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CHAT: Dwarfs/dwarves (was Re: The pitfall of Chinese/Mandarin)

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 11, 2001, 22:23
On Sat, 8 Dec 2001 22:04:11 +1100, Tristan Alexander McLeay
<anstouh@...> wrote:

>The plural of `dwarf' is correctly `dwarfs', Tolkien was weird in Lotr. >And I've got nothing wrong with dwarfs, but I'm not to fond of the gentry. >I keep my iron around me ;) Yes, very much prejudiced against the lords >and ladies, thanks in part to Terry Pratchett's _Lords and Ladies_. > >Tristan
The plural of "dwarf" _was_ correctly "dwarfs" (still by far the most common form in the phrase "white dwarfs", an astronomical term, and in the title "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"), but Tolkien redefined the standard. Google shows 134,000 matches for "dwarves" as opposed to 251,000 for "dwarfs" (including 19,500 references to "white dwarfs", 11,900 "brown dwarfs", 2,240 "red dwarfs", and 65,900 "seven dwarfs"). "Dwarves" is common enough that it's listed as an alternative to "dwarfs" in the American Heritage dictionary (although not attributed to Tolkien). (Naturally, Tolkien _is_ noted for coining the word "hobbit", but oddly enough, "orc" isn't even in the dictionary! This is odd, since "hobbit" is used almost exclusively to refer to genuine Tolkien hobbits -- imitations are called "halflings" -- but "orc" is commonly used in RPGs.) -- languages of Azir------> ---<>--- hmiller (Herman Miller) "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body, \ "Subject: teamouse" / there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin


Michael Poxon <m.poxon@...>