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Is Octopi the Correct Plural of Octopus?

WhiteKiboko

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#25
i refuse, even under the constraints of my native (not to mention other) language(s) [including Tony's blasphemous :) comment http://www.tonmo.com/sitefaq.php] to give in to the octopuses movement..... i say pluralize more things in -i... not just those ending in vowel + s.....

for example: the supreme bird in africa? those wily ostri.....

thus spake the kiboko :wink:


:cthulhu: :heart: :beer:
 

erich orser

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#26
I'm going to have to upset the sticklers with my take on this one. Although that hideous text-messaging speak will hopefully not overpower us, I must point out that modern English (especially American English) is and has been a constantly evolving language. For hundreds of years it has been pulling in words, turns of speech, grammatical variations from innumerable foreign tongues, mixing and matching freely, constantly breaking it's own rules from generation to generation, and then incorporating these dreaded alien influences into official speech. You can kvetch all you want, but it is an ongoing process with as much chance of being halted as plate tectonics.

Anyway, according to Jacques-Yves Cousteau in Octopus and Squid: The Soft Intellingence, you are permitted to properly utilize octopus, octopi, octopuses, and octopussies, which I suppose brings us back to the Jamaican slang-term for the animal, "sea cat". Either that or Maude Adams in the thirteenth 007 film (great cheekbones).

Erich
 

Armstrong

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#27
Octopodes is the correct plural. Octopi is incorrect...

Here's an accurate article:

Plural
A note on the plural form: Fowler's Modern English Usage states that "the only acceptable plural in English is octopuses", and that octopi is misconceived and octopodes pedantic. Octopi derives from the mistaken notion that octopus is Latin. It is not. It is (Latinized) Greek, from oktopous (ὀκτώπους), gender masculine, whose plural is oktopodes (ὀκτώποδες). If the word were Latin, it would be octopes ('eight-foot') and the plural octopedes, analogous to centipedes and millipedes, as the plural form of pes ('foot') is pedes. In modern, informal Greek, it is called khtapodi (χταπόδι), gender neuter, with plural form khtapodia (χταπόδια).

That said, Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries accept octopi as a plural form. The Oxford English Dictionary lists octopuses, octopi, and octopodes (the order reflecting decreasing frequency of use), stating that the last form is rare. The term octopod (either plural octopods and octopodes can be found) is taken from the taxonomic order octopoda but has no classical equivalent. The collective form octopus is usually reserved for animals consumed for food. Finally worth mentioning is Octopussy, a blend word of octopus and pussycat, which found its way back from the movie title to a term of endearment for the animal that had originally inspired it.
 

chet

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#29
Is Octopi the Correct Plural of Octopus?

Most dictionaries list octopi and octopuses as the correct plural of octopus, but some English Usage Dictionaries say that octopi is incorrect. Fowler's Modern English Usage says the following:

A note on the plural form: Fowler's Modern English Usage states that "the only acceptable plural in English is octopuses", and that octopi is misconceived and octopodes pedantic. Octopi derives from the mistaken notion that octopus is Latin. It is not. It is (Latinized) Greek, from oktopous (????????), gender masculine, whose plural is oktopodes (?????????). If the word were Latin, it would be octopes ('eight-foot') and the plural octopedes, analogous to centipedes and millipedes, as the plural form of pes ('foot') is pedes. In modern, informal Greek, it is called khtapodi (???????), gender neuter, with plural form khtapodia (????????).


What do you say?
 

um...

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#30
I say that Fowler's is :thumbsup:. I hurt people who say 'octopi'. But I am, of course, a dork, so nobody needs to pay much attention to me.
 

Nancy

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#32
Fowler's is a very reputable source for grammar and usage information! On Ceph Care we've been using "octopuses" as the plural and in my reading I almost never come across "octopi".

:octopus: :octopus: :octopus: :octopus: = octopuses

Nancy
 

erich orser

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#35
English, particularly modern American English, is a mix-and-match mongrel tongue that is constantly changing with new foreign influences, however distressing that may seem. In one hundred years it will be officially a bit different than it is now, so incorrectly mixing latin and greek together seems altogether in keeping with the ongoing bastardization process. That said, and much as I enjoy the sound of "octopi" from an aesthetic standpoint, I've generally ceased using this word to avoid the corrective lectures of :grad: and other language-purity sticklers.
 

Nancy

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#36
Unlike French, which has an Academy that makes prononucements on words (approves new words each year, for instance), English is a language determined by usage.

I've avoided the words "correct" and "incorrect" - we can say that "octopuses" :octopus: :octopus: :octopus: is preferred because it's more widely used than any other versions of the plural.

English has a long history of changes - but so do other languages. That's how we got French and Spanish from Latin!

Nancy
 

sorseress

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#38
Considering that The Brits consider the correct pronunciation of Don Quixote to be "Don Quickset" I don't think we need consider any British source the be-all and end-all of discussions about grammar, pronunciation, or whatever. Sorry Brits, I like you , just not crazy about that particular mindset. Have you ever heard them mangle Italian cites????
 

CapnNemo

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#40
sorseress said:
Considering that The Brits consider the correct pronunciation of Don Quixote to be "Don Quickset" I don't think we need consider any British source the be-all and end-all of discussions about grammar, pronunciation, or whatever. Sorry Brits, I like you , just not crazy about that particular mindset. Have you ever heard them mangle Italian cites????

Awwwww booooooo! I've never heard anyone in Britain say any other pronunciation than Key-oh-tay, which is probably wrong but better than Quickset! You probably think we all walk around in bowler hats and drink tea all the time. :hmm:

Alright... we do drink a lot of tea.

Anyway you should hear US citizens saying 'Salisbury' which is where I live. Touche! (drat, where's the accent on this thing? Oh it's ruined my witty riposte.)

Hey, I'm Welsh, you should hear any english speaker trying to say Bwlch, or Blaenau Ffestiniog. (Sudden realisation that Welsh people make great Cthulhu cultists because we can pronounce the words)

Ahem, Anyhoo, English is a funny ol' mix of Saxon, Norman, Norse and just about anything else we can get our hands on, so I've no problem with mangling the language and it changing. For example the word Awful originally meant something completely different. Even the word 'Thing' is a Norse word for a type of meeting. As for 'Quaint ' (which English people think Americans say a lot, I've never heard any Americans use it), check out Chaucer's The Millers Tale for it's original use :oops:

BUT, it is nice to be able to smugly say "heh heh, it's a common mistake, but I think you'll find the plural of octopus is ACTUALLY octopuses"
 

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