I couldn't remember the details. A quick Google showed me that Hebrew doesn't generally use this for forming plurals; I know next to nothing about Arabic languages.

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby steewi » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:54 pm UTC

Arabic and Hebrew are definitely the champions of broken plurals, but Welsh (and the other Brythonic languages) are also pretty nasty when it comes to seemingly irregular plurals.

One of the most common plural markers is -au/-iau (typically pronounced [aj]/[jaj]), but many words are just plain irregular. Some are vowel changes; some are suppletive; some are vowel change and a suffix. The coolest ones are the ones where they're typically plural, so the unmarked version is plural, and you put an affix on it to make it singular.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colloquial_Welsh_morphology#Nouns

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Re: Irregular/foreign plurals (Forums vs. Fora)

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:31 am UTC

steewi wrote:The coolest ones are the ones where they're typically plural, so the unmarked version is plural, and you put an affix on it to make it singular.


That is cool! Thanks, steewi.


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