Your Pain Is Our Pleasure
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September 3, 2009
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Sorry for triple posting.When I said " repeated a question that I had already asked", I obviously meant to say "that I had already answered". Just to avoid any confusion.
"I would interpret it a little more broadly: the original or historical usage or a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning. Not just the meaning, but how the word is used, including pluralization."
I agree with you 100%, as shown in my previous posts.
"Oh, it’s fine is it? Well, I’m glad it’s fine that you told me to “get the fuck out” over a misunderstanding that you could have prevented by noting the time stamps of the posts.In that case, I think it’s just fine if whatever I say happens to be insulting to you. That’s part of free speech too, after all."
Your post that I had a problem with was made prior to any reply I had made. I had no problem with the fact that you repeated a question that I had already asked. I had a problem with the fact that you set out to simply take the piss at me with your sarcasm and smart-arsed attitude.
I am a fan of free speech, but I am not a fan of taking unprovoked shots at people. I respect that you said it (at least indirectly) to me, but I would like to see you insult me face-to-face. I think you may have second thoughts then.
"Back on topic… exactly how is it changed for the worse? Seems to me that using “forums” as the plural of “forum,” and doing the same for similar words, is the best way to avoid mutilation of English, since that is the most common method of pluralizing in English."
I've (and you have) provided several examples of how modifying English can be useless, or even changing it for the worse. I don't see how the use of 'forums' instead of 'fora' could possibly benefit the English language, other than making it easier for people who are ill-educated or ignorant enough not to know the correct plural of words like 'forum'.
"My second post was in addition to the first. I did not refresh the site in between making the two, so I had no idea you had posted, thus your post between them had no bearing on the second post."
I see, that's fine.
"So, let me get this straight, you think that by complaining about the way language mutates, and has always mutated, you are going to fix it?If your point is that it’s an ineffective method, then I agree. If your point is that, because it’s an ineffective method, we should stop doing it, then I have to ask by what means you intend to enforce this change."
At no point did I (nor do I) expect that my ranting would produce any change whatsoever, I am simply voicing my opinion. I said "If I could, I would... ".
I do believe that it's an ineffective method, and consequently believe that there is no need to continue to alter the already mutilated language that is English. I see no point in changing things for the worse, and, as I eluded to earlier, I am certain that my opinion will not enforce any change whatsoever. I am, however, an atheist and believe strongly in free speech, which is why I hold no regrets in voicing my opinion.
"Oh, yes, and if you insist on using English, then shouldn’t you be using “plurel” from Middle English? No, wait, you should be using the Latin “pl?r?lis.” No, that’s wrong too, you should be using whatever form the word took in the language that Latin mutated from."
First off, I already had a go at someone for posting for the sake of 'taking the piss' at me, this is a discussion board. Post constructively or get the f**k out.
If you'd read my last post, you would understand why what you just said had already been answered.
"“Etymological fallacy” is an important concept, but it has little relevence to the issue of the correct pluralization of imported nouns."
As far as I am aware, the etymological fallacy describes, basically, the necessity for words to hold their original meanings. Having said that, I would also associate this fallacy with words holding their original contextual acceptability. By this I mean that words holding their original meanings, would (within reason) require their original contextual uses to be held as well (the misuse of a word can essentially change the literal meaning of that word. E.g. using a plural word as a singular form.).
"If you CAN’T accept this, then why are you typing in English and not (one of) the original language(s)?"
I cannot control the environment in which I was brought up; this doesn't stop me from believing that the way that languages alter (incorrectly imo) is wrong. If I could, I would ensure that everyone speaks the language correctly and at least attempt to prevent further deterioration of modern linguistics (part of the reason why I am on this discussion board).
"WIND would be blowing outside while you WIND your clock? Be a cruel joke to play, indeed."
I think you'll find that these to homonyms are alterations of different words from previous versions of the English language (or borrowed from other languages). This statement is in fact supporting my argument. It shows how the modification of languages can result in a more difficult or confusing language.
"This is the etymological fallacy. If we must apply the Latin plural system to all words borrowed from Latin, then stamina, erotica, opera, data, trivia, etc. should always and only be plural in English. "
If you are saying that the use of the word "stamina" in English should only be as a plural, then I agree with you.
If you are saying that this 'would be' true but isn't due to historical use, then I go back to one of my previous arguments - that just because people say things one way, doesn't mean that this way is correct. I could say "Plural is correctly spelled 'ploorul'" but this obviously is not the case.
I know that many people believe that the etymological fallacy is erroneous, in that words may be borrowed from other languages and obtain a (somewhat) different meaning to its original meaning. I once again assert that common misuse doesn't account for correctness. The whole idea that the English language is 'advancing' or changing is simply evidence that the current language is incorrect. The idea of a correct language is either what the general majority believes to be correct, or what the original language holds to be acceptable.
I believe that the whole 'majority' concept is erroneous, in the same way that I described before. If the majority of the English-speaking population decided to spell 'plural' as 'ploorul', then this concept would identify the latter to be correct. If you can accept this, then good for you, but I think that it is blatantly obvious that this whole idea fallacious and misleading.
" Really? It was first used as a plural in English, but began to be used as a singular in the 1800s.
“The stamina of the people was tested by a persecution that lasted for thirty years.” – W.B. Thomson, 1895
I’ve only seen it used as a plural nowadays when referring to the stamens of plants. "
Like I said, the word stamina is used in English as something other than its original meaning (or at least somewhat different to), and does not literally refer to, for example, a person's amount of "stamens", but rather a statistic or measurement (like mass) which may be used as both a quantitative statistic (E.g. ability to run 2km at 15km/h) or a qualitative statistic (E.g. "They show great stamina"), neither of which particularly pertain to a singular or plural form, so much as a quantitative/qualitative adjective.
I understand where you are coming from with "The stamina of the people was tested", but I believe that this is a case of what I've just mentioned. The stamina is simply a stat, and the "stamina of the people" may be referred to as a group of stamina(s).
I am forgetting why we are arguing about "stamina". It seems as though we both agree that using stamina as a singular form is incorrect.
"Hot4teacher took Goofy’s bait on this one: “…most of their singular forms are still used in modern English.” What, exactly, is the singular of paraphernalia? Paraphernalium? "
My post may have been misinterpreted in regards to this. When I said "most" I was generally referring to the examples I used. I concede that the singular forms of words like paraphernalia are not commonly used in English (as far as I know, only the plural form was adopted into English - so it may somewhat be the reverse of what we are talking about). This appears, though, to have been bypassed by the common use of "a piece of paraphernalia" instead of "a paraphernalis" (?).
" “I would say that treating those words as singular would be wrong, especially considering that most of their singular forms are still used in modern English.”
So you’d say that usage is irrelevant, that what matters is the words’ etymology? "
I'm not sure what it is that you are getting at with this statement. I assert that there is no reason/need to incorrectly use a plural form of a word as its singular form when the singular form is still used. This may sound contradictory to one of my previous statements (that if everyone uses it, doesn't make it right), but it is in actual fact supporting it. The fact that people still use "datum" or "bacterium" (granted in specific industries) means that the use of "a data" or "a bacteria", although common, is (I believe) wrong. As I said before, these terms are often modified to a correct form of "a piece of ___".
I have studied biology before, and understand that the use of "a type of bacteria" may seem incorrect, but is actually fine. Bacteria almost always occur as colonies, and so you may often be describing a colony of bacteria, rather than a single bacterium, however describing single bacteria is still important and is still used.
As for stamina, I have never personally seen or heard anyone use stamina as a singular form. As far as I am aware, the singular form, stamen, refers to something other than a singular form of stamina as used to describe endurance or strength (the word may have some etymological connotation to an ability to endure, I am not sure). I've only really heard it used in the context "someone's stamina", which tends to push me towards believing that a stamen may be something that allows for endurance/strength. Someone may care to enlighten me.
"Agenda, erotica, opera, data, media, bacteria, candelabra, paraphernalia, trivia, graffiti are all borrowed from Latin plurals (Italian in the case of graffiti), so treating these words as singular would be wrong by hot4teacher’s standards."
I would say that treating those words as singular would be wrong, especially considering that most of their singular forms are still used in modern English. We use the word "datum" when referring to datum edges in product measuring and manufacturing; medium is used everywhere, especially in visual arts contexts; bacterium is still used in biology studies and articles.
The fact that a lot of those words are used instead of their original singular form is wrong, and I believe that it is simply ignorance that has written off their original singular forms.
It is interesting to think, though, about the fact that we have been discussing the incorrect use of plurals from their singular forms, and hadn't mentioned the fact that many people also use the incorrect singular forms of plurals, or simply use the same word for both singular and plural cases. Data and media are the ones that annoy me the most.
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