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Is Octopi the Correct Plural of Octopus?

DWhatley

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#61
AM,
HOW do you know it SOUNDS better? I have yet to figure out how to SAY Hummellincki and I am thinking my new guy might be one :oops:
 

Animal Mother

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#62
Sounds better to me!

Could quite possibly be D. Hope you get to spend some quality time with it before it kills over. I've been wondering since a few months have passed by if the filosus season is in considering the ones everyone got a few months back all seemed to be at their end. Not really a conversation for this thread though.
 

Diaphanus

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#63
Hello, this is my first post. If there is any rule against posting in old threads, let me know!

Darwinishungry;34148 said:
What exactly is the plural form of octopus? I've heard octopusES and octoPI from many different places.
I can give you some information about the Classical Greek and Latin(ized) forms of the word.

It is true that oktopodes (masculine and feminine) and oktopoda (neuter) are the normal (nominative) plurals of the Greek word oktopous, but the funny thing about the word pous ("foot") is that while its true stem is pod- (third declension), it had a shorter stem po- (second declension). This would also apply to its compound words.

The Romans themselves latinized Greek words and treated them as Latin words by giving them Latin endings, so the argument about how octopi is incorrect because it is a latinized Greek word treated as a Latin word was dreamt up by someone unfamiliar with Latin grammar. So, the "mistaken notion" here is the idea that octopi is problematic because it has a Latin ending.

The word polypus ("many foot"), from pous, was latinized and had the shorter stem polypo-. You would think that its plural would be polypodes, but it has the plural polypi.

Octopodes is the plural according to the true stem of the word octopus, but octopi is the latinized plural according to the shortened stem.

Octopi isn't really any more incorrect grammatically than polypi. It's just going by an unusual, but nevertheless existing, shorter form of the word.

On a related note, the Superorder name Octopodiformes uses the true stem (octopod-), but the Family name Octopoteuthidae uses the shorter one (octopo-).

Article said:
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.
And yet it does not seem to have a problem with the plural form polypi.

Article said:
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).
Yeah, again, this argument was dreamt up by someone unfamiliar with Latin grammar.

The Romans themselves gave latinized Greek words Latin endings, and here is the HTML version of a respected Latin grammar book (Allen and Greenough New Latin Grammar) showing various ways to do so:
http://www.hhhh.org/perseant/libellus/aides/allgre/allgre.81.html
http://www.hhhh.org/perseant/libellus/aides/allgre/allgre.82.html

Does heroibus, for instance, derive from the "mistaken notion" that heros is Latin? It is not.

How about tigrium, and so on?

And what about polypi?

This "mistaken notion" argument is specious at best.
 

monty

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#64
Thanks for your linguistic kung-fu, and :welcome: to TONMO!

I am neither qualified nor foolish enough to leap (back) into the linguistic smackdown, but I would suggest from the sidelines that we coin the terms "octopedantry" and "octopedantic" for this discussion-- not meaning to make fun of the participants, just the debate itself.

p.s. replying to old threads is usually encouraged, certainly in this case!
 

DWhatley

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#65
Fun discussion and a first to bring up the idea that the Romans were a bit snobbish with their acquisition of Greek words. I guess I will have to allow my (fun) neighbors to use octopi now. They will be so disappointed that I don't object when they try to goad me into making a correction :sagrin:
 

Jean

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#66
I'm boring and like to be simple........ I go with the sheep! 1 sheep many sheep: one octopus many octopus!!! That way I don't have to remember podes, podi, pedes, pi or any other p ending!!!!!!!

J
 

sorseress

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#67
I'm finding this to be delightful! Welcome to our newest pedant!
 

esquid

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#72
No, I meant what I said, it is not an appropriate as a reference. It is a good tool to use for general information and as a starting point.
 

L8 2 RISE

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#73
esquid;128786 said:
why does it say something about wikipedia not being an appropriate reference?
You said why does it say something about wikipedia being an incorrect reference, however my signature says nothing about it being an incorrect reference, so I assumed that you meant why does it NOT say something about wikipedia being an incorrect reference because otherwise I don't see how it makes sense...

And I agree with you if my implied meaning was correct, wikipedia is not a relevant reference source, however, it is the easiest to link to and understand, AND, you can't find any sane site online that will argue with the statement wikipedia provided...
 

CaptFish

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#74
My younger brother sent this to me. thought I would share it here.


 

kpage

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#76
Lol I like the video, she sums it up pretty well. "Octopus was originally greek, therefore it ends "es". The "i" ending is for words with a latin base. Most people consider "octopuses" to be the correct way. "Octopodes" is correct however it isn't as widely used.
 

DWhatley

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#77
I now know how to properly say octopodes! I was pronouncing it octo podes or octo pods when I get the above spiel.:oops:
 

Level_Head

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#78
Ock-TAH-puh-dees

This Mirriam-Webster video talks about the origins of the pluralization of "octopus."

Of course it makes sense that the Greek version would be pronounced "ock TAH puh dees" (my own phonetic approximation), but I confess to using only three syllables previously.

The video states what we here have long accepted: "octopuses" is the best plural.
 

DWhatley

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#79
This is the best presentation I have seen on the subject (as you can imagine, it comes up often) but you are slightly late in finding it. I had a similar mispronounciation issue when it was first exposed
 

tonmo

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#80
I moved this thread to the new Fact Check forum (and left a permanent redirect from where it originated in Our Community - lots of inbound links for this topic!)
 

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