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why sheep plural is sheep also

English translation: Anglo-Saxon plurals

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21:44 Oct 22, 2001
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Marketing
English term or phrase: why sheep plural is sheep also
why sheep plural is sheep?while except of this word we use s or other word in the last to make plural
junaid qaiser
English translation:Anglo-Saxon plurals
Explanation:
some of the older words follow a more germanic style of plural formation, internal vowel shifts

man - men
foot - feet
mouse - mice
goose - geese
mongoose - (never mind)

I suppose somewhere along the line "sheep" lost its vowel change, maybe during the Great Vowel Shift.

mostly though the French Normans straightened us out and gave us a simplified plural system.

Selected response from:

xxxAbu Amaal
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Summary of answers provided
4 +2Anglo-Saxon pluralsxxxAbu Amaal
4 +1Yes you're right.
Kim Metzger
4..Tatiana Neroni
4Low German "scheep"
schmurr


  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Anglo-Saxon plurals


Explanation:
some of the older words follow a more germanic style of plural formation, internal vowel shifts

man - men
foot - feet
mouse - mice
goose - geese
mongoose - (never mind)

I suppose somewhere along the line "sheep" lost its vowel change, maybe during the Great Vowel Shift.

mostly though the French Normans straightened us out and gave us a simplified plural system.



xxxAbu Amaal
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 8
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kim Metzger: A fine scholarly explanation.
13 hrs

agree  Tatiana Neroni: Perfect answer...
147 days
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Yes you're right.


Explanation:
It is rather strange. And you're right of course that most plural nouns end in s. But there are other words that don't take an s in the plural: deer, men, women, etc. The best way to think of this is that every language is unique and general rules do not always apply to everything. I hope this helps you with your question.


    English teacher
Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 19:39
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2249

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Yuri Geifman: a rule without exceptions is an exception from the rule?
58 mins
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Low German "scheep"


Explanation:
common nouns, like those for animals, resisted the Norman influence and remained similar to the Low German spoken still today in Northern Germany (my homeland): there the plural of "schaap" is "scheep" (pronounced "shape").


    my origin
schmurr
Local time: 02:39
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
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147 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
..


Explanation:
Abu Amaal already said everything there is to say about it theoretically, just some more examples:

brother - 1/ brothers (just brothers, siblings); 2/ brethren (a fraternity of monks)

Ox (bull) - oxEN

Also, Latin borrowings follow the rules of its own language in forming plurals:

Octopus - octopI, etc...

It's interesting to trace etimology of grammatical forms, isn't it...

Thank you, Abu Amaal! First time in my life I come across somebody who still remembers the Great Vowel Shift in his translating career :))).


Tatiana Neroni
PRO pts in pair: 20
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