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#1384 - 06/16/00 05:58 PM Re: Curriculum Vitaes  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
Lucy, I agree wholeheartedly with your stance on Latin singular/plural usage; BUT (there's always a but, isn't there?) data seems to present a singular problem (no pun intended). As was mentioned, data usually aren't counted; in the software world, data almost always come and go in multiples, and we talk about handling single data "elements", so that 'datum' has fallen into desuetude. To further complicate matters, datum seemingly has another (mathematical?) sense of which the plural is datums!


#1385 - 06/19/00 04:51 AM Re: Curriculum Vitaes  
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Bingley Offline
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Jakarta
I agree with Lucy up to a point. The point being where the plural is or is not firmly established in English usage. It's also important to distinguish between technical and non-technical usage. I think I would use "formulae" if I was speaking about chemistry or mathematics (something I fortunately only have to do on very rare occasions) but would use "formulas" in the ordinary loose sense of the word. I refuse to use "octopodes" ("Octopi", as a professor of classics said, "shows an ignorance of three languages."). I say "hippopotamuses" rather than "hippopotami" and "hippos" more often than either. Once a word has been thoroughly anglicised, I see no reason why its inflections should not be anglicised as well. And anyway, why should Latin and Greek be so uniquely priviliged? I don't suppose anyone says "sarong-sarong", using the Indonesian/Malay plural formation rather than "sarongs".

This is not a cry of down with the classics. I studied Greek and Latin at school and thoroughly enjoyed them. I think it would be a great pity if our classical heritage were lost, but there are far more important reasons why that is so than defending the ramparts against "The data shows" or "syllabuses".

Bingley


Bingley
#1386 - 08/22/00 01:24 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
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tsuwm Offline
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tsuwm  Offline
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this too shall pass
it seems that "The Mavens" eventually get around to all of our questions:

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20000821


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