Plural Episema
  • What's correct? Episema, episemata, episemas? All of the above??
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,838
    Should be episemai in Greek. Episemas in English.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,838
    No, wait, you're right. Third declension. Episemata in Gk.
  • Hence my confusion! ;) In non musical contexts, it looks like episema is already the plural of episemon.
  • And, in Latin, episemae.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,206
    In American English: thingies.
  • Priestboi
    Posts: 153
    In South African English rendered stuffs/shtuffs or or a local Afrikaans variant "goeters" (thingies)

    I always thought that the plural was epismata, but that is my anglo-cino-afro-English biases coming through :)
  • The correct plural should be is that of the language of origin.
    It is either episemata or episemae.
    If it is indeed Greek, then the former.
  • The correct plural should be is that of the language of origin.
    It is either episemata or episemae.
    If it is indeed Greek, then the former.


    No, the correct plural is the plural in the language you are speaking. The plural of troika in English is troikas, notwithstanding that in Russian it is тро́йки ("troiki").

    As it happens the plural of episema in Latin is episemata (it is a 3rd-declension noun, gen. episematis, much like dogma). The same is true in Greek. Since English tends to allow (but not demand) Latinate plurals (data, appendices, alumnae, octopi) and some Greek plurals (phenomena, stomata), we are left with two options for the plural: episemas, following standard construction of plurals; and episemata, respecting the original language(s).
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Elmar
  • Munching on popcorn.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,206
    Thingies, I tells y'all.
  • So like St. Francis and Padre Pio having the stigmas?
  • Mark -

    I am impressed with and thankful for your linguistic scholarship, but not your assertions as to the non-use of foreign plurals and such in English. The correct plural remains that of the word's original tongue. Concerning your example, troika, the only person who would paste an English plural onto it instead of saying troiki would be one who knew no better. Phenomenon-phenomena is another good example, and there are any number of others that one could put forth. If I am writing about a certain Buxtehude praeludium and include more than one in my writing I write praeludia, not 'praeludiums'. This is true of all usage of foreign words in an English context. Notwithstanding that there are foreign words here and there that have become so common in English usage, have in fact become English words (such as 'opera-operas' - and you may argue that troika is one of these), that this rule may not apply to them - at least not colloquially. Otherwise, if I don't know the correct plural of a given foreign word it behooves me not to use that word, that verbum or those verba. We do not speak of Schubert 'lieds', but of Schubert lieder. Nor do we ply the river Loire to see 'chateaus', but chateaux.

    Episemata it is!

    Perhaps a good rule of thumb would be that if a word of foreign origin is so common in English usage that it no longer requires italics then we may paste an 's' onto it.
    So (in borderline cases) - choose either episemata or episemas.
  • gotcha. Like the Maguses following the star.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,206
    That's the Wise Guyz to you.

    And the plural of beef is beeves.
  • and the singular of sleeves is sleef.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • ...and the plural of grief is grieves (not to be confused with greaves).
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • ok, we are wayyyyy off topic now, so maybe OK if I mention this.
    a friend of mine once wrote
    The plural of mouse is mice;
    The plural of louse is lice.
    The plural of house is hice;
    The plural of spouse is ....


    well, she was only 15 at the time.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 191
    I did once have a singer refer to them as "emphysemas."
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,420
    if I don't know the correct plural of a given foreign word it behooves me not to use that word
    This sounds like a good rule but only works if one is fully aware of the extent of one's ignorance: the late Joseph Kerman dropped a couple of notches in my estimation when his editor allowed him to add an -en instead of an -s to Urtext (Texte being the German plural).

    But I'll think of MJO next time someone uses gong-gong in an English sentence ;-)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,651
    Just to stoke the fires a bit more, readers might consider that the word "episema" comes directly from the singular Greek επισημαινω or simply ἐπίσημον - from ἐπί (epí, “above”) + σῆμα (sêma, “sign”). This suggests to me that what got called "episema" (in chant notation) is, in fact, the plural of what is usually called "episemon" - much as "opera" is the plural of "opus" - and is already a plural that in modern vernacular is construed as singular.
  • Richard -

    Excuse my ignorance, but what is gong-gong, and what language is it, and what is its plural - just in case I should ever want to use it. Is this the same as the obstreperous Chinese river god?

    Speaking of Joseph Kerman, his Write All These Down is one of my favourite books, being a variety of essays on everything from music criticism, renaissance English masters, Beethoven criticism, and classical opera. Exquisite writing, admirable use of the language! It is surprising indeed that someone of his scholastic standing should have committed the error that you attribute to him.
  • Liddell and Scott have ἐπίσημα, -ατος and ἐπίσημον, -ου, both neuter, with similar meanings (what we should call an "icon" or "logo", or "device" in the sense of a mark). The same construction as ἐπισημαίνω (to mark, indicate, be a symptom) but as nouns.

    So I don't think the Latin word is a plural turned to a singular, I think the singular ἐπίσημα was borrowed directly. Although the plural ἐπίσημα is said to mean "hieroglyphics" in one 3rd century BC (Egyptian) manuscript. Perhaps that's it!

    There are lots of examples of borrowed words for which we in English don't use the native plural. for lots of good reasons. But I like the plural gong-gong, great example, thanks @Ruchard Mix.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,420
    What are, of course, and then you'll be on the right track ;-)

    I just came across a curious passage by Curzio Malaparte (or his translator):
    I looked on the Staatsekretärs- State Secretaries- Böpple and Bühler, in their tight-fitting grey uniforms...

    Kaputt (Marleborough Press 1982 p.79)

    Duden gives (-e, -s), making one start to wonder whether
    Sekretäre = writing desks; Sekretärs = Secretaries?


    As a former undergraduate I agree Kerman is rather at his best in his last books; you might enjoy The Art of the Fugue and I've got Opera and the Morbidity of Music on my to read list.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Richard -

    I would have to know the sense in which you intended gong-gong - or, more precisely, your inflections!
    My internet search yielded the following sets of meanings for this (these) Chinese word(s), each accomplished by different inflections -

    Gong gong =
    1. public, common, communal
    2. husband's father, grandfather, eunuch
    3. god of water, river god (who caused the great flood by angrily banging his head against a wall in an argument with another god).

    Am I missing something?
  • Gong is borrowed from Javanese. In Austronesian languages, the plural is (often) formed by duplication. So following the native plurals and correct rule, one should say gong gong, rather than gongs.
  • post deleted.
  • Colleague in good hotel in Java specified 'two pieces of toast' for breakfast, received one. Second day, assured order understood, still received only one slice. Third day, the same. Finally understood problem and specified 'two pieces toast-toast' - success.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,420
    Perhaps apocryphal, the weak part of the story being the single slice on the first try: in Java one hears late at night "tea!", the second syllable of something you might recognize from an Indian restaurant menu, roti. In rice-eating Java bread is enough of a novelty to be associated with cake, hence a dessert or, as you will discover when the hawker stops, ice cream.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 523
    "Two cheeseburgers, fries and cokes"
    "Pepsi, no coke
    Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, fries, fries, pepsi, pepsi"

    Oh for the 'Not Ready for Prime Time Players" on SNL! :-)
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • For what it's worth, I Just noticed that the Liber uses episema as the plural at the bottom of p. xxv, V, 1.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • For what it's worth....

    Well, that isn't the only thing the Liber is wrong about, is it!

    Whatever the plural of episema is it isn't episema.
    We have pretty well established that it's Latin episemata, or English 'episemas'.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 523
    Why can't it be episema? After all, the plural of sheep is sheep, the plural of fish is fish, etc., etc.
  • Why can't...

    I'm not at all sheepish in pointing out that there is something fishy about your logic BH -
    Because the plural of sheep is sheep,
    the plural of fish is fish,
    and the plural of episema is... episemata.
    (If not episema episema.)
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • speaking of sheep, maybe this issue is just a little fuzzy.

    St Matthew (this is Douay Rheims):
    And Jesus said to them: How many loaves have you?
    But they said: Seven, and a few little fishes.
  • speaking of sheep...
    I think that someone is pulling the wool over our eyes.
    _____________________________________

    King James also has 'fishes' -
    actually the plural of 'fish' can be 'fish' or 'fishes', sort of depending on context - 'fish' is generally more correct, though one might say something like 'the stars are more numerous than all the fishes of the sea.'

    The lake was teeming with fish of many varieties.
    The forest was swarming with elk (or moose..., or deer...., but wolfs wolves, not wolf...)
    But, the gradual was replete with episema episemata, some of which were of doubtful authenticity.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • The gradual was teeming with episema of many varieties.
    The manuscript was swarming with episema.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,258
    The gradual was teeming with episema of many varieties.

    How many varieties of episema are there (other than vertical and horizontal)?

    The manuscript was swarming with episema.

    Many of those are not episema, but the droppings of the flies that had been swarming the scriptorium.
  • Well, I'd say there are two properly so called.

    Plus the use of a horizontal episema on the clivis, which is controversial enough to qualify as a separate use.

    Plus the tie-over-a-bar-line, which could well be called an episema in the sense "above-sign", although it must have a proper name, which I do not know.
  • ...(other than vertical or horizontal)?

    Actually there is only one legitimate 'variety' of episemata, and it happens to be horizontal.
    That other kind, so-called 'vertical', isn't an episema at all, but is a spurious editorial invention which is foreign to any and all paleographic evidence.
    Yet another LIber fallacy.
  • thanks MJO.

    For a second there I was wondering if someone was going to mention a diagonal episema introduced after 1965. whew!
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,206
    maybe we should have emoji episema
  • What is the plural of emoji?
    What is/are emoji?
  • definition per Wikipedia (yes, I know, I know): "ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and Web pages"

    as to the plural... my theory:
    singular: emojus
    plural: emoji

    haha
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,651
    The plural of emoji could perhaps be: emojima?

  • Emojima.... CHG isn't that where the Marines planted a flag in 1945?
  • No no, it's emojimata.

    Actually I had thought that the Emoji were probably a tribe of people living on some remote Japanese island where they adhered to ancient ways of life.
  • >> where they adhered to ancient ways of life

    Solesmes notation?
  • You know, we can thank Solesmes that we're able to have the stupendously digressing discussion in the first place. :D
    Thanked by 1Jenny
  • all in fun. and anyway, a good bit of it has been episematous

    or maybe that would be episematic? episematical? ... never mind.
  • They're all good - episematous, episematic, episematical...
    in other words, 'long and drawn out' -

    as in 'his explanation was tedious and episematic'.
    or 'her paper was well-written, if somewhat episematous'.
    or 'Guizot's history of France compared to more modern approaches to historiography can only be described as turgid and episematical'.
    ________________________________________

    Mme - I see no connexion betwixt 'ancient ways' and 'Solesmes notation'.
    Perhaps you jest?
    St Gall is certainly ancient.
    Solesmes??? Hardly!

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