Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I read a paper today that kept using "multistrata" to describe an object with multiple layers. For example:

I love multistrata cakes.

This sounds wrong to my ear, I think "multistratum" sounds better, even though the plural of stratum is strata. Certainly "multilayer cakes" sounds better than "multilayers cakes", which is the analogue to "multistratum" and "multistrata".

Are there definitive rules for forming adjectives from Latin nouns?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

A search in Google suggests that "multi-stratal" is widely used. Another example: "fungal species".

share|improve this answer

Your suggestion using stratum is logically sound, but unfortunately the reality is that it isn't totally consistent. With words that have clearly marked plurals, we can see that we use singular, e.g. multicolor. However, we also have words like the well-established multimedia. The pattern seems to fall apart sometimes in places where the plural is irregular. Not always, but sometimes. (I am sure that is very unsatisfying!)

share|improve this answer

Do you love one multistratum cake, or several multistrata cakes?

share|improve this answer
    
Sorry for the ambiguity - the article I was reading used multistrata as an adjective for both singular and plural nouns. So it would say: I love one multistrata cake and several multistrata cakes! –  Bryan Catanzaro Mar 5 '11 at 1:45

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.