word bugaboos

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Mon Feb 2 13:52:33 EST 2004


> Minnow
> > The other "en" ending that's strange is the plural "children".  Apart
from
> brother/brethren, which is definitely not usual in speech, ox/oxen, which
> isn't much found these days outside biblical-style utterance, and
> house/housen, which is dialect, are there other plurals with "en"?  Was it
> once chick/chicken, but an s got put onto the chicken to make them
conform?

No idea about that last one, but the 'en' plural was pretty common in Old
English, as it is today in German. The other obvious current examples are
'men' and 'women', I suppose. Other than that I can only come up with the
archaic 'shoon' for 'shoes'. It's a bit precious, but occasionally the kind
of poets who like to talk about fairies in cobweb shoon dancing by the light
of the silvery moon have found it useful.

Charlie

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