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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Query Details


Query Subject:   Virus : Plural
Author:   Ninja Looter
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   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,

NJ


LL Issue: 15.1271
Date posted: 20-Apr-2004



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