An Ode Of English Plurals

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by hypoc8, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. hypoc8

    hypoc8 Member

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    > English class 101 for today! Enjoy this ode of English Plurals.
    >
    >
    >
    > An ode of English Plurals and Other Unmentionables
    >
    > We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
    > But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
    > One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
    > Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
    > You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
    > Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
    >
    > If the plural of man is always called men,
    > Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
    > If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
    > And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
    > If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
    > Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
    >
    > Then one may be that, and three would be those,
    > Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
    > And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
    > We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
    > But though we say mother, we never say methren.
    > Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
    > But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
    >
    > Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
    > There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
    > neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
    > English muffins weren't invented in England .
    > We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
    > we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
    > and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
    >
    > And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
    > grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
    > Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
    > If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
    > get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
    >
    > If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
    > If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
    > Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
    > should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
    >
    > In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a
    > recital?
    > We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
    > We have noses that run and feet that smell.
    > We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
    > And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
    > while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
    >
    > You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
    > in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
    > in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
    > in which an alarm goes off by going on.
     
  2. BigDallasDick8x6

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    Love it!! Thanks.
     
  3. Calboner

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    There's just one bit that bothers me:
    The rhetorical question can be answered. This case is not an oddity of English morphology but only an accident of notation. When a noun is derived from a verb ending in "-ng" by the addition of "-er," such as "singer," "ringer," "hanger," etc., the letters "ng" together, in the noun as in the verb, represent a single consonant. By contrast, the "g" in "finger" is pronounced as a separate consonant because it does not derive from any such word as "fing." Likewise "linger," "anger," "Unger" (the surname), etc.
     
  4. Catchoftheday

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    Eggplant isn't English :tongue:
     
  5. Calboner

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    Well, "aubergine" don't sound like no English word to me, neither!
     
  6. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    PMSL so true
     
  7. vince

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    Do the English eat aubergine? I'm sure they have no clue about cooking it.
     
  8. pleasureboy

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    Actually in North America it's almost always eggplant and in the UK/Ireland it's almost always aubergine.
     
  9. pleasureboy

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    A lot of it comes from where / how the modern word got its start. Finger for instance is derived from the same word in Germanic (the family name given to that common tongue that all modern Germanic languages derived), so it was never an -er being added word.

    Ring on the other hand was one that developed fairly independently but around the same time in both English and German and was originally onomatopoeia (a word representing a sound). In German it's klingel (which if you repeat it sounds about like a phone ringing). In Old English it was originally hring. The h before r signified that that was the type of 'r' sound that normally appears after a vowel (like the 'r' in 'butter' versus the 'r' in 'rich'. Depending on dialect it would have been either an 'errr' sound or a 'trilled r'.) If you repeat rrring rrring rrring it sounds pretty much identical to our old fashioned telephones.

    Basically just trying to show that these sort of oddities can be very interesting and have a lot more to them than first meets the eye (and by the way ring would have been one of those where an -er added meant a person or thing that rings).

    (yeah too much, I know, but I'm a linguist who specialized in English)
     
  10. Mastur

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    Yes... for some reason it sounds more like you have specialised in 'American'...

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. ;-)
     
  11. pleasureboy

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    LOL what do you mean?
     
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