Thursday 17 September 2020

plurale tantum

From the Latin for plural form only, we encounter a host of words whose singular form is inconceivable or as the terms as collective ones rarely invoked: scissors, news, trousers, spectacles, subs, outskirts, thanks and heroics.
As well as sharing at least some of the preceding English examples, in other languages, pluralia tantum point to a period of time: kalendae for the first day of the month, German Ferien for vacation, to go on holiday(s). Some cases don’t have an obvious semantic logic to them like the Swedish and Russia words respectively for currency—pengar and деньги always as monies or the problematic case of the German word for parents only exists in the plural form Eltern—with the current possibilities of expressing a single parent awkward and normative. As one can do a scissor-kick or be possessed of a trouser-press there are exceptions and ways to compose the singular, unpaired form and bridge that morphological gap. The opposite, singular tantum, refer to mass or uncountable objects and conception, like information, milk and popcorn.