1. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Childs - it's wrong, right?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Poziga, Feb 3, 2015.

    Hello. :)

    The plural form of child is children, of course. But I was wondering if in english-speaking countries everybody knows that? Does everybody automatically learn that?
    Is it possible that some people just can't remember that the plural form of child is children, meaning they say childs? Something similar to that phenomenon when some people just can't remember if heart is on the left or on the right side of chest?

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Easy to answer. Yes, everybody knows this. :)
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There are some unusual usages of words that answer to the kind of dynamic you mention, but children is not one of them. Everyone knows that child becomes children in the plural. Making a non-standard plural, such as: How many childs do you have? is not something you would ever hear from a native speaker.

    The most common kind of non-standard usage answering to your dynamic for native speakers of English are when very young speakers try to make strong verbs follow the rules of the much more common weak verbs. You get constructions like: He sitted down instead of He sat down.

    ETA: There are other -en plurals that are less stable than children. Children is just such a commonly used word that its plural doesn't phase us at all, but I have heard people stumble over foxen vs. foxes (and lo and behold, spellcheck gave a red squiggle to foxen!) and I've heard people treat oxen as if it danced to the same beat as deer and sheep and ox becomes both singular and plural.
     
  4. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Simple counter question:
    Do any Slovenians forget the plural of dán to be dnévi?
     
  5. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    @NiallRoach , not that I know of, but there are some specific forms of many, many nouns that people can't remember.
    Although I wouldn't be surprised if someone said dnevi.

    Too bad, I kinda hoped some people can't remember it, I wanted to use it. It's a good thing I checked though. :)
     
  6. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Me to my German partner: "Do you know the gender of all nouns?"
    Answer: "Yes, I think so."
    Me: "How?"

    I understand why you're asking @Poziga. Native speakers do sometimes make mistakes in their own language. As a non-native speaker, it's pretty much impossible to guess when that might occur.
     
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  7. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh I study German and it's a relief to see that not even Germans now the gender of all the nouns. It's interesting though, in my language you can just ask yourself by gender and you get the answer....

    Anyway, it's good that genitiv and dativ are the same for neutrum and maskulin. that facilitates the language a bit (for when you're not sure which gender is the noun :p).
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This was one of the beauties of learning Russian. The gender of Russian nouns follows a very strict set of rules regarding the final letter of the noun, and though there are a few exceptions, they are very few. Spanish, on the other hand, has a completely idiosyncratic gender system. Though it is said that one can generally expect feminine nouns to end in an a, when it comes to nouns for inanimate objects or concepts I have yet to see this rule play out. When I look up a new word, I have to always look for it with the word the in front so that I also get the article that tells me the gender.
     
  9. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup, same in my language. you just aks yourself: tisti + noun, tista + noun, tisto + noun. And if you use the wrong gender it sounds weird.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds weird for you because you are a native speaker. This instant awareness of wrongness would not be in effect for a non-native speaker. Russian makes it easy because the final letter of the noun nearly always tells you the gender.

    A or Ь (soft sign) = Feminine
    O or E = Neuter
    "Zero ending" (no vowel) and pretty much everything else = Masculine
     
  11. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually the same endings are also in Slovene (except for the soft sign), I just somehow didn't finish my thought correctly....
    But like you said, there are exceptions or difficult words and for those we can use these questions (at least in my language). And if there are ambiguities it's usually just between masculin and neuter :)
     

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