Discussion in 'Culture' started by nanoteuthis, Jul 28, 2011.
*faints from cephalosugarshock*
Octopus Family T-Shirt in Blue
"Gliding through the ocean depths, this shirt shows
off a rare family of cheerful octopi. Often brought
up in maritime legends, octopi are known for saving
ship-wrecked sailors, guiding lost boats to safe harbor,
and fending off Lovecraftian horrors from the depths.
What better way to declare your octopus
pride than with this shirt!"
I would guess the opposite is true?
"Octopi"... same old, same old...
Yeah, I've pretty much given up correcting people about that -- it's about as futile as trying to explain that flaunt and flout are not interchangeable.
Then again, one could argue that an individual piece of takoyaki may be accurately described as an Octo Pie, but that's a chromatophore of a different color.
+ ╥ =
Actually, octopuses is only the preferred plural. Octopi and, my favorite, octopodes (oc-TOP-uh-dees - requiring a British accent to be properly spoken) are also correct. The later being considered the most correct and the least preferred.
Octopi, as I understand, is the Latin plural of an incorrect etymology; the root word would be 'octopes', and the actual word for octopuses in Latin was 'polypus'. The actual Greek word was 'oktopous'; 'octopus' is the Latinized form.
The modern Greek word for 'octopus', of course, is 'chtapodi', pronounced 'khta-poh-dee'. Which is bizarre.
As far as I know, the most accurate plural would be octopodes, which I've never heard anyone use in conversation -- understandably so, as it sounds insufferably pompous. I always use octopuses; I figure that since octopus has become a distinctly English word, it's best to use an English plural form.
I mean, think about it: If you're living in an English-speaking country and you go to Starbuck's (or whatever your fav coffee place may be) with three friends, you're going to order two cappuccinos and two espressos, not two cappuccini and two espressi.... even though the latter are more correct in the original Italian.
Octopi, of course, is another story -- and a source of infinite frustration to those of us who have been corrected by self-styled grammar nazis who are under the mistaken impression that octopuses is wrong. But here's where we get into a linguistic grey area: As it happens, when an incorrect term is almost universally used, it eventually becomes acceptable. That's how languages evolve.
For example, look up the original meaning of such common English words as "nice" and "silly" -- see how they evolved into something totally different from their original definitions? Yet we all use them today to mean "pleasant" and "foolish", respectively. More recently, look at how we use words such as "awesome" and "cool" -- sticklers for precision may rant and rave, but ultimately common usage prevails and such alternate or colloquial meanings become completely acceptable.
So from what I can see, octopi is becoming less and less wrong as time goes by. I still think octopuses is awesome -- but hey, if someone else wants to use octopi, that's cool.
~ Tani Banani ~
Same Merchant, Moar Kawaii ♥ ♥ ♥
Purple Hexapus Necklapus
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