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Octopodes

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exnihilo
260575.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:53 pm Reply with quote

Except that it is, or at least a valid alternative to octopuses, as has been discussed at length before now.

 
General_Woundwort
260591.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:21 pm Reply with quote

Point taken. But where does it end, I took Stephen to be saying. At some point the word in English, even if it's from Gaelic or German or Malay, takes on English rules.

If anything, the Latin would be octopedes. Even much of actual Latin in English often sounds odd when pluralized, such as fora. I see the one about hippos has been done to death. At least octopi would be correct if the word were 2nd declension Latin. Other cringworthy attempts I've heard include prospecti - shurely prospectus-with-macron - and, shudderingly, rhinoceri.

 
Flash
260623.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:15 pm Reply with quote

General_Woundwort wrote:
If anything, the Latin would be octopedes.

Though the etymology is from the Greek, rather than the Latin, isn't it? "Pous"=foot.

The pedants' option for rhinoceroses is said (by Liddell & Scott) to be rhinocerotes.

 
exnihilo
260667.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:36 pm Reply with quote

Indeed it is from Greek. All those other -i endings the general cites are also of non Latin origin - as also discussed elsewhere - and would not, therefore pluralise in that way if one was attempting to be true to their roots. I, however, am very much with suze on this one, the standard English plural need not follow the rules of the root language, and it is often better that it not. They do remain valid, though.

 
General_Woundwort
260713.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:11 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Though the etymology is from the Greek, rather than the Latin, isn't it? "Pous"=foot.


Rather, my point was that if there *were* a Latin word for an eight-legged cephalopod, it would more sensibly be octopes and the plural octopedes. But it's octopus, from the Greek, so its plural is more sensibly octopodes or, better, octopuses.

Is prospectus not Latin, but 4th declension so, if one were being pedantic, its plural would be propectus with macron? Same for campus.

 
Davini994
260769.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:34 pm Reply with quote

I've just watched the repeat, and Stephen said Octopuses, and talked about octopodes and a literal translation as a second choice. So he said exactly what the same as Suze.


Last edited by Davini994 on Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
96aelw
260774.  Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:44 pm Reply with quote

General_Woundwort wrote:
Is prospectus not Latin, but 4th declension so, if one were being pedantic, its plural would be propectus with macron? Same for campus.


Prospectus is indeed 4th, but campus is 2nd.

 
exnihilo
262468.  Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:35 pm Reply with quote

I do beg your pardon, I must have read over too quickly, prospectus is indeed Latin. Ahem. However, as I was saying it should be pluralised to prospectuses in English, all's broadly well.

 
Prof Wind Up Merchant
265515.  Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:51 pm Reply with quote

I need help here to clear something up. What is the actual plural of the word Octopus?

a. Octopuses
b. Octopi
c. Octopodes

I confuzed!

 
suze
265527.  Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:10 pm Reply with quote

In one word, octopuses.

 
mrpip
391325.  Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:31 pm Reply with quote

Prof Wind Up Merchant wrote:
I need help here to clear something up. What is the actual plural of the word Octopus?

a. Octopuses
b. Octopi
c. Octopodes

I confuzed!


Both a and c. Never B.

Incidentally, watching the repeat on BBC2 tonight, I noticed yet another error in Stephen's commentary (quite apart from him calling the octopus arm a 'tentacle', which it isn't.) He claimed that octopuses don't 'have a brain' as such. They do. It's a partial donut shape and the stomach falls through it (it's situated in the mantle). Quite a bit of the neural system is, however, decentralised (today's best estimate is around 40%). We still aren't sure exactly how intelligent they are - it may be comparable to a hamster, or to a human, we don't know. Perhaps Douglas Adams in saying dolphins were the second most intelligent animals on Earth.

Another thing in the programme which was incorrect was Stephen claiming that octopuses can be trained to distinguish between colours. Incorrect again: all available evidence seems to indicate that they are colourblind (but apart from this they enjoy near identical sight to humans, and can also distinguish between different polarisation levels). And finally - shockingly - Stephen recited the common misconception that octopuses have very bad memories.

The simple fact is that octopuses have excellent memories for their very short lifespan. (All cephalopods enter senescence during their mating period at the age of no more than a couple of years, except the nautilus, which can regenerate its gonads and therefore live for up to 20 years.) They can learn (very quickly) to perform complex tasks such as opening a jar, playing games and writing complicated scientific theses (OK, I'm not so sure about that last one). They will remember these, despite what your mother always said. Some people who keep octopuses as pets (yes, really) often play with them and enjoy an intelligent relationship with them.

Octopuses seem to be equally happy in the wild and in a reasonable captive environment, and people do sometimes keep them as pets. They need a tank with at least thirty gallons of water, and the tank must be sealed to prevent escape, because octopuses can and will escape from the tank (they'll live as long as their gills remain wet).

With regards to animal cruelty laws, I believe it's those of the taxonomical designation Octopoda which are given 'honorary vertebrate' status in the UK. This obviously includes O. vulgaris, but I believe it may exclude E. cirrhosa. Correct me if I'm wrong

 
RLDavies
392727.  Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:54 am Reply with quote

The recent survey of octopuses in Sea Life Centres across Britain has confirmed that they have two legs and six arms. The two hindmost limbs are used for locomotion, and the others for exploring and manipulating the environment.

The original point of the survey was to see if octopuses show signs of handedness, to which the answer seems to be no. They do, however, prefer to use the third-from-the-front limb to feed themselves.

 
Arcane
392736.  Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:06 am Reply with quote

From what little research I undertook, Octopodes seems to be considered most correct, it's oft quoted that Octupus comes from Latinised Greek.

This linky may help a little.

 
Sian.martin
994301.  Mon May 06, 2013 1:38 pm Reply with quote

The scientific name is Octopoda, plural octopodes. So if you're going by the common name octopus, octopuses should be fine.

It all depends on whether you're using taxonomic terms.

 
Jenny
994350.  Mon May 06, 2013 4:05 pm Reply with quote

Good point. Welcome to the forums Sian.martin :-)

 

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