Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Proposal To Relieve Lexical Tedium In Plural Formation

I am very much taken with the plural ‘kine’ for ‘cow’. I feel that this formulation should be generalized and put into wider circulation. As is only proper for the instigator of a movement, I shall blaze the way.

To begin with, the strict, or traditionalist construction of the word-form would be as follows:

1) Take the consonant preceding the last syllable of the word, and replace it with a homophonous consonant or consonantal group. E.g., ‘k-‘ for ‘c-‘ in ‘kine’.

2) Replace the last syllable of the word with ‘-ine-‘.

Thus, for example, a girl who ran around quite a bit and didn't want to be tied down could be said to keep a stable of ‘boyphrine’. Note 1) consonantal replacement,; and 2) substitution of ultima. Classic, euphonious, altogether satisfying.

If you got a Family Mobile Plan from Sprint, you could have up to three 'cell-fine' on the same account. See how easy?

Going to the gym? Don't forget to take your 'sneaccine'!

One can foresee, however, various circumstances in which the strict construction could well prove problematic, whether from unavailability of a replacement consonant, or due to confusion arising from the switch at either end.

So, for instance, reporting that you recently ran into a polygamist in the company of several of his ‘wine’ could only lead to confusion, possibly leading to resentment, on the part of your interlocutor. In such a case you would do well to put a looser construction on the rules and formulate, perhaps, ‘wiphine’, which faithfully observes the first rule while slightly bending the second.

In the case of an unavailable consonantal replacement, or in extreme situations of compound infraction, one would simply have to improvise and make do. Thus the plural of ‘egg’, a particularly sinister case involving a monosyllable beginning with a vowel and ending with an irreplaceable consonant, would, I’m pretty sure, just have to be ‘eggine’. And then we must be chill, and content ourselves with the not-inconsiderable pleasure of rolling ‘eggine’, both the word and indeed the foodstuff, around savorously on the tongue.

There, you have your instructions. Now go forth, my darline, and propagate.

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