I am a regular editor on Wikipedia and one of the things I do often is dealing with so-called "vandalism". I do this on many different language versions of Wikipedia and found out that in these other languages there are plural forms of the word "vandalism". For example:
- French: "vandalisme" => "vandalismes"
- Italian: "vandalismo" => "vandalismi"
- Hungarian: "vandalizmus" => "vandalizmusok"
I could easily verify these on Wiktionary.
Now, when it comes to the English word "vandalism", I have always come to think of the term as uncountable, because I have almost never encountered the use of "vandalisms" in public usage. But on Wiktionary the entry "vandalism" is listed as this:
vandalism (countable and uncountable, plural vandalisms)
- Willful damage or destruction of any property with no other purpose than damage or destruction of said property.
As we turned down the street I was appalled by the vandalism; spray-paint and smashed windows that were everywhere.
Somehow I find the use of "vandalisms" very unnatural-sounding, yet a Google search quickly proves that such cases do exist:
- Police investigating spate of vandalisms in northwest Lincoln
- Deputies receiving reports of political sign thefts and vandalisms
- Moreno Valley man arrested in connection with more than 100 vandalisms
The first of the above headlines could be written as "spate of vandalism" and not change the meaning, and the second could be "political sign thefts and vandalism" for the same reason. But in the third, "100 vandalism" would just not sound right, yet "100 vandalisms" would sound odd.
All that being said, are there any rules as to when the word "vandalism" and its derived terms could be treated as countable nouns, and vice versa?