Concerning Plurality

Davdi Silverrock davdisil at gmail.com
Wed Dec 7 21:37:46 PST 2005

On 12/7/05, Bryan Newell <bryann at bryann.net> wrote:
> > At this rate, the matter should be settled before the Cycle
> > changes, I nearly think.
> I used the book search to do a quick search for various forms of plurals.
> It seems the book search is broken in a sense:  If you search for "Tiassas",
> for example, it sometimes returns links that send you to a blank page
> instead of a text reference.

> After some digging around, it appears that it's failing when it finds
> "Tiassa's".  It ignores the apostrophe when deciding whether to draw a link,
> but considers it when looking up the actual text, perhaps?

Good catch.  I'd noticed the empty pages, but not deduced what triggered them.

> Anyway, here are the results (if there were multiple examples, I list the
> most recently published book).  Houses that say "no match" did not have any
> matches, or the matches were broken as described above:

And I thank you for making the effort.

However, I note that for some of your hits, the most recently
published is actually kinda old.  I would suggest that either Steve
hadn't settled on a standard yet, or they are just "typos".

Some responses:

> Dragons
> - TPG Chapter 34 - Why should they care which line of Dragons is given the
> estate?

I think we're granting this one as being a modified plural, unless
someone finds several counter-examples.

> Lyorns
> - Jhereg Chapter 9 - The Lyorns have records of him.

As I noted, there is an unmodified plural of Lyorn in /The Paths of
the Dead/, which I think trumps this.

> Hawks
> - TPG Chapter 1 - a Lyorn and two Hawks.
> - TPG Chapter 34 - keep your ears to the sky, and your eyes to the ground,
> as the Hawks say

Same as for "Dragons", I think.

> Issolas
> - Issola Chapter 7 - proving that even Issolas are capable of self-directed
> irony.

Huh. But, to the left, I tracked down 3 counter-examples, also in
/Issola/ - so I think the above has to be a typo:

pg62:  "But she knows many languages.  Many Issola do.  It's a custom,
such as Dragons knowing how to fight, and Jhereg knowing how to offer
a bribe."

pg 160: "That's the tricky part about the Issola; you can never be
certain how they are feeling."

pg 211: "What are young Issola like?"

> Tsalmoths

And your hit on "Orcas", further down, provides an excellent cite for
"Tsalmoth" being an unmodifed plural.

> Vallistas

Jon_Lincicum found the cite in /The Lord of Castle Black/.

> Jheregs
> - Jhereg Chapter 9 - ...the Jheregs were obviously the only ones who could
> manage it properly. / Why did the Jheregs agree to help?

I think there are plenty of counter-examples, including one of the
ones I found above for /Issola/

> Chreothas
> - Jhereg Chapter 9 - Do you mean, for example, that Chreothas are descended
> from actual chreothas?"

I'm willing to bet that there's a more recent counter-example.  Just
need to track it down...

> Yendis

I just realized that "How many Yendi does it take to sharpen a sword?"
is a cite for Yendi as an unmodified plural, from /Yendi/, chapter 15.

> Orcas
> - Teckla Chapter 8 - But the big merchants -- the Orcas and the Tsalmoth and
> the Jhegaala
> - Teckla Chapter 12 - I thought about Orcas who will knife anyone for twenty
> Imperials

Good catches, but I'm pretty sure there are counter-examples.

> Jhegaalas

Same citation from above.

So I think I still need to check for citations regarding Orca,
Chreotha, Iorich, and Phoenix being used as unmodified plurals.  Every
other House, except for Dragon and Hawk, is definitely almost always
used as an unmodifed plural.