Tue 16 Sep, 2003 06:13 am
What is the origin of using a family name in the plural to mean all the members, e.g. "The Smiths live on Broad Street"? I've been told that in some languages you make the article plural, but not the last name; in others it's the same as in English, and in other languages it's not possible at all.
mutmut3: I thought of several languages that have different expressions of plural proper names, but I got so fascinated with the pages leafing over on your avatar, that I forgot what I was concentrating on. It is almost like watching goldfish. I'll try again when the hypnotic spell wears off.
mutmut, I think this post might get more responses in the Other Languages forum. I'm going to request that it be moved there.
I agree with Olen. The page turning is hypnotic.
Roberta: I like your avatar, It has a very calming effect. Olen.
Well, as far as I know (and could find out), all germanic languages use the plural form(s), both for article and name.
Same in (most?) romanic languages.
At least in Spanish and Italian, last names are not pluralized, the article is: "Los Simpson", "I Soprano".
Yes, that's right... and in French, les Dupont is used instead of les Duponts. English, as always, has to complicate things with two options: my family could be called The Rosenauer or the Rosenauers, the latter being more common. One must use the latter when it stands at the end of a sentence: There are the Reeveses. When talking possessively, the former (Ayrës) is preferred, "the Ayres' family book"; "The Whelan's ideas". Of course, these are only the "lokale Richtlinien" of the area of England where I live
so it depends on the speaker. Most people speak English incorrectly (for example, he's got rather than he has), so this social bumbling is pointless, really.
By the way, that avatar is quite hypnotising, isn't it? It has unfortunately messed around my eyes.