RE: Grammar question?

Subject: RE: Grammar question?
From: "Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)" <MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L Writing" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 11:57:23 -0400

One thing that is interesting about this discussion of plural forms is
how far we're willing to go to preserve other languages' plural forms.

I prefer fungi to funguses, but I am happy to say that I had multiple
rendezvous (with pronounced S at the end) with a friend, rather than
call them "les rendezvous." But there's not really any good reason I can
think of to preserve the Latin form but dispense with the French, except
that "funguses" is much harder to say, even though it's only one
additional syllable.

I think that ease of pronunciation may be more important in these
choices than logic, based on what a linguistics friend of mine told me.
He had a whole thing about the "esses" sound and how in "proper"
English, users will go to ANY lengths to avoid it, while in "street"
accents, users will string it out, so some people will do tongue
gymnastics to crisply say the word "breasts" while others will just
string it out and say "breastesses." (The reason we were talking about
this was a line spoke by Gary Oldman in the film "True Romance," where
he uses the latter pronunciation.)

I think it's interesting that while we're writers, largely trafficking
in words on a page, the spoken form of the language is still the
touchstone for the choices we make.

Sincerely,
Madelyn Boudreaux
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References:
RE: Grammar question?: From: Downing, David
RE: Grammar question?: From: David Hailey

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