Language questionMay 24, 2021 Tim WorstallLanguage25 CommentsYes, I know the plural is geese, but then why isn’t the singular shoop? previousA Ringo song done rightnextAn excellent idea and yet…… 25 thoughts on “Language question” asiaseen May 24, 2021 at 2:01 pm A question that has troubled me since childhood. TomJ May 24, 2021 at 2:02 pm And why not meese? (Though I do have a soft spot for moosen.) Mohave Greenie May 24, 2021 at 2:09 pm Meese was already taken as the plural of mouse. Besides, a moose bit my sister. Ed P May 24, 2021 at 2:10 pm Roofs not rooves, but turves not turfs – english is funny Grikath May 24, 2021 at 2:32 pm Because when you stew celtic, germanic and “latin” grammar/spelling for a couple of centuries you end up with the unholy mess that is “english”? 😛 Grikath May 24, 2021 at 2:38 pm Come to think of it.. I do remember “goose” being used as plural for the beasties. Dunno if it was Chaucer or Domesday/Anglosaxon Chronicles or somesuch. Could be that “geese” is actually a modernism.. Nautical Nick May 24, 2021 at 3:04 pm Goose become geese to stop confusion with mongoose. If there are two of them, they are bi-goose three, tri-goose etc., etc. Andrew C May 24, 2021 at 3:08 pm It’s like Guinness. All foreigners should be told the plural of Guinness is Guinnai and that they should ask confidently at the bar for “two Guinnai please”. Andrew C May 24, 2021 at 3:12 pm @Nautical Nick. Geese is the plural of goose only if they are male. If they are female its goosesesses. Like lionesses. E May 24, 2021 at 3:17 pm It’s to do with the changing of singular to plural in old english. Same reason we have one Ox but many Oxen and not Ox’s. Tim Worstall May 24, 2021 at 3:25 pm Not in English, no. Ox’s would be the horn that belongs to the ox. Oxs would be the plural even if it isn’t. Nautical Nick May 24, 2021 at 4:02 pm @Andrew C. And, of course,there is the story of th man who walked up to the bar and asked for a Martinus. “Don’t you mean Martini, sir?” “No thanks, I only want one.” Diogenes May 24, 2021 at 4:26 pm Foot and goose came in from German and thus suffered Germanic umlaut § I-mutation in Old English. Sheep follows an almost general rule about plural animals being the same as the singular – trout, bison, buffalo. Yes, lots of exceptions. Try this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_plurals?wprov=sfla1 philip May 24, 2021 at 5:29 pm If you have head of cattle, parliament of crows, can you have a liver of goose? apeoijreporj May 24, 2021 at 6:09 pm Timmy Seinfeld over here, eh? Diogenes May 24, 2021 at 6:12 pm It would be confusing if the plural of door were deer dearieme May 24, 2021 at 8:23 pm The plural of sloop isn’t sleep, except maybe in the US Navy. jgh May 25, 2021 at 2:11 am Tim, you mean Oxes. fox/foxes, box/boxes, complex/complexes, fix/fixes, flex/flexes, sex/sexes, climax/climaxes, flux/fluxes, wax/waxes, relax/relaxes. Josephine May 25, 2021 at 6:03 am “ If you have head of cattle, parliament of crows, can you have a liver of goose?” It’s a parliament of owls – and a murder of crows. Ottokring May 25, 2021 at 6:54 am It is of relatively modern origin. In the 19th Cent vessels taking ovine stock to the New World were often boarded by Mexican pirates who would then demand of the captain “Hey Gringo, hand over your sheep, it ees beeger than ours.” Confusion often reigned and once the story reached the papers, the name stuck. decnine May 25, 2021 at 8:02 am I once heard a German at the bar in the Turf Tavern ask for a gallon and a half of bitter. Jack the dog May 25, 2021 at 11:48 am I prefer a parliament of crows because it helps dehumanise the bastards. Ducky McDuckface May 25, 2021 at 3:35 pm Take your teef out and say “soup”. Charles May 25, 2021 at 5:16 pm Have you tried asking Cher? Will May 26, 2021 at 7:23 am And I guess 2 crows would be an attempted murder Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.