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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:23

Video transcript

hello grammarians today we're going to be discussing more irregular plurals so this is the irregular plural parts to the to inning because we really want to focus on this n particle I'll explain in a minute so previously we discussed the idea that there's you know one regular plural and then there are a couple of different kinds of irregular plurals so we have the word dog and it becomes dogs we have the word leaf and it becomes leaves I'd like to introduce something else to the word child is also an irregular plural because it's plural form is not child's but in fact you ready say with me children whoa that's weird what is that about like I said English is not a predictable language few languages are when we think of English as one solid block of wood what we're actually seeing is this lashed together raft made of spit hope and history so it's your job as a writer and the speaker of English to make of this Crooked Timber something straight to borrow a phrase and then mangle it so the question is what is the deal right and the answer is that it has to do with English language history and heritage English comes to us from Old English which if you look at it now it kind of looks like German because English is a Germanic language that's the term linguists use so in Old English there were a bunch of different ways to make something plural you know some some some nouns would become plural by adding an en some you could add an S some you would add an R and part of this depend on what part of England you lived in at the time there were a bunch of different regional variations today this en ending only applies to basic three or four words these are all you need to remember for this one weird en thing so the en ending plural only applies to child ox brother or sister and even those these are really rare I bet you don't even know what I'm talking about the plural of brother originally was brethren the plural of sister is sistren or Susteren but these are so rare and brothers and sisters is so common that we don't even need to consider them so really the only the only weird en plurals that are going to be in common usage are children and oxen and unless you know your family raises musk oxen or you're an ox driver you're probably not going to be using the word ox very often and if oxen are a big part of your life you probably knew how to PluralEyes them already just from hearing people talk about them your entire childhood so I'm going to cross that off to the only thing you need to worry about is the en in children child becomes children now you're probably wondering David you know if there's the word ox and ox becomes oxen what about box why is the plural of box boxes and not boxing to borrow a gag from Brian Regan the simple truth is that it has to do with this words origin ox is a native Old English word box comes to us originally from Greek and then Latin and then French that's how it came to English I'm sorry if that's not a very satisfying answer but that's how English works English is this language that is composed of a bunch of different puzzle pieces all mashed together by time history and repeated invasions which are totally metal but I'm getting away for myself the important thing to remember is that for this irregular plural this en ending really unless you work with oxen or unless you are leading some sort of old-timey folk revival where you have to refer to brethren and sistren child to children is really the only change you need concern yourself with all this can be summed up Boop just like that you can learn anything damn it out now if you're still with me I would like to relate a humorous historical anecdote that comes to us from the 15th century English printer William Caxton now this story comes to us from about the Year fourteen ninety and I just want to use this story to illustrate just how different how dependent on what part of the country you were living in was on the language that you spoke because before mass transit and mass communication media which William Caxton was a part of because he was one of the first English language printers before any of this technology allowed us all to communicate with each other basically just had letters and most people were illiterate and talking to each other and since it wasn't really easy to get from place to place to place before the advent of cars most people didn't really go very far so here is the story which I will translate for you from Middle English goes like this so these merchants were traveling from the Thames river which flows through London and they're trying to get to zealand here which is in the modern-day netherlands this is incidentally this is a this is england this is the southern south east coast of england we're trying to get to zealand and this is a distance of about 160 miles give or take but they can't make it there because of bad winds they stopped here at foreland to refresh their stores they stopped for groceries basically and then they realize that their london english and the english of the place where they are which is maybe 60 miles out of london maybe is mutually incomprehensible man goes into a house asks the woman of the house for eggs she doesn't understand the word eggs because the word she uses for eggs is Aran the word egg is Norse and he says I would like some EGIS and she says I don't have any EGIS I don't speak French and he gets angry because he's like I don't speak French either I'm English he's as do you have any eggs she says I don't know what that is and finally someone says I think he means Evan do you have any egg and she said Oh Evan and of course here buy some and it just goes to show you that before the advent of mass communication we could have had variations from as Caxton putted Shire to Shire to Shire each little town had its own variant of language and it wasn't until everything was united by this technology that taxed and worked with the printing press that people started to become literate and converge toward what we would consider a more unified standard of English all right that was just a little bonus silly video yokan Larina anything uh Dave it out