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CHAT: Worse Greek 102 (was: Bad Latin 101)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Thursday, February 1, 2001, 14:23
Danny Wier wrote:

> *okay, bad Latin grammar. It's a "double plural" of the neuter-gender noun > _criterium_. That's when you form the plural of a neuter noun (-um > -a), > then treat the plural noun like a feminine singular in -a and make *that* a > plural (-a > -ae). So it's the plural of a plural -- in this case, a plural > number of groups of criteria, each group being related to a diagnosis of > --END--
All very true. However, the *English* word is "criterion", from the Greek (the Latin is also from the Greek, to be sure). Plural, of course, "criteria". The plural of "group of criteria" is "groups of criteria". "Agenda" is also a Latin neuter plural ("things to be done") though always treated as singular in English, with a native plural "agendas". So far we have been spared "agendae"; also "ignorami" (ack!), "quora" (ouch!) and "hoodla" (double ouch!). "Viri" (or doubly illiterate "virii"), "rhinoceri", and "hippopotami" are probably now impossible to get rid of. -- There is / one art || John Cowan <jcowan@...> no more / no less || to do / all things || with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein