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
>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_.
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.)
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