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The plural of "Orkney"

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Ian Dunn
708625.  Wed May 12, 2010 1:49 pm Reply with quote

I was listening to Mark Steel's in Town earlier today, where he was performing in Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney.

One of the interesting pieces of information mentioned in the show was what the plural of "Orkney" is. The answer is "Orkney".

The word "Orkney" is the plural, and the correct way to refer to all the islands is the "Orkney Islands" - and never ever "The Orkneys", which really annoys the locals.

The locals refer to the largest of the Orkney Islands (the one where Kirkwall is) as "The Mainland".

 
CynicCure
709191.  Fri May 14, 2010 5:32 am Reply with quote

Sounds very dubious to me. I'm prepared to accept that referring to the Orkneys may not be the done thing, but you wouldn't say the Fijis or the Tongas either. Surely the term Orkney just means the region encompassing the whole sum of its parts? Like you refer to Yorkshire or Australia. It doesn't make the word plural.

 
suze
709333.  Fri May 14, 2010 12:06 pm Reply with quote

While we probably wouldn't say "The Fijis" or "The Tongas" today, they absolutely did say things like that in the Victorian era. Somewhere in Sherlock Holmes, one of the characters accepts a job in The Brazils.

 
Posital
709348.  Fri May 14, 2010 12:41 pm Reply with quote

Why don't they worry about "Arcaibh", instead of trying to dictate how a foreign tongue is spoken?

They should all go back to Norway...

 
bobwilson
709680.  Sat May 15, 2010 6:50 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
The locals refer to the largest of the Orkney Islands (the one where Kirkwall is) as "The Mainland".


Possibly because that's its' name (at least on my maps)?

 
CynicCure
710217.  Mon May 17, 2010 1:25 pm Reply with quote

There you go again with that dodgy apostrophe bob. its = belonging to it. it's = abbreviation of it is or it has. its' = ... er... nothing... doesn't make sense. HTH

 
mckeonj
710239.  Mon May 17, 2010 2:23 pm Reply with quote

CynicCure wrote:
There you go again with that dodgy apostrophe bob. its = belonging to it. it's = abbreviation of it is or it has. its' = ... er... nothing... doesn't make sense. HTH

Yes it does, if there are several its, and they possess something.

 
crissdee
716535.  Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:30 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
While we probably wouldn't say "The Fijis" or "The Tongas" today, they absolutely did say things like that in the Victorian era. Somewhere in Sherlock Holmes, one of the characters accepts a job in The Brazils.


Utterly superflous point, but I like a chance to demonstrate my Holmes scholarship/anal retentiveness. Jonathan Small, in "The Sign of Four" was heading for his ship;
"the Esmeralda, at Gravesend, outward bound for the Brazils."

I must hurry, for the game is afoot!

 
Spud McLaren
716541.  Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:36 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
CynicCure wrote:
There you go again with that dodgy apostrophe bob. its = belonging to it. it's = abbreviation of it is or it has. its' = ... er... nothing... doesn't make sense. HTH

Yes it does, if there are several its, and they possess something.
If there are several its and they possess something then they're they and what they possess is theirs.

 
CynicCure
716869.  Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:44 am Reply with quote

Cheers Spud - almost made the same point myself but decided not to bother. Of course John is correct, but only insofar as this passage from a so-far-unwritten E. Nesbit story can be said to be correct...

"Five children and it were out playing one day when they met another five children and another it. It turned out that the two its were brother and sister. That evening the its' mother fed them baked beans for tea."

Contrived or what?

 
MinervaMoon
716870.  Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:51 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
While we probably wouldn't say "The Fijis" or "The Tongas" today, they absolutely did say things like that in the Victorian era. Somewhere in Sherlock Holmes, one of the characters accepts a job in The Brazils.

I was reading a book last night which referred to acquiring the Virgins from Denmark.

 
orablu
716886.  Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:56 am Reply with quote

so if orkney is the plural, what's the singular form?

 
suze
716933.  Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:04 pm Reply with quote

The singular is Orkney as well. In Old Norse the archipelago was called Orkneyjar, which is a plural, but in English the plural ending (-jar) has been dropped.

People in Orkney and Shetland tend to use "Faroe" for another group of islands in that general area, but they needn't - the Faroese do use the plural form Føroyar to refer to their islands, although they never use the definite article with it.

 
gvigary
720008.  Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:16 am Reply with quote

Spud McLaren wrote:
mckeonj wrote:
CynicCure wrote:
There you go again with that dodgy apostrophe bob. its = belonging to it. it's = abbreviation of it is or it has. its' = ... er... nothing... doesn't make sense. HTH

Yes it does, if there are several its, and they possess something.
If there are several its and they possess something then they're they and what they possess is theirs.


How about as in "belonging to its"? As in:
Linguistic examples often have convoluted structures. Most such structures have their flaws, and this example is particularly aware of its'.

 
Spud McLaren
720181.  Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:31 pm Reply with quote

This is the short form of and this example is particularly aware of its own; so no apostrophe is needed at all.

 

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