Singular plurals

In Chicago, we have a very special way of speaking English. That’s right. Da Mayor’s English, with its dems [them] and dose [those]. However, in Chicago, each neighborhood also has its own dialect. In some cases, you can tell from which neighborhood, or parish in the old days, someone hails. But my favorite topic of all grammatical points in the study of Da Mayor’s English is the formation of plurals. This may vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, the plural of the pronoun “you” in the Queen’s English is “you.” On the Southside, however, the plural is “youse guys,” but no one knows the correct spelling because it’s only used in conversation and has the unique power to include males and/or females. My other favorite formation of a plural is derived from “man.” In certain neighborhoods, one male is a “man.” Two or three males are “men.” Four or five males are “mens.” More than five males are “menses” (two syllables), as in “Hey, all y’all. There’s ten menses on the corner.” The logic of this is just so … well, so logical. Sometimes, a plural form is made where none exists: Soldier Field becomes Soldiers Field. On the other hand, some plural words inadvertently become singular: “I’m going to the Cub game.” And of course, the plural of “police” is “polices” (three syllables), as in “The polices asked me how many feet are in a yard and I said, ‘It depends on how many peoples are in the yard!'”

There are twenty feets on the corner!

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.