Questions tagged [i-mutation]

Also called umlaut, this was a process that historically affected the vowels of some words in Germanic languages. In modern English, the effects of umlaut are most easily seen in certain plural forms (the plurals of "goose, foot, man, mouse, louse" are the i-mutated "geese, feet, men, mice, lice").

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Verbs formed from noun or adjective roots by adding -ja-

I know that there exist some verbs which were formed in Proto-Germanic by adding the causative marker -ja- to nouns or adjectives, such as these pairs: doom (noun) > deem (verb) food (noun) > feed (...
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Why is the plural form of “house” not “hice”?

The plural of mouse is mice, and the plural of louse is lice. Why is the plural form of house not hice? According to Merriam-Webster, the word house is already longer in the language, just as mouse ...
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1answer
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Why is the plural form of Moose not Meese? [duplicate]

Is there a reason that Moose becomes Mooses instead of Meese (as in tooth/teeth and foot/feet)
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475 views

Letter E as indication of plural

There is something that is puzzling me: how does etymology explains why the letter E has became a representative of plural? Tooth - Teeth Foot - Feet Man - Men Woman - Women Goose - Geese I ...
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2answers
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“Goose”–“geese” vs. “moose”–“moose” [duplicate]

Why is it that the plural of goose is geese but the plural of moose is moose? The same goes for mouse and house. Mouse becomes mice, yet house becomes houses.
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8answers
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Was “book” to “beek” as “foot” is to “feet”?

"Foot" is a curious word in English because it is pluralized in an unusual way; the "oo" in the word is changed to "ee". Did this once use to be a standard way of pluralizing things in English (or a ...
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4answers
2k views

Pluralization of Germanisms

The German noun "Ansatz" is widely used (at least) in physics and, less frequently, in math texts in English. I have seen it always in singular though and now I must use its (English) plural. The ...
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1answer
3k views

Origin of the word “elder” [closed]

I was wondering if this word is in anyway related to some ancient diety or religion, if so which ?
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3answers
28k views

Why is 'sheep' the same when talking about one or more than one?

I am trying to find out why sheep has the plural sheep. I have found different explanations, such as, "it is because they were seen as uncountable, as in 'a herd of sheep'", "because it comes from ...
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3answers
1k views

Irregular plurals. Leathermans or Leathermen?

Which plural do you use for a word that should have a regular plural but ends with a word that has its own irregular one? The example that made me ask was "leatherman" (the multitool) but there are ...
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6answers
3k views

When is it correct to not use the irregular form for a plural? e.g. mouses vs. mice

I seem to recall that an English teacher somewhere along the course of my education had indicated that when referencing distinct types of a word, e.g. a computer mouse and the mammal, it would be ...
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2answers
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Irregular plurality situations in English

Why do some nouns in English not take the plurality suffix in the plural form? Could you give me a list of plural nouns which don't take "-(e)s" suffix? For example, I know about "fish" and "sheep".