LINGUIST List 2.616

Mon 07 Oct 1991

Disc: Plurals and Kreplach

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. John E. Koontz, Plural of Mac
  2. Dennis Baron, odd/even plurals
  3. BROADWELL GEORGE AARON, odd plurals
  4. Michel Eytan LILoL, Re: 2.599 Plurals
  5. "Michael Kac", Re: 2.603 Whorf and Plurals
  6. , Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing
  7. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing
  8. Larry Horn, On Kreplach and UD
  9. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing

Message 1: Plural of Mac

Date: Tue, 01 Oct 1991 08:45:16
From: John E. Koontz <koontzalpha.bldr.nist.gov>
Subject: Plural of Mac
It occurs to me that the in-group plural of Mac ought to be Mace.
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Message 2: odd/even plurals

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 91 9:03:06 CDT
From: Dennis Baron <baronux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: odd/even plurals
What to do with _agenda_ and _propaganda_? I asked this
very question of one hypercorrective committee chair, who
insists for example that _data_ can only be plural, "Can you
have an agenda with only one item?" and got the predictable
reply, "Of course." It seems that the correct construal
of numbers is both complex and variable. When my daughter
went to C.E.S. Henri IV for a year we spent in France she
was marked wrong when she said there were 7 continents and
no amount of arguing with the teacher could change what
was regarded as a universal fact. Of course the English prof
also insisted that "number phone"--a calque of the French
idiom--was correct British English, and that my daughter's
insistence on "phone number" was incorrect, or at best,
American.
So what do _you_ do with _data_?
--
debaronuiuc.edu ____________ 217-333-2392
 |:~~~~~~~~~~:| fax: 217-333-4321
Dennis Baron |: :|
Dept. of English |: db :|
Univ. of Illinois |: :|
608 S. Wright St. |:==========:|
Urbana IL 61801 \\ """""""" \
 \\ """""""" \
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Message 3: odd plurals

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 91 17:54:09 -0400
From: BROADWELL GEORGE AARON <gb661csc.albany.edu>
Subject: odd plurals
For an example of a regular plural used with the metaphoric sense of
a noun that normally takes an irregular plural, recall the lyrics to
'Diamonds are a girl's best friend':
That's when those louses
Go back to their spouses
Diamonds are a girl's best friend!
******************************************************************************
Aaron Broadwell, Dept. of Linguistics, University at Albany -- SUNY,
Albany, NY 12222 gb661leah.albany.edu
"Chi Wen Tzu always thought three times before taking action. Twice
would have been quite enough." -- Confucious
******************************************************************************
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Message 4: Re: 2.599 Plurals

Date: Wed, 2 Oct 91 08:20:46 GMT
From: Michel Eytan LILoL <mesuzuka.u-strasbg.fr>
Subject: Re: 2.599 Plurals
I would like to add a small grain of salt to the debate, but in a very exotic
 language -- viz. French. Some time ago I taught a course in Automata Theory.
 The formal definition implies a set of final states, that I called "un ensemble
 d'e'tats *finals*'. This seemed to confuse quite a bit the students, used to
 form the plural of adjectives in -al as -aux. My only argument was that of
 'euphonia', but I am no more so sure of this sort of reason.
Michel Eytan
De'pt. Info.
Univ. Strasbourg II
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Message 5: Re: 2.603 Whorf and Plurals

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 91 17:58:42 -0500
From: "Michael Kac" <kaccs.umn.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.603 Whorf and Plurals
I have gotten corrections publicly and privately regarding *propoganda*;
my thanks to the correctors. There's a sense, however, in which the general
point remains unaffected: if *propoganda* is an ablative form then one would
not expect to find it used as a subject, for example (I don't believe that
there are any Latin verbs which govern ablative for subject, though maybe
that's too strong a claim). The general point, which is that prescriptive
rules, including ones of the genreal form 'This comes from language X so
you have to use it in the way it's used in that language' are invariably
belied by at least some usages by those who adamantly tout the rules.
Ellen Prince mentions *data*. This is actually an interesting case --
my own usage (which tends to be rather puristic, my linguistic political
correctness notwithstanding) is actually inconsistent. I'll say things like
'The data are on page 3' but also 'There's a lot of data to support that
claim'. But the most interesting phenomenon I've run into is that in
some branches of computer science the plural *datums* has now entered the
lexicon, in a sense that I'm not sure I understand, but about which I have
some suspicions. There are some bona fide computer scientists out there --
comments on this one would be most welcome (to me, at least).
Michael Kac
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Message 6: Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 91 20:46:34 -0700
From: <tshannongarnet.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing
Usually I ignore my urge to reply to linguistic trivia questions
and let the mavens handle them, but on the Yiddish diminutive
plurals I just couldn't resist! Some time ago the question
intried me and I decided to look into it, figuring, as one of
our colleagues mused, that it was either Slavic or Hebrew. Friends
told me it couldn't be Hebrew, and it didn't look that Slavic either,
unfortunately.
Finally, I came up with what appears to be the right answer, although
right now I can't come up with a more authoritative source than what
I give here. The plural ...l-ech seems to be from Germanic! Krahe/
Meid (Germanische Sprachwissenschaft, vol. 3), p. 194, note about the
IE collective suffix *-ahja- that it survives in Gmc. as *-aha: cf.
OGH eihhahi "Eichengehoelz", widahi "Weidicht" rorahi "Roehricht", etc.
They go on to note that in MHG & NHG dialects (East Franconian) -(l)ech
serves as a plural suffix: MHG ermelech (< ermel) "Aermel", knehtelech
"Knechte"; and NHG dial. zaehnlich, oerhlich. I thought I had a more
decisive reference to prove conclusively that this was the source of
the Yiddish dimunitive plural, but that's the best I can do right now.
It certainly looks pretty good, however, faute de mieux!
tom shannon, uc berkeley german department
tshannongarnet.berkeley.edu
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Message 7: Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing

Date: Wed, 02 Oct 91 09:44:45 EDT
From: Geoffrey Russom <EL403015brownvm.brown.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing
Both French and Italian designations can be translated as "hunter's
chicken." What interested me was the fact that Italian-Americans here
(admittedly a casual sample) use an Anglicized French designation for
the Italian dish (cacciatore). A personal message informs me that
poulet chasseur, strictly so-called, is made differently from
chicken cacciatore, strictly so-called. This makes the blending of
terminology even more interesting. "Chicken chaser" seems to be
cacciatore in Providence no matter what your ethnic heritage might
be, but its name is Anglicized via French.
 -- Rick Russom
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Message 8: On Kreplach and UD

Date: Thu, 03 Oct 91 00:32:12 EDT
From: Larry Horn <LHORNYALEVM.BITNET>
Subject: On Kreplach and UD
For those of you especially interested in the multicultural dimensions of the
kreplach/wonton/dumpling/ravioli issue, I recommend the lead article in
today's (actually Wednesday, October 2's) New York Times Living Section, "The
Universal Dumpling", by Molly O'Neill (the only food writer whose brother is a
major league outfielder). O'Neill quotes deli owner Joseph Ben-Moha,
organizer of last week's dumpling derby, as asking rhetorically, "What makes a
wonton not a kreplach, a kreplach not a pirogi, a pirogi not a wonton?" While
kosher caterer Dan Lenchner (whose repertoire includes a wonton stuffed with
Mexican fried beef and chili) speculates that "small, wrapped food is a
universal concept, and while chefs Janny Leung and Tony Yep--who describe them-
selves as dumpling makers--are reported to have "waved aside the semantics",
the constraints on UD (Universal Dumpling, of course) remain to be elucidated.
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Message 9: Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing

Date: Wed, 02 Oct 91 09:44:45 EDT
From: Geoffrey Russom <EL403015brownvm.brown.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.604 Responses: Kreplach and Washing
Both French and Italian designations can be translated as "hunter's
chicken." What interested me was the fact that Italian-Americans here
(admittedly a casual sample) use an Anglicized French designation for
the Italian dish (cacciatore). A personal message informs me that
poulet chasseur, strictly so-called, is made differently from
chicken cacciatore, strictly so-called. This makes the blending of
terminology even more interesting. "Chicken chaser" seems to be
cacciatore in Providence no matter what your ethnic heritage might
be, but its name is Anglicized via French.
 -- Rick Russom
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