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CHAT: Team Names

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 23, 1998, 15:59
Raimundus A. Brown scripsit:

> >(BTW, did anyone ever think "Celtics" is a stupid name for a sports > >team? It should be "Celts" if anything :D ) > > Celtic [sEltIK] without the final -s - the word is an adjective. The > Protestant Glaswegian team has a plural noun: Rangers - the Catholic team > is Glasgow Celtic.
Until very recent years, all professional sports teams in the U.S. had names plural in form, either ordinary nouns or deadjectival nouns. "Athletics" (not *"Athletes"), "Rockies" (presumably short for "Rocky Mountaineers"), and "Supersonics" are the only ones in the latter category that come to mind. Naturally, all these forms take plural agreement. Now we have teams named by ordinary singular nouns such as "Jazz", "Magic", and "Heat", and there is considerable tension in sports writing between singular agreement (grammatically called for, and natural in American writing when applied to collectives: "the government is", "the jury decides", etc.) and plural agreement (very unnatural, but uniform with other team names). -- John Cowan You tollerday donsk? N. You tolkatiff scowegian? Nn. You spigotty anglease? Nnn. You phonio saxo? Nnnn. Clear all so! 'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)