Plural of "Octopus"

Please compose all posts in Emacs.

Moderators: phlip, Moderators General, Prelates

What are the proper plurals of "octopus"?

Octopuses
50
25%
Octopi
41
20%
Octopodes
68
33%
Octopes
3
1%
Octopoxen
18
9%
Otters
24
12%
 
Total votes: 204

User avatar
ThirdParty
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:53 pm UTC
Location: USA

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby ThirdParty » Tue May 26, 2015 1:12 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:
ThirdParty wrote:"Octopuses" is a technical term referring to members of genus Octopus. Contrast with "octopodids", "octopodoids", "octopods", and "octopodiforms", which refer to members of broader taxonomic categories.
Could you back that up? As far as I can tell, "octopus" refers to members of the order Octopoda, not the genus Octopus in particular. (Wikipedia says "An octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda"; "Octopus is the largest genus of octopuses, comprising more than 100 species.") Would you also argue that the African elephant is not an elephant because it's not a member of the genus Elephas?
If you read down about two paragraphs from your quote, you find "The term 'octopus' may also be used to refer specifically to the genus Octopus."

Obviously current usage is inconsistent, but I think the option I've spelled out is the best choice for moving forward.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Tue May 26, 2015 2:48 pm UTC

No it's not. The option that you've proposed hinges on bad etymology – not just the use of it, but the enforcement of it – and distinguishes between two different senses only in the plural, while leaving the singular forms the same. You're saying, "When we use 'octopus' in such a way that its plural is 'octopi' we will take it to refer to the order, and when we use 'octopus' in such a way that its plural is 'octopuses' we will take it to refer to the genus," which is at best precious and at worst downright silly, and regular people would never be able to keep it straight.

A far better choice, if you're dissatisfied with the status quo, would be to use "octopus(es)" for the genus Octopus and to use "octopod(s)" for the order Octopoda.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Jplus
Posts: 1692
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:29 pm UTC
Location: Netherlands

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Jplus » Wed May 27, 2015 6:17 am UTC

phlip wrote:
ThirdParty wrote:I don't like "octopodes", because it sounds too similar to "octopods".

Only if you pronounce it wrong (as I did for years, before I was shown this video)... as discussed upthread, it's a Greek word, the E isn't silent.

The woman in that video clip pronounces it wrong, too. If you're going the Greek way at all (as I would), you obviously have to pronounce it OCtoPOdays (first stress is primary).
"There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache coherence, naming things, and off-by-one errors." (Phil Karlton and Leon Bambrick)

coding and xkcd combined

(Julian/Julian's)

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Wed May 27, 2015 11:52 am UTC

No, she pronounces it just fine. There are conventions for adapting Greek words into English, and /ɒkˈtɒpəˌdiːz/ is what they yield. Look up the well-established word "antipodes" in any dictionary and you'll see that the pronunciation is /ænˈtɪpəˌdiːz/.

And even if you want to imitate Ancient Greek, you'll see that it's "ὀκτώποδες" – with the pitch accent falling on the second syllable, not the first or third.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Jplus
Posts: 1692
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:29 pm UTC
Location: Netherlands

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Jplus » Wed May 27, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

Alright, I stand corrected. Although her pronounciation of the syllables is still nowhere near Ancient Greek.
"There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache coherence, naming things, and off-by-one errors." (Phil Karlton and Leon Bambrick)

coding and xkcd combined

(Julian/Julian's)

User avatar
SPACKlick
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:25 am UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby SPACKlick » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:46 pm UTC

I can understand the instinct of the layman to lean towards octopi for what sounds like a scientific plural. It's not right but I see how hit can happen and will kindly guide them to the light. And I can understand those in the right who pluralise by adding an s (with concomitant e for a word that ends in s) to octopuses being concerned they may be wrong because the word sounds funny.

But I demand blood sacrifice from those fools who can say, with a straight face. That octopodes could ever be a plural of anything other than octopode (or possibly octopod when pronounced octo-po-deez or octo-po-dez).

In vernacular english an octopod can only be something with 8 feet. My old laptop was an octopod. The Octopus is the animal, describing all members of the order octopoda, which some scientist has helpfully called a subclade octopus without thought for the poor linguists of the future.

Those in the minority faction of Octopodes (whether pronounced correctly or nay) exist only as the smug people who feel that when there is a mistake to be made (octopi) one should not only correct but add a history lesson as to why historically there was an even more correcter plural than the one the dolt before them failed to reach.

Octopuses don't care what we call them, but if I could teach every octopus at an aquarium to slap anyone who smarmily corrected "Technically it's octopodes if you want to be accurate" the world would be a better place.

User avatar
quintopia
Posts: 2906
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:53 am UTC
Location: atlanta, ga

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby quintopia » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:26 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:Those in the minority faction of Octopodes (whether pronounced correctly or nay) exist only as the smug people who feel that when there is a mistake to be made (octopi) one should not only correct but add a history lesson as to why historically there was an even more correcter plural than the one the dolt before them failed to reach.


I disagree. I think octopodes is technically correct, but I have no problem with anyone using any other usage, and would never think to correct anyone about any choice of plural. "octopi" doesn't even bother me. As a counterexample to your claim, I must insist that you are incorrect.

User avatar
SPACKlick
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:25 am UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby SPACKlick » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:42 am UTC

You are the first counterexample to my thesis I have encountered and so the thesis falls. So I have a question, HOW ONE EARTH does "Octopus" pluralise to "Octopodes"??

Clearly the plural is octopuses. I did a poll round the office back when I did that last post

Octopuses 11
Octopi 1
Hippapotomi 1 (Carole made me swear to include her vote in the data even though she misheard the question so I have, happy Carole?)

When I asked if anyone used Octopodes I got the expected response. "Use octopodes as what? The plural for octopode? I might if I knew what an octopode was. Oh for octopus? Who does that?!"

User avatar
hotaru
Posts: 1021
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby hotaru » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:05 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:When I asked if anyone used Octopodes I got the expected response. "Use octopodes as what? The plural for octopode? I might if I knew what an octopode was. Oh for octopus? Who does that?!"

it looks like you mispronounced "octopodes", which makes all your data invalid.

Code: Select all

factorial product enumFromTo 1
isPrime n 
factorial (1) `mod== 1

User avatar
SPACKlick
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:25 am UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby SPACKlick » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:13 pm UTC

hotaru wrote:
SPACKlick wrote:When I asked if anyone used Octopodes I got the expected response. "Use octopodes as what? The plural for octopode? I might if I knew what an octopode was. Oh for octopus? Who does that?!"

it looks like you mispronounced "octopodes", which makes all your data invalid.

I pronounced octopodes as an english word. If you want a the pronunciation oc TOE poe DES or ock TOE poe DEES then we can have a whole different fight about the linguistic wanderings of rare words.

None of this changes the fact that octopuses is the natural and common english plural of octopus and therefore the correct one.

User avatar
hotaru
Posts: 1021
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby hotaru » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:33 pm UTC

SPACKlick wrote:I pronounced octopodes as an english word. If you want a the pronunciation oc TOE poe DES or ock TOE poe DEES then we can have a whole different fight about the linguistic wanderings of rare words.

how do you pronounce "indices"?

Code: Select all

factorial product enumFromTo 1
isPrime n 
factorial (1) `mod== 1

User avatar
Sizik
Posts: 1155
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:48 am UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Sizik » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:45 pm UTC

hotaru wrote:
SPACKlick wrote:I pronounced octopodes as an english word. If you want a the pronunciation oc TOE poe DES or ock TOE poe DEES then we can have a whole different fight about the linguistic wanderings of rare words.

how do you pronounce "indices"?


IN-deks-iz
gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:If space (rather, distance) is an illusion, it'd be possible for one meta-me to experience both body's sensory inputs.
Yes. And if wishes were horses, wishing wells would fill up very quickly with drowned horses.

User avatar
SPACKlick
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:25 am UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby SPACKlick » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:59 pm UTC

in diss ees. Ofcourse, because it's a word commonly used and so it's pronunciation hasn't been corrupted.

User avatar
Jplus
Posts: 1692
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:29 pm UTC
Location: Netherlands

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Jplus » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:09 am UTC

SPACKlick wrote:You are the first counterexample to my thesis I have encountered and so the thesis falls. So I have a question, HOW ONE EARTH does "Octopus" pluralise to "Octopodes"??

Clearly the plural is octopuses. I did a poll round the office back when I did that last post

Octopuses 11
Octopi 1
Hippapotomi 1 (Carole made me swear to include her vote in the data even though she misheard the question so I have, happy Carole?)

When I asked if anyone used Octopodes I got the expected response. "Use octopodes as what? The plural for octopode? I might if I knew what an octopode was. Oh for octopus? Who does that?!"

I'm a second counter-example; I don't care at all whether people say octopuses, octopi or octopodes. In fact I'll be amused if somebody says octopoxen. It's just that when people choose to say octopodes, I'd rather have it sound at least a bit like Greek.

You, on the other hand, seem rather smug about octopuses being the only correct plural!
"There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache coherence, naming things, and off-by-one errors." (Phil Karlton and Leon Bambrick)

coding and xkcd combined

(Julian/Julian's)

User avatar
Thesh
Made to Fuck Dinosaurs
Posts: 5497
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 am UTC
Location: Colorado

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Thesh » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:54 am UTC

If there are two, obviously it is hexadecapus. For more than that, you can just use polypus.
Honesty replaced by greed, they gave us the reason to fight and bleed
They try to torch our faith and hope, spit at our presence and detest our goals

User avatar
Echo244
Posts: 511
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 9:49 am UTC
Location: Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Echo244 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:58 am UTC

Polypus is reserved for when I get this blasted gene-splicer working on an octopus and that Norwegian Blue parrot I bought... ;-P
Unstoppable force of nature. That means she/her/hers.
Has committed an act of treason.

User avatar
quintopia
Posts: 2906
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:53 am UTC
Location: atlanta, ga

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby quintopia » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:42 am UTC

So that's what you get when you cross a parrot and a cat! Should have guessed!

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3215
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:45 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:So that's what you get when you cross a parrot and a cat! Should have guessed!

It depends on the cat, but in many cases I think you get a cat with a full stomach and a really gross mess of feathers and blood when you try to cross a cat with a parrot.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:43 pm UTC

"Avoiding the awkward 'uses' ending" is post hoc rationalization for the silly latin-derived plurals. We pronounce the 'uses' endings on other words in English just fine, like "buses", "calluses", "anuses", "apparatuses", etc. I can grep the whole dictionary for this shit, it's super common. The only places we use the latin plural are when talking about cactuses and octopuses, or when trying to sound like fancy grown-up science people.

(Basing pluralization on what language we stole the word from is, self-evidently, completely ridiculous.)
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
chridd
Has a vermicelli title
Posts: 761
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:07 am UTC
Location: ...Earth, I guess?
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby chridd » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:22 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:"Avoiding the awkward 'uses' ending" is post hoc rationalization for the silly latin-derived plurals. We pronounce the 'uses' endings on other words in English just fine, like "buses", "calluses", "anuses", "apparatuses", etc. I can grep the whole dictionary for this shit, it's super common. The only places we use the latin plural are when talking about cactuses and octopuses, or when trying to sound like fancy grown-up science people.
Just because we use -uses in those words doesn't mean it's not awkward.

(Basing pluralization on what language we stole the word from is, self-evidently, completely ridiculous.)
No it isn't. It may or may not be a good idea, but if it really were self-evidently completely ridiculous, then no one would do it.
~ chri d. d. /tʃɹɪ.di.di/ (Phonotactics, schmphonotactics) · they (for now, at least) · Forum game scores
mittfh wrote:I wish this post was very quotable...
flicky1991 wrote:In both cases the quote is "I'm being quoted too much!"

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:32 pm UTC

If it weren't self-evidently completely ridiculous, we'd have people arguing to use it for lots more words. But we don't - people are more than happy to use the English "s" pluralization for all but a handful of words they've been taught to think of as special. We'd also actually be halfway consistent in the words we *do* argue for, but we're not; see my blog post for an example of how -um/-a nitpicking is not actually Latin in any meaningful way. We're not pluralizing like Latin does, we're stealing and mutating one particular form of Latin pluralization and pretending that it's authentic and true, rather than a fully English form of variant pluralization.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:23 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:If it weren't self-evidently completely ridiculous, we'd have people arguing to use it for lots more words.

You're posing a false dilemma here: "X is not self-evidently ridiculous" does not mean "we must advocate for more use of X". You might as well say that the "-en" of "oxen" is self-evidently ridiculous because no great number of people are advocating for "foxen" and "boxen". "Oxen" is just the way that we pluralize "ox", and people are okay with that. And in the same way, for certain Latin words, people like to use plural forms taken from the Latin nominative. Linguistic borrowing is and always has been messy and inconsistent, just like language as a whole.

But we don't - people are more than happy to use the English "s" pluralization for all but a handful of words they've been taught to think of as special. We'd also actually be halfway consistent in the words we *do* argue for, but we're not; see my blog post for an example of how -um/-a nitpicking is not actually Latin in any meaningful way.

Your problem is that you're thinking of language as a consciously directed project in which any particular usage must be argued for and defended. It's not. People don't say "antennae" because some nefarious Latinizer convinced them to, they say it because that's the way that usage has evolved and there's no pressing reason not to. They have no duty to use all Latin forms just because they use some. What you're doing here is taking what would be a legitimate argument against a handful of Latin purists, and misapplying it to argue for your own kind of English purism which is equally bad.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:20 pm UTC

I'm also being somewhat tongue-in-cheek. ^_^

But nah, a lot of people defending this sort of thing (including some in this very thread) appeal to reasoning that has no reason to not be universal - they're not saying "octopi, because history", but rather actually trying to justify the pluralization, or proposing/defending some variant of the Greek pluralization because the word actually derives from Greek.

Like, if someone asks "Why is the spelling of 'through' so fucked up?", the correct answer is "because history". That history is pretty interesting imo! But if someone tried to defend the spelling on some sort of rational grounds, they'd be wrong. We don't spell it that way on purpose, we spell it that way because there *used* to be a reason (the spelling reflects the pronunciation it used to have, which was consistently transcribed like that in several words), then the reason went away and now we're stuck with a historical artifact.

This sort of "because Latin!" became popular around the turn of the 20th century (if I'm recalling my dates right), where some grammarians decided that English should be more like Latin, the Obviously Superior Language Of Academics. That's where we got several of these plurals, and non-sensical rules like "don't split infinitives" (because in Latin, the infinitive form is just another single-word conjugation, and thus is *impossible* to split, unlike English's two-word form for it).

So that's what I'm arguing - the only two spellings that have actual reasoning behind them are "octopi" (because history/common practice) and "octopuses" (because that's how you pluralize a word like in English). No other reasons apply, and none of the other spellings have real arguments behind them (besides perhaps "I think English spelling should be generally reformed to behave like X, which would dictate that 'octopus' pluralizes to Y", which, ok). So while "self-evidently ridiculous" is a little strong in its mockery, the fact that, self-evidently, we don't apply such pluralization rules to the vast majority of words, and those we do apply it to have no real connection between each other, shows that it is indeed a ridiculous practice to argue for on general grounds.

chridd wrote:Just because we use -uses in those words doesn't mean it's not awkward.

I guess you could argue that all those other words are awkward. I don't agree, and I don't generally hear people trying to argue that we should pluralize them differently (except when joking; "ani" and "peni" are kinda funny), but ok.

chridd wrote:No it isn't. It may or may not be a good idea, but if it really were self-evidently completely ridiculous, then no one would do it.

People do a lot of ridiculous things when they're feeling playful, or when they're not really thinking about it.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:25 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:So while "self-evidently ridiculous" is a little strong in its mockery, the fact that, self-evidently, we don't apply such pluralization rules to the vast majority of words, and those we do apply it to have no real connection between each other, shows that it is indeed a ridiculous practice to argue for on general grounds.

I don't think it's random, though: there seems to be a decided preference for Latinate plurals in a scientific or academic context. You can see this with "antenna": people will generally talk about "antennae" on a bug, but "antennas" on cars. Part of the motivation for these usages may have been slavish Latin purism, but part of it may have just been a desire to make things seem a little fancier – the same reason why, in certain contexts, we may prefer "commence" over "start". I'm certainly not advocating for the expanded use of Latin plurals, but the ones that are in current use don't bug me. Well, except the ones like "octopi" that are rooted in actively bad etymology.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:45 am UTC

Yup, from my first post in the thread:

Xanthir wrote:The only places we use the latin plural are when talking about cactuses and octopuses, or when trying to sound like fancy grown-up science people.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
phlip
Restorer of Worlds
Posts: 7543
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:56 am UTC
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby phlip » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:21 am UTC

Also: words where we only imported the latin plural and now pretend it's singular (I'm looking at you, "criteria", "agenda", "data"...)

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

User avatar
eviloatmeal
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:39 am UTC
Location: Upside down in space!
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby eviloatmeal » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:08 am UTC

Media.
*** FREE SHIPPING ENABLED ***
Image
Riddles are abound tonightImage

User avatar
Jplus
Posts: 1692
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:29 pm UTC
Location: Netherlands

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Jplus » Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:15 pm UTC

phlip wrote:Also: words where we only imported the latin plural and now pretend it's singular (I'm looking at you, "criteria", "agenda", "data"...)

eviloatmeal wrote:Media.

Out of those four words, "agenda" is the only one that I tend to interpret or use as a singular.
"There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache coherence, naming things, and off-by-one errors." (Phil Karlton and Leon Bambrick)

coding and xkcd combined

(Julian/Julian's)

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:09 am UTC

For me:

"Agenda" is singular.
"Data" is singular, though I don't feel 100% comfortable with it.
"Media" is singular when referring to the realm of communication, but I also use it as the plural of "medium".
"Criteria" remains plural, with "criterion" being the singular.
Exit the vampires' castle.

Mega85
Posts: 249
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:48 am UTC

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Mega85 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:27 am UTC

I've heard "media" being singular. I've even sometimes heard "medias" used for the plural of singular "media".

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:35 am UTC

"People" is another one that can do double duty – as the plural of "person" (which itself has the alternate, much less used plural form "persons"), but also as a singular noun referring to an ethnic or national community, with the plural "peoples". What a mess!
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:31 pm UTC

phlip wrote:Also: words where we only imported the latin plural and now pretend it's singular (I'm looking at you, "criteria", "agenda", "data"...)

Yeah, those were originally "let's pretend we're fancy and use our alternate latin-inspired pluralization scheme" and then just became more examples of "English doesn't even gaf what it loots".
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Lazar » Fri Feb 26, 2016 7:41 pm UTC

From what I've read, confusion between the neuter plural and feminine singular may even date to Proto-Indo-European.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Mikemk
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:10 am UTC
Location: Moving furniture'); DROP TABLE OweMyFoot; --

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Mikemk » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:22 pm UTC

For me:
Agenda is singular. Agendas is plural.
Criteria is plural. Criterium and criterion are also plural. Requirement is singular.
Data is plural, or at least slural. Datum is singular.
Media is both, similar to deer.
Octopus is singular. Octopi is plural. Get over it.

Now, I can't stay and take, I've got some bi to catch.
Computer specs:
Spoiler:
Intel i5-750 (OC 3.33 GHz)
8GB (OC 1333 MHz) (2GB HDD cache)
NVIDIA GT 740 (OC 1149 MHz) 4GB (OC 841 MHz)
480GB SSD (120 HDD cache)
2x2TB HDD (not RAID)
Windows 10
Linux Mint in VM

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:06 pm UTC

There's not really anything to "get over", you're free to spell words however you please. Just don't try and defend it as having some logical reasoning behind it beyond "this appears to be a standard way to spell this word in English". ^_^
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

brenok
Needs Directions
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:35 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby brenok » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:36 am UTC

Mikemk wrote:Media is both, similar to deer.

Medium is not that uncommon a word.

Also, most of the time people use "data" as plural, even if accidentally. "I collected data" = "I collected pieces of information", not "I collected piece of information".

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:01 am UTC

But then "Did you get that data?", not "Did you get those data?" - it's a mass noun now.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
Mikemk
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:10 am UTC
Location: Moving furniture'); DROP TABLE OweMyFoot; --

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Mikemk » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:26 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:There's not really anything to "get over", you're free to spell words however you please. Just don't try and defend it as having some logical reasoning behind it beyond "this appears to be a standard way to spell this word in English". ^_^

Seems a pretty good reason to me. After all, the point of language is to communicate, so it makes sense to use language in the way the person you're speaking to will understand.
Computer specs:
Spoiler:
Intel i5-750 (OC 3.33 GHz)
8GB (OC 1333 MHz) (2GB HDD cache)
NVIDIA GT 740 (OC 1149 MHz) 4GB (OC 841 MHz)
480GB SSD (120 HDD cache)
2x2TB HDD (not RAID)
Windows 10
Linux Mint in VM

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5212
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby Xanthir » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:25 pm UTC

...yes, I'm not saying it's not a good reason. What do you think you're disagreeing with me on?

Maybe read earlier in the thread for context?
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
chridd
Has a vermicelli title
Posts: 761
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:07 am UTC
Location: ...Earth, I guess?
Contact:

Re: Plural of "Octopus"

Postby chridd » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:54 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:There's not really anything to "get over", you're free to spell words however you please. Just don't try and defend it as having some logical reasoning behind it beyond "this appears to be a standard way to spell this word in English". ^_^
First, I'm not sure what spelling has to do with it, unless there are people who e.g. write "octopodes" but say /ɑktəpʊsɪz/ (or dialect equivalent).

Second, it's a matter of preference. People can have reasons for preferences. They don't have to be good reasons in some objective sense; they just have to relate to what that particular person happens to care about. And they might not be consistently applied because people can have other preferences (e.g., people might have a strong preference for being understood, and a weaker preference for etymological plural or for avoiding -sɪz endings).
~ chri d. d. /tʃɹɪ.di.di/ (Phonotactics, schmphonotactics) · they (for now, at least) · Forum game scores
mittfh wrote:I wish this post was very quotable...
flicky1991 wrote:In both cases the quote is "I'm being quoted too much!"


Return to “Religious Wars”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests