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John Cowan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Danny Wier wrote:
>
>
> > *okay, bad Latin grammar. It's a "double plural" of the neuter-gender noun
> > _criterium_. That's when you form the plural of a neuter noun (-um > -a),
> > then treat the plural noun like a feminine singular in -a and make *that* a
> > plural (-a > -ae). So it's the plural of a plural -- in this case, a plural
> > number of groups of criteria, each group being related to a diagnosis of
> > --END--
>
> All very true.  However, the *English* word is "criterion", from the
> Greek (the Latin is also from the Greek, to be sure).  Plural,
> of course, "criteria".  The plural of "group of criteria" is
> "groups of criteria".

The "Latin" double plural indeed works only in the nominative, as Danny
suspected. The paradigms are different.

> "Agenda" is also a Latin neuter plural ("things to be done") though
> always treated as singular in English, with a native plural "agendas".
> So far we have been spared "agendae"; also "ignorami" (ack!), "quora"
> (ouch!) and "hoodla" (double ouch!).

WOW!  That's a good one!  Hoodlum, hoodli, hoodlo, hoodlum, hoodlo;
hoodla, hoodlorum, hoodlis, hoodla, hoodlis!  ROTFL!

>       "Viri" (or doubly illiterate
> "virii"),

The latter form has always puzzled me.  _Viri_ is understandable, from
thinking it's an o-stem, but whence the second _i_ in _virii_?  This
would require an underlying singular form _**virius_.

>       "rhinoceri", and "hippopotami" are probably now impossible
> to get rid of.

Ha!  One of my favourite linguistic jokes is the "Latin" declension of
the word _bus_ `public carriage':

           Sing.  Plur.

Nom.       bus    bi
Gen.       bi     borum
Dat.       bo     bis
Acc.       bum    bos
Abl.       bo     bis

Sound cool when recited: "Bus, bi, bo, bum, bo; bi, borum, bis, bos,
bis."
Hey, that's a great .sig line!

There's indeed quite a number of *weird* applications of Latin
morphology to non-classical words in circulation.  As soon as a word
ends in _-us_, _-a_ or _-um_, you can be sure that someone tries to
decline it the Latin way.  I am not free of guilt, using _pizzae_ as
plural of _pizza_ in my high school days.

And I think I have already heard "reconstruted" singular forms such as
_Ferengus_ and _Quendus_.

... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
"Bus, bi, bo, bum, bo; bi, borum, bis, bos, bis!"