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Encyclopedia > Collective noun
English grammar series

English grammar The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For the surname, see Grammer. ... English grammar is a body of rules specifying how meanings are created in English. ...

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In linguistics, a collective noun is a word used to define a group of objects, where "objects" can be people, animals, inanimate things, concepts, or other things. For example, in the phrase "a pride of lions", pride is a collective noun. Disputed English grammar denotes disagreement about whether given constructions constitute correct English. ... Verbs in the English language are a lexically and morphologically distinct part of speech which describes an action, an event, or a state. ... This is a paradigm of English verbs, that is, a set of conjugation tables, for the model regular verbs and for some of the most common irregular verbs. ... English has a large number of irregular verbs. ... In the English language, a modal auxiliary verb is an auxiliary verb (or helping verb) that can modify the grammatical mood (or mode) of a verb. ... In English as in many other languages, the passive voice is the form of a transitive verb whose grammatical subject serves as the patient, receiving the action of the verb. ... The English language once had an extensive declension system similar to modern German or Icelandic. ... The English personal pronouns are classified as follows: First person refers to the speaker(s). ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... A compound is a word composed of more than one free morphemes. ... An honorific is something that is attached to the name but is not normally used elsewhere, e. ... This article is focused mainly on usage of English relative clauses. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ...


Most collective nouns encountered in everyday speech (such as "group") are mundane and are not specific to one kind of constituent object (for example, the uses "group of people", "group of dogs", and "group of ideas" are all correct uses). Others, especially words belonging to the large subset of collective nouns known as terms of venery (words for groups of animals), are specific to one kind of constituent object (for example, "pride" as a term of venery refers to lions— but not to dogs or llamas). (Terms of venery are further discussed in a subsequent section.)


Collective nouns should not be confused with the collective grammatical number. In linguistics, collective number is a number referring to a set of things. ...

Contents

Lexical Collectives

Most languages have some words that are collective by definition, i.e., "pork," "fowl," "garbage," "rubbish," and the names of most fluids in English. Words like this are always uncountable. Many otherwise countable words can be expressed in a collective sense; this is especially true of food in English; however, the amount can be specified through the use of a collective modifier ("much/a lot of," "a little") or a unit ("piece," "molecule," "pound"). A fluid is defined as a substance that continually deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress regardless of the magnitude of the applied stress. ...


Derivational Collectives

Derivation accounts for many collective words. Because derivation is a slower and less productive word formation process than the more overtly syntactical morphological methods, there are fewer collectives formed this way. As with all derived words, derivational collectives often differ semantically from the original words, acquiring new connotations and even new denotations. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... For the more specialised meaning of Connotation in semiotics, see connotation (semiotics). ... This word has distinct meanings in other fields: see denotation (semiotics) and connotation and denotation. ...


The English endings -age and -ade often signify a collective. Sometimes the relationship is easily recognizable: baggage, drainage, blockade. However, even though the etymology is plain to see, the derived words take on quite a special meaning.


German uses the prefix Ge- to create collectives. The root word often undergoes ablaut and suffixation as well as receiving the Ge- prefix. Nearly all nouns created in this way are of neuter gender. Examples include: Look up prefix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, the term ablaut (from German ab- in the sense down, reducing + Laut sound) designates a system of vowel gradations in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages. ... Look up Suffix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, grammatical genders, also called noun classes, are classes of nouns reflected in the behavior of associated words; every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be very few which belong to several classes at once. ...

  • das Gebirge, "group of mountains," from der Berg, "mountain"
  • das Gepäck, "luggage, baggage" from packen, "to pack, bundle"
  • das Geflügel, "fowl, poultry" from der Flug, "flight"
  • das Gedicht, "poem" from dichten, "to verse"

Metonymic merging of grammatical number

Two good examples of collective nouns are "team" and "government", which are both words referring to groups of (usually) people. Both "team" and "government" are count nouns. (Consider: "one team", "two teams", "most teams"; "one government", "two governments", "many governments"). However, confusion often stems from the fact that plural verb forms can often be used with the singular forms of these count nouns (for example: "The team have finished the project"); and, conversely, singular verb forms can often be used with nouns ending in "-s" that were once considered plural (for example: "Physics is my favorite academic subject"). This apparent "number mismatch" is actually a quite natural and logical feature of human language, and its mechanism is a subtle metonymic shift in the thoughts underlying the words. A good example of such a metonymic shift in the singular-to-plural direction is the following sentence: "The team have finished the project." In that sentence, the underlying thought is of the individual members of the team working together to finish the project. Their accomplishment is collective, and the emphasis is not on their individual identities, yet they are at the same time still discrete individuals; the word choice "team have" manages to convey both their collective and discrete identities simultaneously. A good example of such a metonymic shift in the plural-to-singular direction is the following sentence: "Mathematics is my favorite academic subject." The word "mathematics" may have originally been plural in concept, referring to mathematic endeavors, but metonymic shift—that is, the shift in concept from "the endeavors" to "the whole set of endeavors"—produced the usage of "mathematics" as a singular entity taking singular verb forms. (A true mass-noun sense of "mathematics" followed naturally.) In British English, it is generally accepted that collective nouns can take either singular or plural verb forms depending on the context and the metonymic shift that it implies. For example, "the team is in the dressing room" (formal agreement) refers to the team as an ensemble, whilst "the team are fighting among themselves" (notional agreement) refers to the team as individuals. A count noun is a noun which is itself counted, or the units which are used to count it. ... In rhetoric, metonymy is the substitution of one word for another word with which it is associated. ... It has been suggested that Count noun be merged into this article or section. ... British English (BrE, en-GB) is a broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere. ...


In American English, collective nouns usually take singular verb forms (formal agreement). In cases where a metonymic shift would be otherwise revealed nearby, the whole sentence may be recast to avoid the metonymy. (For example, "the team are fighting among themselves" may become "the team members are fighting among themselves" or "the team is fighting [period]".) See American and British English differences - Singular and plural for nouns. For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...


Confounding of collective noun and mass noun

There is often confusion about, and confounding of, the two different concepts of collective noun and mass noun. Generally, collective nouns are not mass (non-count) nouns, but rather are a special subset of count nouns. However, the term "collective noun" is often used to mean "mass noun" (even in some dictionaries), because users confound two different kinds of verb number invariability: (a) that seen with mass nouns such as "water" or "furniture", with which only singular verb forms are used because the constituent matter is grammatically nondiscrete (although it may ["water"] or may not ["furniture"] be etically nondiscrete); and (b) that seen with collective nouns, which is the result of the metonymical shift, discussed earlier, between the group and its (both grammatically and etically) discrete constituents. It has been suggested that Count noun be merged into this article or section. ... A count noun is a noun which is itself counted, or the units which are used to count it. ... Emic and etic are terms used by some in the social sciences and the behavioral sciences to refer to two different kinds of data concerning human behavior. ...


Some words, including "mathematics" and "physics", have developed true mass-noun senses despite having grown from count-noun roots.


Terms of venery (words for groups of animals)

Collective nouns for animals

Other collective nouns See also Collective noun. ... Also see Collective noun The square root signs, √, below signify a widespread usage in both North American English and Commonwealth English. ... ^ shrewdness. ... Also see Collective noun Categories: Lists of collective nouns ... These are lists of collective nouns: List of collective nouns by subject List of collective nouns by subject A-H List of collective nouns by subject I-Z List of collective nouns by collective term List of collective nouns by collective term A-K List of collective nouns by collective...

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The tradition of using collective nouns that are specific to certain kinds of animals stems from an English hunting tradition, dating back to at least the 15th century, in which poetic names were given to specific kinds of prey ("venery" means the hunting of animals). For this reason, there are many collective nouns that refer to animals and many of these original collective nouns are archaic: a "harras of horses" seems to have been used little since the 1400s. Some alternatives for collective nouns can be clearly traced to the evolution of pronunciation in different areas (hence a "parcel of hogs" and a "passel of hogs"). “Hunter” redirects here. ... (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... Events and Trends Categories: 1400s ... Look up pronunciation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Sometimes a term of venery will apply to a group only in a certain context. "Herd" can properly refer to a group of wild horses, but not to a group of domestic horses. A "paddling of ducks" only refers to ducks on water.


Interest in constituent-object-specific collective nouns has always remained high, and the coining of candidate collective nouns has been a pastime (usually humorous) of many writers ever since, including for non-animal nouns, such as professions, e.g., a "sequitur of logicians". This article cites very few or no references or sources. ...


See also

Linguistics

In linguistics, grammatical number is a morphological category characterized by the expression of quantity through inflection or agreement. ... It has been suggested that Count noun be merged into this article or section. ... Measure words, in linguistics, are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate the count of nouns. ... A plurale tantum (plural pluralia tantum) is a noun that appears only in the plural and does not have a singular. ... Synesis is a grammatical term, also known as constructio ad sensum In Latin, a construction in which a word takes the gender or number, not of the word with which it should regularly agree, but of some other word implied in that word. ...

English language

Collective noun List of collective nouns List of collective nouns by subject A-H List of collective nouns by subject I-Z Notes: The phrase An abomination of monks is frequently cited as a legitimate collective noun for monks. ... Collective noun List of collective nouns List of collective nouns by collective term A-K List of collective nouns by collective term L-Z Notes: The phrase An abomination of monks is frequently cited as a legitimate collective noun for monks. ...

Reference

  • Lipton, James. An Exaltation of Larks, or The Venereal Game. Penguin. (First published Grossman Publishers 1968.) (Penguin first reprint 1977 ISBN 0140045368)

in 1993 it was republished in Penguin with The Ultimate Edition as part of the title with the ISBN 0140170960 [1] Hardcover Paperback


External links

The collection of genuine and spurious English collective nouns has proved an interesting diversion for many website writers:


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Noun (548 words)
Nouns have different classes: proper and common, concrete and abstract, count and noncount, and collective.
Collective nouns are especially tricky when you are trying to make verbs and pronouns agree with them.
The reason is that collective nouns can be singular or plural, depending on the behavior of the members of the group.
Collective noun (775 words)
Many of these original collective nouns are archaic: a "harass of horses" doesn't seem to have been used much since the 1400s.
Some alternatives for collective nouns can be clearly traced to the evolution of pronunciation in different areas (hence a "parcel of hogs" and a "passel of hogs").
The all-time champion collective noun is "set", for it can legitimately be used as a collective noun for a vast number of concepts (a set of ideals, plans, ambitions, principles, objectives, mathematical objects, etc) or inanimate (typically manufactured) objects (knives, spoons, keys, dinnerware, manuals, etc).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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