Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 13:46:19 +0500 From: Wayne Glowka Subject: Romance Plurals Dear Tim, Perhaps a better romanticist than I will respond to the list, but the -s plurals in Spanish and Old Provencal, for example, come from the accusative plural -s of Latin masculine and feminine first and second declension nouns (viri vs. viros; rosae vs. rosas). The third declension had an -s in both the masculine and feminine nominative and accusative plurals (cives; urbes). Fourth and fifth declension masculines also had nom./accus. plurals in -s (fructus; dies). These -s endings were extended to other plurals by analogy. Indeed, to know why a particular noun has a particular form, one usually has to know only the Latin accusative form in order to derive it with some degree of predictability (granting knowledge of a host of vocalic and consonantal changes from Latin to Spanish or Provencal). The situation seems to be similar in French, although the situation is complicated by the retention in Old French of the nominative singular masculine ending derived from -us (as in filius to fils). Perhaps a scholar of French could speak in more detail on this problem. By the way, Italian uses -i plurals like Latin (here's one that seems to be extended by analogy to a third declension noun: studente vs. studenti). Wayne Glowka Professor of English Director of Research and Graduate Student Services Georgia College Milledgeville, GA 31061 912-453-4222 wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] BITNET Address: Wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]USCN