Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 07:50:57 -0600
From: Salikoko Mufwene s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UCHICAGO.EDU
Subject: Re: Variable -s on Nouns
In message Sat, 18 Mar 1995 19:02:26 EST,
Michael Montgomery N270053[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]univscvm.csd.scarolina.edu quotes:
"Gerald Riggs was the last to gain 100 yards on Philadelphia, and no
Cowboys runner had done it since Hershel Walker in 1986."
"His homerun total was the highest by a Dodgers rookie since Greg
Brock also hit 20 in 1983, . . ."
and expresses misgivings about the plural form in "Cowboys" and "Dodgers."
Don Lance agrees with him. May I ask whether both of you or anyone else
would be happier with "Cowboy runner" and "Dodger rookie." Several years
back (1983) I wrote a manuscript about proper names and dealt somewhat with
teams' names. Several speakers I interviewed felt uncomfortable with uses
such as "MJ is a Bull" (now again!) or "Herschel Walker is a Bulldog"
(then). Is the case brought up by Montgomery one of those one may not fully
please others one way or another?
Is the redundancy in the "Ozarks Mountains" the same phenomenon (though
undoubtedly related) as the above? Does the case of "Athletics Director"
bear some relation to that of "linguistics professor," or doesn't it?
Is the "s" in "Athletics" necessarily treated as a plural? I'll be
thinking more about these matters myself, but some feedback from the
native speaker crowd won't hurt.
Salikoko S. Mufwene
University of Chicago
Department of Linguistics
1010 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
312-702-8531; FAX 312-702-9861