0928: "Mimic Octopus"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Griffin
Posts: 1363
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:46 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Griffin » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:21 pm UTC

I think all the pluralizations are fine so long as the intended audience perfectly understands your meaning. English is just a communication tool, nothing more, and correctness is solely a matter of how well information is communicated (and since there's often far more information being communicated then one might be able to tell at a glance, having these three competing pluralizations as actually a net gain for the language! Just like creative subsets like Rhyming Slang may be 'technically' wrong in every conceivable way, but it doesn't stop them from being perfectly acceptable to use (in the right situations!).

I use all three, and others, depending on what exactly I'm trying to communicate, and to whom. ^_^
Bdthemag: "I don't always GM, but when I do I prefer to put my player's in situations that include pain and torture. Stay creative my friends."

Bayobeasts - the Pokemon: Orthoclase project.

Spectrum
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:10 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Spectrum » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

Shouldn't the link from the main page to here be labeled "Fora"?

User avatar
mojacardave
Posts: 346
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:01 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:29 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
Mr. Burke wrote:
Shiyiya wrote:Could someone pause in arguing about correct pluralization and tell me what's supposed to be funny about this strip?

I believe it's based on this handy UFO identifaction chart.


So Randall took a funny chart and made an unfunny version of it, and that's the joke?


How I long for the day when I come onto the XKCD forum thread for a comic, and there isn't a post from one of the XKCD lingerers saying how much it sucks. Why are you still here?

(though admittedly the original is funnier than the remix)
Last edited by mojacardave on Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:33 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mojacardave
Posts: 346
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:01 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:32 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:Dictionaries are generally written by Descriptivists who think that language is whatever people are using, no matter how wrong it is. If enough people used octopepe as the plural some dumbass dictionary writer would slavishly record it.


Which is the same reason that 'could care less' is now given as a valid alternative to 'couldn't care less' on a number of grammar sites, and is cited as an example of contradictory terms which mean the same thing. But let's not turn another thread into that argument...

gwynhefar
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:33 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby gwynhefar » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:42 pm UTC

jonadab wrote:Octopodes is clearly incorrect in English, because if the plural were octopodes the singular would be octopous. All masculine delta-stem and tau-stem Greek nouns end up with -ous in the nominative singular, because the dental always drops out when sigma (the nominative singular masculine ending) is appended to it, and the omicron lengthens to compensate for its loss, resulting in omicron upsilon. You can see the same thing in pous (foot - the root is *pod) and many other words.

English only uses the plural form from the language of origin when the singular form is also visibly retained from the language of origin. The attested English singular, octopus, is rather obviously a complete mismatch for octopodes. Therefore, octopodes is invalid in English.

If the word "octopus" comes to English via Latin, then "octopi" is valid. Because the -us ending is clearly visible in the English word, the -i plural would therefore also be valid. The fact that the root originated in Greek is unimportant -- it's the language that we got it from directly, which is still visible in the singular form, that matters. If there's any foreign language of origin visible in the singular form here, it's Latin.

Note too that "octopi" would still be valid even if it were never attested in Latin, if the singular form ends in -us in English because of the Latin pattern. If the English singular form uses the Latin ending *because it's the singular ending in Latin*, then the Latin plural is valid in English as well. It's the presence or absence of the singular element, its visibility in the English singular form, and (rather importantly) the fact that *that's why the singular form is spelled that way in English* that governs the validity of directly importing the plural form as well -- to match, as it were.

However, there are plenty of words ending in "us" wherein the "us" is not in fact a Latin ending, e.g., "bus". If the singular form in English does not retain any visible singularizing element from another language, then the standard regular English declension (add -s or -es) is used (unless the word fits into the null plural declension like "deer" or "sheep"). It is arguable that "octopus" falls into this category, because no Latin origin has been documented for it. \

Bottom line: if the -us in "octopus" is a corruption of the Greek ending -ous, then the only correct plural is "octopuses". If the -us in "octopus" is patterned after the Latin singular ending, then the Latin plural ending is valid in English. The form "octopuses" might still be valid as well, of course, but educated people tend to prefer foreign-form plurals when they are available. If we could only prove whether the -us in the singular form "octopus" is or is not due to Latin influence...



"Octopus" was coined (like many other animal names) by Carl Linnaeus. He took the Greek 'Octopous' and reformed it using Latin noun conventions because Latin was the language of science at the time. Therefore, 'octopi' *would* be the correct plural form consistent with the Latinization of the Greek source word.

project2051
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby project2051 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:45 pm UTC

All this arguing, it's almost as bad as that time I was nearly ran over by a herd of mooses.

benmoreassynt
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 4:38 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby benmoreassynt » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:50 pm UTC

Sounds like there should be some referenda on octopuses/octopodes/octopi.

There are many data that would support such an agendum, and really such conundrums deserve to be formalized in indices.

User avatar
El Spark
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:34 pm UTC
Location: Lower nowhere

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby El Spark » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

I'm just glad as hell that I'm not the only one that remembers that scene from Lost Boys. :D

project 2051 wrote:All this arguing, it's almost as bad as that time I was nearly ran over by a herd of mooses.


I believe that would be a monsoose of meese.
Check out my short horror story "No One Rents 203," available in Kindle and Nook formats.

Anonymously Famous
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:01 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Anonymously Famous » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:04 pm UTC

You know, I love language, and not just the English one. I love how it evolves, and how at any given point in time something may be correct, but later (or earlier) it would be unthinkable to say it.

"Octopi" was at one time considered by proscriptive grammarians as correct, so at that time it is correct. Now "octopuses" is being proscribed by grammarians, and so "octopodes" by some, to a lesser extent, so they are now correct. "Octopi" was never correct due to any rule or due to any misunderstanding of a rule, nor is "octopuses" now, nor "octopodes". They are and were correct because the English teachers, "grammar Nazis" and the like said so.

There was a time when what I am typing now would be largely unintelligible, not due to illiteracy but due to the fact that modern English as we know it did not yet exist. Have you looked at the original Beowulf? They say that it's in a form of English, but I can't make heads or tails of it without a lot of help and translation. I would imagine that the reverse would be true.

It's the nature of language to change and, at times, to split. It's wonderful.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

benmoreassynt
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 4:38 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby benmoreassynt » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:06 pm UTC

On the whole I'd hate to see these fora acting for the spread of false plurals like virus. But ultimately, such genera of discussions are pedantic obsession about a minutia, likely to leave us with the stigmata of being from among the worst species of pompous ignoramuses.

philip1201
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby philip1201 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

project2051 wrote:All this arguing, it's almost as bad as that time I was nearly ran over by a herd of mooses.


*møøses

ziggurism
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:13 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby ziggurism » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Esperite wrote:Octopus comes from Greek, making its plural form octopuses or octopodes from those grammar rules. Latin words with the same structure would be pluralized like "octopi."


In the spirit of xkcd 386, I had to correct this erroneous statement. "octopuses" is not a valid plural form by the grammatical rules of Greek. That's an English plural. Only "octopodes" is a valid Greek plural.

User avatar
agelessdrifter
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:10 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby agelessdrifter » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

To all the people posting the m-w video -- did you miss the part where she says "Enter "octopi": the correct plural of octopus"

I mean you guys can continue to argue but your video doesn't support your claim that "of the three, octopi is right out" at all -- in fact she comes down more harshly on octopodes at the end than she does on octopi, but all she really says is that any of the three is correct but none gives you the grounds to condemn the others.

User avatar
tastelikecoke
Posts: 1208
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:58 am UTC
Location: Antipode of Brazil
Contact:

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby tastelikecoke » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

I live in Southeast Asia and we have no mimic octopuses in our street barbecue stall. This is an unfunny comic! I want my fried octopus now!

But hell, we cooked clownfishes, but we didn't eat them because we're scared of food poisoning.

Armitando
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:19 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Armitando » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

This is one of the first times I have got one of Randy's lit references.

Ehsanit
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Ehsanit » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

I assumed that the "two mimic Octopuses" were trying to look like a seal balancing a beach ball among the waves.
Which just goes to show that mimic octopuses can do abstract art as well.

PS Octopi does have its uses.
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/uplo ... CTOPI.jpeg

crystalmeph
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:38 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby crystalmeph » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:04 pm UTC

Vnend wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:So Randall took a funny chart and made an unfunny version of it, and that's the joke?


I will not feed the energy creature.
I will not feed the energy creature.
I will not feed the energy creature.
I will not feed the energy creature.
I will not feed the energy creature.
...



So put him in your ignore list.
Last edited by crystalmeph on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:05 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dan_dassow
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby dan_dassow » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:04 pm UTC

Image

goofy
Posts: 911
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby goofy » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:Octopuses is standard, octopodes is okay if you're trying to be all hellenizing and stuff, but octopi is wrong because it's based on a total confusion of declensional endings.


Etymological fallacy. Why should we look to another language to find out how we should pluralize or not pluralize English words? Octopi is incorrect if we're speaking Latin, but we're not speaking Latin. Octopus is an English word, and English words are pluralized according to how English writers and speakers pluralize them. English writers have been using both octopi and octopuses since the 1800s.
Last edited by goofy on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

donquibeats
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:42 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby donquibeats » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:12 pm UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:For all those asking why there are two mimic octopodes (that's my two cents) in the final picture, it's because, and I'm kind of sad I have to explain this...he's marvelling at the wide array of things they can mimic, and then joking that if you see an actual octopus it can't just be a mimic octopus, it has to be two of them taking on the shape of a single big one.


Maybe I've missed it, but isn't the other part of the joke that if the bottom-right image of two mimic octopusesii (whatever), then how in the image to the left does one mimic octopus manage to look like eleven separate fish?..

User avatar
zombie_monkey
Posts: 644
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:26 pm UTC
Location: Bulgaria

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby zombie_monkey » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:24 pm UTC

Spectrum wrote:Shouldn't the link from the main page to here be labeled "Fora"?

fora.xkcd.com redirects to forums.xkcd.com, I think it was fora.xkcd.com before.

User avatar
KShrike
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:47 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby KShrike » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

I love how the entire forum decided to do nothing but comment on the alt-text.

Talk about obsessive...

Aren't there other words in the dictionary that are pluralized the same way? Cacti, Pegasi, etc.
On 10/10/10, My Little Pony started to appeal to adult males. Ya rly!
Forget the /b/ memes, and go watch the show and see what I mean. After all, the /b/ memes exist because the show itself is so cleverly written. Check it out!

tualha04
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby tualha04 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

If we're being true to the Greek roots, octo=8, pus=singular form of "foot",
then the plural should be octopodes, since podes is the plural form of pus.
But then we'd have to say "okTOEpuhdeez," which just sounds silly, so nobody uses it except language nerds

User avatar
Shiyiya
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:11 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Shiyiya » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

Since apparently we're discussing plurals in general now, I present to you Allan Sherman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umlBrQoG6xk

One hippopotami
cannot get on a bus
because one hippopotami
is two hippopotamus!


(Full lyrics.)
Image

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10495
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:53 pm UTC

I always thought it was Octopusses or Octopodes. "Octopuses" would rhyme with "fuses"; the reason a lot of words get double consonants at the end when plural or past tense is to keep the short vowel sounds. For example, bus becomes busses, gut becomes gutted, fit becomes fitted, rat becomes ratted, and so on.

Then again, it's English, we just make up the rules as we go.

User avatar
rhomboidal
Posts: 797
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:25 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:03 pm UTC

My objection about the naming of octopuses is the inconsistency with calling their appendages "arms." If they're arms, then shouldn't we call them "octomanus"? And very conveniently, the singular and plural forms would be identical!

I'll submit the petition to the ICZN -- International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature -- ASAP.

User avatar
Fixblor
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:20 am UTC
Location: Pencilvania

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Fixblor » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

Add to Dictionary
Last edited by Count Modulus on Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:5l am UTC, edited 13 times in total.
06:23, 18 April 2011 SmackBot (talk | contribs) m (90,899 bytes) (Dated {{Dubious}} x 153. (Build p609)) (undo)

User avatar
SirMustapha
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:No, the joke is that all the sea creatures in Southeast Asia are actually mimic octopi (Shut up, I've always said octopi) making themselves look like those creatures.
I don't see how you can find the weather balloon chart funny, but not the mimic octopus chart.


Well, the weather balloon one is actually making a sarcastic comment on something pertinent (which is that any strange sighting is dismissed as a "weather balloon" by many), while Randall's comic is... well, how can I say this? Completely pointless and devoid of any humourous content whatsoever. I mean, southeast Asia has no fish? Is that the joke?

mojacardave wrote:How I long for the day when I come onto the XKCD forum thread for a comic, and there isn't a post from one of the XKCD lingerers saying how much it sucks. Why are you still here?


Because I want to!

Boingo
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Boingo » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:26 pm UTC

Amused to see this discussion under the header "FORUMS for the webcomic xkcd.com".

Forum = Latin. Plural is fora. Like data, stadia, millennia, addenda, et cetera.

-Boingo

(Yes, I noticed the email address is "fora@xkcd.com"... So someone else already knows.)

User avatar
Ninto55
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:19 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Ninto55 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:28 pm UTC

On the off chance that noone has said this, I might as well. Better safe than sorry.

Ahem...
I say octipussies! Har dee har har!
Ninto55, derping with the you since '42!

User avatar
ryan7113
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:11 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby ryan7113 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

mievaan wrote:I just had to register to post this:

Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor - Octopus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFyY2mK8pxk



According to her, they're all correct, but I prefer Octopodes.
Standard. Because we use it. Goddamn do we have balls.

User avatar
rigwarl
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby rigwarl » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:47 pm UTC

The humor in this comic comes from the images, much like The Snow Track Identification Chart (although this one is not as good :(). However, if you found that one devoid of humor as well then I guess you'll just have to wait for Monday's update =P

I'm quite interested in what the Lost Boys "climax" is now. Someone spoil it please!

User avatar
TaylorP
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:08 am UTC
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby TaylorP » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:01 pm UTC

rigwarl wrote:I'm quite interested in what the Lost Boys "climax" is now. Someone spoil it please!


Seconded!

distractedSofty
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

rigwarl wrote:I'm quite interested in what the Lost Boys "climax" is now. Someone spoil it please!

I've not read the book, but I did go to Amazon and use search inside the book for "octopi", and it seems to appear on page 201, in an argument between the protagonist and his son's teacher* about an assignment. Although she had awarded him a C, the only fault she found with the assignment was his use of the word octopuses. The greater significance of the C was not apparent to me from this small exchange, so maybe someone who actually read the book might like to explain.

On the other hand, the scene doesn't really seem to "hinge on it being an incorrect pluralization", it really seems to hinge on octopuses being correct.

Spoiler:
* Wikipedia's synopsis tells me that the book's twist is that the son is dead.

User avatar
arbivark
Posts: 531
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 5:29 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby arbivark » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:46 pm UTC

Image

don't know if a gif will display here

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/mimic+octo ... 1481815843

if i could find an 8sided skilllet, i could make octopie.

edit: octopi is a correct variant. it began as a joking backformation, and gradually gained wider use. might be considered slang.
Last edited by arbivark on Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:08 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
SirMustapha
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Spoilered to avoid trouble.

Spoiler:
Wikipedia pointed me to an article written by Card himself in which he argues that The Sixth Sense is a rip-off of Lost Boys, but "enough had been changed that there was no point in suing". What the hell, man? Card thinks he invented the "seeing ghosts" thing?... Hm, now I think I understand why Randall likes this guy so much.

Adelie
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:00 am UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Adelie » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:59 pm UTC

distractedSofty wrote:
rigwarl wrote:I'm quite interested in what the Lost Boys "climax" is now. Someone spoil it please!

I've not read the book, but I did go to Amazon and use search inside the book for "octopi", and it seems to appear on page 201, in an argument between the protagonist and his son's teacher* about an assignment. Although she had awarded him a C, the only fault she found with the assignment was his use of the word octopuses. The greater significance of the C was not apparent to me from this small exchange, so maybe someone who actually read the book might like to explain.

On the other hand, the scene doesn't really seem to "hinge on it being an incorrect pluralization", it really seems to hinge on octopuses being correct.

Spoiler:
* Wikipedia's synopsis tells me that the book's twist is that the son is dead.


The greater context of the exchange is that Stevie, the son, had become very sullen and would not communicate with his parents. He finally told his parents that his teacher encouraged other students to bully him and even bullied him herself (not physically but verbally and through unfair treatment), so the father confronted the teacher about Stevie's undersea diorama project and paper. The only "mistake" was pluralizing octopus as octopuses, about which the father corrected the teacher.

This was not actually the climax of the book, but the climax of a particular subplot of the book. And yet it was more compelling than the actual climax of the book. It was probably the most compelling part of the book, which I found to be extremely inane.

Spoiler:
The son was not actually dead at this point in the book, but had a posse of imaginary friends who were in fact already missing and dead children

cream wobbly
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:07 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby cream wobbly » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

Esperite wrote:I'm pretty sure octupuses is correct (because of the origin), even though I think octopi sounds more correct.
Edit: clarifying what I mean. Octopus comes from Greek, making its plural form octopuses or octopodes from those grammar rules. Latin words with the same structure would be pluralized like "octopi."
(I knew this before wikipedia, but got the specifics from the edit from there. woo, go wikipedia!


No, it's octopus. If a noun comes from Greek into Latin, it's a 5th declension neuter, so the plural is identical to the singular. Octopuses is an ugly Anglicization. Octopodes is an ugly neo-Latinification.

Edit: I don't care if Oxford says "Pl. octopodes, anglicized octopuses"; if you care about what it should be, and what is correct, then you care about Wednesday comic. So yeah, you can say those things, I'll only say octopi is wrong, but the "most right" is octopus.
Last edited by cream wobbly on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

cream wobbly
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:07 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby cream wobbly » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

mievaan wrote:I just had to register to post this:

Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor - Octopus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFyY2mK8pxk


Why not try to find a dictionary instead of a dialectal lexicon?

Boingo
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

Re: 0928: Mimic Octopus

Postby Boingo » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:28 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:No, it's octopus. If a noun comes from Greek into Latin, it's a 5th declension neuter, so the plural is identical to the singular. Octopuses is an ugly Anglicization. Octopodes is an ugly neo-Latinification.

Edit: I don't care if Oxford says "Pl. octopodes, anglicized octopuses"; if you care about what it should be, and what is correct, then you care about Wednesday comic. So yeah, you can say those things, I'll only say octopi is wrong, but the "most right" is octopus.


Sorry, not so. Greek can come in any declension. 1st decl: poeta, -ae; nauta, -ae. 2nd decl: - servus, -i; deus, -i; equus, -i.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_declension

(And the -us would be 4th, not 5th...)

Edit: And just because it came into Latin, doesn't mean that we are building it out of the Latinized parts instead of the older Greek units...

Edit: Edit: Pliny the Elder declines the Latin version of the octopus, "polypus" in the second declension. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Pliny_the_Elder/9*.html and search for "polyp". The Plautus and Ovid usages I found have it in accusative singular, which would be the same 2nd and 4th declensions.

Okay. I'm stopping.
Last edited by Boingo on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:55 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: rmsgrey and 34 guests