Re: Foreign Plurals (was Re: Phoneme winnowing continues)
|From:||Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, June 4, 2003, 21:14|
On Wed, Jun 04, 2003 at 04:20:35PM -0400, Jake X wrote:
> Except that the Latin and Greek plurals are often confused, because Latin
> ones are much better known. For example, octopus -> octopi, even though
> the word is based on Greek roots and Greek would have something like
> octopodes IIRC (correct me if I'm wrong).
Except according to Webster, we didn't borrow "octopus" directly from the
Greek, but rather through a Latin intermediary. It seems Greek "oktopous"
(listed as "oktOpous", so apparently the outer 'o's are different from
the inner one, but I don't know which case is used for omicron and which
for omega) had already become Latin "octopus" by the time English got hold
of it. So "octopi" is a perfectly legal plural form.
"Stewardi" is somewhat less defensible. :)