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Thanks for your understanding.
Chris -- 2018-04-11
Along the lines of cosmos, ethos, pathos, kudos and soforth and soon:
It may have been an accidental omission of a letter, but the following was in an on-line news story this morning.
Words matter. Media bias matter. It is worth drawing attention to it
The antecedent of the final “it” is probably “bias”, which makes the notion that the person was thinking of a plural doubtful. Still:
I’d like to end this PMA with a thought that tools are never bias, bias are the decison makers.
And I am sure there are more of them out there.
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
Exam season is upon me, with a new spring crop of eggcorns – all in French, unfortunately. I did come across someone describing a biai, which is the French equivalent of a bia. The following could easily be simple typo (the generic mass name for words with dropped esses), but I’m betting on their singularity based on my student’s spelling.
From a test response: “The frog’s pancreas were …”. Also out there, though I won’t document them: “lay a fece” and “a single specie of”.
Anglo-Saxon-derived singular nouns that end in a vowel followed by the letter s are as rare as two-dollar bills. Most of these s-enders are words that have been borrowed from other languages in the last couple of centuries—kudos, pathos, cosmos, mythos, ethos, platypus, virus. An English speaker faced with a singular term ending in vowel+s feels an overwhelming temptation to (1) treat it as a plural, which can often lead to false singulars, or (2) accept it as a singular. Even the second option, though correct, has its pitfalls. If it is singular, what is its plural? A thoroughly AS approach would add “es.” But the obvious foreign derivation of many of these vowel+s words gives us pause, leading us to attempt (and often to fail) to generate the English plural from what we think are the applicable source language rules for pluralization—thus viri, platypi, octopi.
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.