Originally Posted by Douglas
Phew, Ed had me confused there for a minute. I was certain fora was right, 2nd declension neuter, nominative plural as described by ETF. But I also had been led to believe Ed knew Latin. Oh, well.
Which brings up a question - what is the convention for how far we take a Latin word (or any other "imported" word) in terms of declining or pluralizing it in Latin, as we do with fora.
Is it equally correct to say forums?
After all, when we describe the forum's moderators, we don't say the fori moderators.
In fact, if we go back to the phrasing that started this whole thing:
It would seem that this should have been the ablative singular case, and should have been foro.
I know why will have an answer for this.
Generally's it's whatever common usage dictates at the time the word is introduced and becomes commonly used, and after that it tends to become 'frozen' in the language in that form. That's why there are conflicting and/or duplicated forms of some words such as 'concept' and 'conception' which in some contexts mean exactly the same thing ('concept' coming from the Latin 'conceptus' and 'conception' from the French) was likely introduced from a different source and at a different time than the other. The same is true of many other words in English such as 'form' and 'format' (Latin and French respectively). Expanding on this a bit, why does saying 'all the fora have changed' sound correct but saying 'all the data have changed' sounds strange? After all, 'data' is plural (and we never say 'datums' in this context).
In terms of pronunciation, this brings to mind a thread in General Chat about (or sidetracked-to) the pronunciation of 'valet'. 60-70 years ago, 'valet' had its pronunciation Anglicized was sometimes pronounced vallit
along with the competing form (now used almost exclusively) of vallay
. In the end, vallay
seems to have won. Nowadays, words coming from French tend to have their pronunciations prix-fixed -- sous vide, auteur, mise en place, etc. Yet not too long ago -- perhaps around the time 'valet' was introduced -- foreign words tended to be Anglicized, which is why we speak of an estoppel (ess-stopple)
certificate (from Old French along with 'valet'), prima facie (preema faysha)
evidence, and Julius (instead of yool-yus)
) Caesar. It's also the reason Lord Byron's Don Juan
doesn't rhyme using the modern pronunciation of Juan
(it was prononuced Joo-ahn
) and why in Shakespeare's As You Like It
Jaques is pronounced Jay-kwees
.Edited by why - 1/16/13 at 10:17am