Tanaqui tweaver at
Fri Jul 21 11:58:21 EDT 2000

Philip B:
+ But more to the point, why shouldn't a person or animal have a plural
+ name? I've met plenty of (literary) horses called "Socks", for example.
+ And stereotyped crooks called Fingers.  Not to mention Blyton's 
+ "Big Ears"...

"Socks" for a horse (or cat) refers to a distinctive colour change in the 
lower leg region, doesn't it? It's because they look like they're wearing 
socks (plural), not that the horse/cat is sockish/sockly or looks like a heap
of socks. Stereotyped crooks use their upper digits to commit the crime (I 
always think of the Roald Dahl fingersmith here) and earn the moniker 
"Fingers". "Big Ears", well, he was the possesor of such appendages. In all 
these cases, there's a tangible physical attribute causing the plural to be 

I can't quite understand why a cat should have plural lightnings or even
singular ones attached to it (unless it has Harry Potter markings). Perhaps
it is an especially speedy feline, in which case the reindeer-song explanation
makes even more sense than it did originally. 

It took me months to learn to pronounce "M"adchen" to my pen-pal Sabine's
satisfaction... and then I learned she had a strong Bremen accent. *sigh*

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