What is the plural of syntax? Would it be syntacies? What rule would govern this kind of construction?
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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, jwpat7, Jasper Loy, RegDwigнt♦ Apr 25 '12 at 8:45
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As FumbleFingers has commented, the plural is syntaxes.
That's probably because the normal plural -es is added to the root word, or it may possibly be because the Greek/Late Latin word from which syntax is derived is syntaxis and Greek words ending in -is are pluralised with -es.
If we were to create a spoof plural for syntax it would be syntaces (words ending -x get -ces; the preceding vowel can change as in index/indices). But no-one uses that, or would know what it meant.
An erroneous plural, which I offer for comparison is:
It has a rough comparability in frequency to the less exotic, more naturally English sounding 'syntaxes'.
This is erroneous as a plural of 'syntax' because it is a linguistic term having to do with rule based things but it is not a word to describe a multiplicity of a collection of rules. 'Syntagma' is a sequence of words that form a syntactic unit (for example, a noun phrase), a -single- syntactic constituent (no rule or rules, the plurality is in the (expected) number of words).
Note: I have no explanation whatsoever of the shifted character of the graphs.