2

According to all dictionaries I've seen the plural spelling of "corps" remains "corps". I guess the plural of "corps" is pronounced the same as the singular, meaning:

  1. (Military) a military formation that comprises two or more divisions and additional support arms
    Collins English Dictionary

So in the sentence:

Three of their panzer corps attacked through the Ardennes and drove northwest to the English Channel.
Dunkirk evacuation

Would sound like "Three of their panzer core attacked ..."?

Another example:

On October 14th, Lieut. Gen. A.P. Hill’s corps stumbled upon two corps of the retreating Union army at Bristoe Station and attacked without proper reconnaissance.
Battle of Bristoe Station

I don't suppose that as "one corps" is pronounced "one core", "two/three corps" is pronounced as "cores"?

2

2 Answers 2

1

Just to clarify, both ‘corps’ and ‘corpse’ are derived ultimately from the Latin ‘corpus’ (plural ‘corpora’) meaning a ‘body’, in both senses of the word. The term ‘corps’ for a particular military unit, spelled and pronounced with a silent final ‘s’, comes from the French, as do several other military terms, such as ‘lieutenant’’ and ‘aide de camp’. In French, single final ‘s’ is generally silent, including the pluralising ‘s’. So ‘un chat’ (one cat), ‘deux’ chats’ (two cats) are both pronounced with a silent final ‘s’. So, in French, ‘un corps’ and ‘deux corps’ are pronounced in the same way. But English the plural final s must be pronounced.

3
  • 1
    Well, if you insist on applying standard English pronunciation to the word and including the s sound, why don't you insist on including the p sound too ? I think this is one example (and there are others, eg aides de camp) where we've borrowed the word from French and kept the pronunciation too. I'm away from my access to OED right now or I'd have a squint at it. Jan 14, 2020 at 11:29
  • 3
    @HighPerformanceMark: well ... if you would condescend to use an ordinary dictionary, there are lots of them online, and they generally seem to say that the 's' is pronounced in the plural, if they say anything about its pronunciation at all. Jan 14, 2020 at 11:46
  • @HighPerformanceMark I obviously did not explain myself well. As you point out, it is the final p as well as the s is silent, and obviously remains silent in the plural. My experience of the pronunciation of the plural of aide de camp is that with the plural, some go one way and pronounce the ‘s’, others leave it silent, and others duck the issue (wisely) and just call them ‘aides’ with the ‘s’ sounded.
    – Tuffy
    Jan 14, 2020 at 13:32
-2

Your guesses are correct. Three of their panzer 'core" attacked. Stumbled upon two "cores".

2
  • 1
    Why are you suggesting "core" for three corps, but "cores" for two corps?
    – AndyT
    Jan 14, 2020 at 12:22
  • Because I think, in that example, the whole unit of "the Panzer corps" is singular ie it's referring to all the various Panzer corps within the Panzer army.
    – Kevin Ryan
    Jan 15, 2020 at 10:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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