LINGUIST List 15.1271

Tue Apr 20 2004

Qs: Child L2/Chinese; Latin Plurals in English

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  1. Andrew Buko, Child Language Acquisition of Chinese
  2. Ninja Looter, Virus : Plural

Message 1: Child Language Acquisition of Chinese

Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:13:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Andrew Buko <>
Subject: Child Language Acquisition of Chinese

I was recently reading about the linguistic universals of the stages
children go through when acquiring their first language. I noticed
that many of the universals mentioned are actually acceptable adult
speech grammar patterns in Mandarin. I suppose my question is do
children learning Mandarin have a greater fluency when compared to
children of the same age learning a different language -or- is there a
different set of ''common errors'' children make when learning
Mandarin? I have read that it takes about the same time for children
to learn their native language no matter what it is, it's just that
some languages come slightly quicker, like I have heard Turkish is one
- could Mandarin be a similar case? Thanks!

Subject-Language: ; Code: CHN 
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Message 2: Virus : Plural

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 09:29:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ninja Looter <>
Subject: Virus : Plural

I'm making a Linguistlist query about the plural of the word ''Virus.'' This is a two-fold question.

Do you feel that the word ''Virus,'' in English, is a fully English word, or does it retain some of its Latinate heritage. There are many variants of the plural of ''Virus.''
Viruses (Fully English word)
Virii (Ill formed from Virius, Masculine, second declension Latin)
Viri (Ill formed? from Virus, *Masculine, second declension Latin)
Vira (From Virus, Neuter, second declension Latin)

I've seen treatment of Virus as a 4th declension Noun, rather than
second, also. What are the views of our Latin scholars here?

With regard to the alternation (Virus ~ Viruses) as a completely
Modern English word, it seems odd to me that those who make this
Modern English alternation also make the plurals of (Corpus, Genus,
and others) as (Corpora, Genera, and others). While a line must be
drawn somewhere between faithfully representing the lineage of a word,
and simple practical reasons, it seems odd to me that medical scholars
(and to a lesser extent computer experts) would not make a similar
treatment of the word ''Virus,'' respecting its Latinate roots like
they respect other words.

Faithfully Yours,

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