Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A question from a young'un

Dear Laura Sybil,
If the plural for mouse is mice and the plural for goose is geese, then why is the plural for moose moose? Shouldn't it be meese? I'm so confused.:)
Sincerely, Confused middle schooler

Dear Confused Middle Schooler,

First of all, I must remind you that I am a parenting guru, and am only pet-peevily interested in grammar. I taught first grade, remember, and that age group is known to say things like brang and bringed. And I live with a bunch of folks who insist on saying "like" every sentence or two (just between you and me, I'm going to buy myself a hand-held buzzer for Christmas so I can buzz the offenders every time they say "like" more than once or twice in a conversation).

So, as a parenting guru, I must ask you, "Where are your parents?" What kind of parent would sink to such depths and have their child write Laura Sybil instead of getting to the bottom of this themselves? Tsk. Tsk. Especially when said parents probably own much more technology than moi and could have found the answer much quicker.

However, I applaud your persistence in getting to the bottom of this. You do indeed ask a universal question. And in a nutshell, the answer seems to be, "It's English. We have no rules and if you think you've figured one out, we'll show you how to break it."

The longer answer is that English was not invented by just one person or people group. (Get it? Person? People?) Instead it is a mixture of many languages, each with their own rules and patterns. And if one or more of those languages does not have consistent rules, then, well, English as a second language learners are in a bit of a pickle.

Take "house" for example. In Old German, the word would be "hus" or "huis" and its plural would be "huses" or "husas". Compare that to the Old German for "mouse" which would be "mus" or "muus" and its plural would be "myys" or "muys". So you see, if the original speakers of these words couldn't figure out how to follow rules, then it would follow that those who copy their words would have even more trouble. Kind of like generational sin. It just spirals out of control after one or two generations. Or something like that.

Since it is possible that this question came up for a school assignment, let me give you a little rhyme which might boost your grade (a little extra credit for creativity never hurt anyone):

Wouldn't it be nice
If these grammar "rules" rang true more than twice?

The plural of mouse is mice
But of house is not hice.

The plural of louse IS lice
But the plural of spouse is not spice.

A bowl or one piece of rice?
Would you like that with some ice?
Slices or just one slice?

You could go to great heights,
And see great sights,
Even pay a great price,
But rarely find a grammar "rule" that fits more than twice.

So go ahead and ask Bryce,
He may be quite precise,
And able to find a "rule" that works thrice!

Sincerely,
Laura Sybil
(You'll let me know if we get an "A", right?)

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