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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. :) -Mark