Date: Fri, 3 Mar 1995 16:00:42 -0800 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: Looking for some useful arguments Since this discussion seems to have revived, maybe it's not too late after all for a question I was wanting to ask Donald Lance (or any Romanists out there). The etymology of "Ozarks" is indeed fascinating. In modern French, of course, there would be no final [s] in the pronunciation of "aux arcs." I don't know enough about the history of French to know whether the [-s] was still there in the late 1600s. The borrowing into English as "Ozarks" would itself be evidence of the final [s] in the source language if the possibility could be ruled out that the [-s] was added later as an English plural suffix. If final [s] was already lost in late 1600s French, then the word would have been borrowed as "Ozark" rather than "Ozarks". So - could somebody tell me whether there is other evidence showing whether or not final [s] persisted in French into the late 1600s? Thanks. Peter McGraw Linfield College McMinnville, OR On Tue, 28 Feb 1995, Donald M. Lance wrote: > The issue of "Ozarks" is more complex than Peter McGraw's response implies. > As well as we can determine, the word came from French explorers in > the late 1600s who wrote "aux arcs" on maps to indicate where the Arcansa > Indians lived and hunted. Liaison in French phonology would yield a > pronunciation of this abbreviation that would sound very much like "Ozarks,"* > which was the early English spelling. So "Ozark" is more like a folk > back-formation used in attributive positions where the "plural" ending > is not common in American English -- i.e., Ozark Mountains. All the toponyms > on official maps have "Ozark" in attributive position, as do business names > in the area. However, in recent decades, the -s form has come into use in > attributive position (Ozarks Conservation District, etc.). (*The final -s > in French is a further complication in the story.) Further, McGraw's > question about "Applachains Mountains" etc. points out that the anti-Ozark > copy-editors aren't so smart after all, though they may be following a local > trend. Every now and then I try to steer my mind toward this question but > haven't done systematic study. In British nomenclature we get "trades unions" > but "trade unions" in American English. I think the attributive -s form in > similar compounds is on the rise in American English, and the anti-Ozark > editors may be reflecting that trend. It's this latter trend that I haven't > done anything systematic on. How widespread/sporadic is the trend? > DMLance >