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#191532 - 06/13/10 04:04 PM Re: Words that appear plural (or singular) but aren't [Re: Chuckledore]  
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R'lyeh
in archival tomes like the OED

It appears in three of the best unabridged dictionaries of English because it was borrowed from Russian and has been used occasionally in English for the past 80 years or so. That's how the language works.

assuming I do not first get ejected from this company for myself being too much of a ringer

Welcome (as Faldo suggested) and do stick around. I haven't been here as long as some (check out the stats over to the right-side of the page), but I have never known anybody to have been ejected from the premises. Some have died and others have wandered off, but that's life.

Now on to your argument. You stated that you could not find starets in an English dictionary. I provided you with the names of some English dictionaries that it could be found in. You are entitled to your opinion about the bogus wordhood of starets in English. Oh, and, if you do stick around (as I hope you will), you'll learn that Mr Garg, who writes the AWAD list, does not read these forums.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
#191537 - 06/13/10 04:33 PM Re: Words that appear plural (or singular) but aren't [Re: zmjezhd]  
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Echoing Nuncle Z and adding that while OED may be an archival tome, AHD4 is a standard desktop reference as is MWOD4, albeit of a different sort of desktop.

#191540 - 06/13/10 05:06 PM Re: Words that appear plural (or singular) but aren't [Re: Faldage]  
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this too shall pass
Quote:
interpreters are supposed to be essentially invisible; we may never ever attract attention to ourselves: we must remain demure and shy, inconspicuously filtering out RINGERS while rushing to finish the paragraph . . . and avoid getting glared at.


not always; for instance, Umberto Eco expects his translators to use obscure, abstruse, and recondite verbosity in rendering his novels. (I'd think that working from Italian to English would somewhat ease the task.)

#191547 - 06/13/10 07:49 PM Re: the conjugator's uxor [Re: beck123]  
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R'lyeh
We agreed among ourselves centuries ago to communicate in a language not burdened with fourth declensions and such, so why are we occasionally fixated with these in Modern English?

One of the funny things about language is that though it is rules-based and conventional, those rules and conventions are not something consciously agreed to by its speakers. We tend to view our language's grammar as something natural and inherent, while other languages are burdened with outré and louche grammatical gimmicks. I have often wonder, in my spare moments, why the Slavic languages (save for Bulgarian) did not get rid of their cases, while all the Romance languages did. Also, English got rid of its case system, but German did not.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
#191550 - 06/13/10 09:54 PM Re: the conjugator's uxor [Re: zmjezhd]  
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One excuse I've heard for our losing the case endings in English was that the interaction of Old English with Old Norse in the days of the Danelaw saw the meeting of similar roots with significantly different case endings. The easiest thing for speakers of Old English and speakers of Old Norse to do was to drop the case endings and substitute something else, in this case word order.

I don't know how well this theory holds up in the face of the same thing happening in most of the major Romance languages.

#191555 - 06/14/10 11:38 AM Re: Words that appear plural (or singular) but aren't [Re: pianoman]  
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The subject of "collective plurals" (see Jeff Sconyers comment in AWADmail Issue 415) has more complexities than he covers.
His first example: "England IS going to lose to the US" would be interpreted in the UK as "The England team ...." and thus IS would be considered correct.
His second example: "England ARE hopeless w*****s on the soccer pitch" would be interpreted as "The England players ....", thus making ARE the correct verb formation. Indeed, saying "England IS a hopeless w***** on the soccer pitch" would be viewed as nonsensical.
As you can see, the two examples are not identical and thus each needs to be considered in its own right.

Now look at: "The committee IS/ARE agreed to implement the decision next week". Committee is singular, even though it comprises a number of people, thus IS would be correct. However, some Brits would use ARE; I don't know what Americans would use.

Or a company called ABC Services: "ABC Services IS/ARE coming out to fix the boiler tomorrow". Again the company is singular, though now most Brits would say ARE.

Sloppy usage of English or plain ignorance ... I wouldn't presume to judge.

#191556 - 06/14/10 01:58 PM Re: Words that appear plural (or singular) but aren't [Re: GeoffB]  
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Originally Posted By: GeoffB
Sloppy usage of English or plain ignorance ... I wouldn't presume to judge.


Are those our only choices?

What about synesis?

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