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(17 Posts)
Changebagsandgladrags Wed 22-Jan-14 19:22:28

Why is it not zomby?

PacificDogwood Wed 22-Jan-14 19:23:07

Good question.
Don't know.

Cooroo Wed 22-Jan-14 23:41:11

Seems to be derived from Haitian zombi but no idea where the e came from.

PacificDogwood Thu 23-Jan-14 10:11:30

I found this:

"From a Bantu language. Compare Kikongo zumbi (“fetish”), Kimbundu nzambi (god), and Caribbean folklore's jumbee (a spirit or demon). May also be related to sombra."

The 'ie' may simply be there to suggest the long 'ee' sound at the end rather than 'eye'.

PacificDogwood Thu 23-Jan-14 10:12:14

And why is Bambi not Bambie? Or Bamby?

I may be over-invested in this subject grin

magimedi Thu 23-Jan-14 10:18:22

And if the plural of mouse is mice, why not grice for lots of those birds?

English is a strange (& wonderful) language.

PacificDogwood Thu 23-Jan-14 10:23:55

Oh, I like 'house' and 'hice'; 'grouse' and 'grice' grin - endless milage to be had out of this.

English vocabulary and spelling is a right old pain in the backside when you learn it as a foreign language, I tell'ya - grammar otoh is not so bad.

PacificDogwood Thu 23-Jan-14 10:24:32

Oh, sorry, you had mentioned grouse already.
What IS the plural of grouse?
Grouses?? confused

Avalon Thu 23-Jan-14 10:26:07

Grouse. Like sheep.

Avalon Thu 23-Jan-14 10:27:02

The loss of fishes from the language still upsets me. wink Great plural.

PacificDogwood Thu 23-Jan-14 10:27:40

Oh no, according to DS1 when he was 3 it is:
1 sheep = sheep
2 sheep = sheeps
many sheep = sheepens grin

We still say it now when we see a field full of sheep - he is almost 11.

UriGeller Thu 23-Jan-14 10:27:55

Or mouse.


Avalon Thu 23-Jan-14 10:28:31

Sheepens. Hmm, it's got a ring to it!

Avalon Thu 23-Jan-14 10:29:21

Dang! Forgot grin.

prism Sat 01-Feb-14 17:18:18

My guess is that it's because when this word was extracted from West Africa into European languages originally, it was not done by English-speaking people. In Middle English "y" and "i.e." were after interchangeable at the ends of words, but the "y" tended to win out as this was standardised. So if the word had been invented today in the UK, it probably would be "zomby", but as it was originally "zumbi", and probably first written down by Portuguese or French missionaries, it's maintained its "ie." end.


ZingSweetApple Wed 05-Feb-14 08:19:21

in Hungarian it is always
1 book
2 book
50 book
1000 book
a pair of book
all the book on the shelf

we only use "books" if the number is if there is no amount indicated
I lost the books

weird, ha?

chateauferret Mon 17-Feb-14 22:23:41

That's nothing compared with the bonkers things that happen when you use numerals in Russian.

1 book - odna kniga (nominative singular, as you'd expect).

2 books - dva knigi (genitive singular).

3, 4 also genitive singular. Singular, right? OK. Now

5 books - pyat' knig. Genitive plural.

6 up to 20 - genitive plural.

21 books - dvadtsat' odna kniga, nominative singular.

22 - 24, genitive singular. 25 - 30, genitive plural. Similar pattern from then on.

In Chinese and Japanese you have to use a classifier to link the numeral to the noun. It's as if you were to say 'six head of cattle', but a similar construction for every noun and you have different classifiers for different nouns.

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