Date: Sat, 4 Mar 1995 09:32:44 +0000 From: Maik Gibson Subject: Re: the Ozarks and other plurals It seems to me that people think that Britain (*have) has only plural forms for collective entities, because one only tends to notice how people speak when they speak differently: hence hypercorrection, which is what would happen if many on the list tried to sound British! Countries don't generally have plurals in the UK: the US is an exception: I heard that it only became singular in the States after the Civil War. Maik Gibson On Fri, 3 Mar 1995, Cathy C. Bodin wrote: > The etymology that Donald Lance provided for "the Ozarks" is fascinating > and raises the example of British plurals, such as "trades unions" vs. > "trade unions" [Amer. usage]. > On a related head, could I ask for comment on these British > plurals? How does "their" figuration of collectives differ from ours? > They say that the United States "are" doing such-and-such in the news > and that British Oil "have" announced such-and-such. Does anyone know > if a Trades Union X or a Trade Union X "has" or "have" been considered > as a plural traditionally in Britain? --Cathy Bodin > > > > 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 >