LINGUIST List 2.599

Mon 30 Sep 1991

Disc: Plurals

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Directory

  1. Michael Covington, Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals
  2. , RE: 2.589 Odd Plurals
  3. Jeff Turley, Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals
  4. "Michael Kac", Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals

Message 1: Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 91 01:54:33 EDT
From: Michael Covington <MCOVINGTuga.cc.uga.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals
Re non-Latinists' confusion about "alumnus/a/i/ae":
Cambridge University calls them "graduates." Nobody's confused.
Re odd plurals: Around here we say "mouses" and "VAXen" and have
given "Macintosh" an ablaut plural, "Macinteesh." This probably has
to do with the presence of a couple of virtuoso punsters on the
computer center staff, as well as a certain distrust of all three
of the pieces of hardware just mentioned (we grew up on IBM mainframes
and PCs).
- Michael A. Covington internet mcovingtuga.cc.uga.edu -
- Artificial Intelligence Programs bitnet MCOVINGTUGA -
- Graduate Studies Research Center phone 404 542-0359 -
- The University of Georgia fax 404 542-0349 -
- Athens, Georgia 30602 bix, mci mail MCOVINGTON -
- U.S.A. packet radio N4TMIWB4BSG -
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Message 2: RE: 2.589 Odd Plurals

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1991 14:09:08 +0800 (SST)
From: <A_DENCHFENNEL.CC.UWA.OZ.AU>
Subject: RE: 2.589 Odd Plurals
In case anyone out there is fond of collecting prescriptive
plurals, how about JsP for the plural of JP, that is "Justice of the Peace",
the plural being Justices of the Peace. Believe me, I have argued with
people over this one. Mind you, my intention was to defend my usage
of "brother-in-laws" when describing exotic classificatory kinship systems.
I like VAXen, but don't use it. Is this a cute analogy from both or either
of "oxen" and "vixen"? Depending prehaps on whether you consider the
machine svelte or lumbering?
Alan Dench
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Western Australia
A_DENCHfennel.cc.uwa.oz.au
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Message 3: Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 91 13:46:15 MDT
From: Jeff Turley <HRCJSTBYUVM.bitnet>
Subject: Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals
I am new to "linguist", so forgive me if I am repeating someone. Has it
been noticed that the unmarked plural form is used with figurative
language? Thus "you bunch of clumsy oxes (?oxen)", or "I think you're
a couple of silly gooses (?geese)". This would explain computer mouses.
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Message 4: Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 91 18:03:30 -0500
From: "Michael Kac" <kaccs.umn.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.589 Odd Plurals
When I first moved to Minneapolis, I used the word *Minneapolitan* as a
tongue-in-cheek way of designating inhabitants of this city, nonly to learn
that that's the word in general use here.
For all you Latin fans out there: next time you hear someone complaining
about the use of words like *bacteria* and *media* as singulars in English,
ask what they do with *agenda* and *propoganda*.
Michael Kac
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