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Old Friday 24th November 2006, 22:26   #1
Terry O'Nolley
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Question What is the proper plural for Canada Goose & Tufted Titmouse?

I saw one Canada Goose.

I saw two.....
1. Canada Gooses
2. Canada Geese
3. Canadian Gooses
4. Canadian Geese

I saw one Tufted Titmouse.

I saw two.....
1. Tufted Titmouses
2. Tufted Titmice

I know "geese" is the plural of "goose". But does that hold true for a term like "Canada Goose" which isn't a generic term - it is a proper name. So it seems like "geese" isn't correct.

And what about Tufted Titmouse? THe plural for "mouse" is "mice" but, again, Tufted Titmouse is a proper noun - not a generic term and a Tufted Titmouse is not a mouse so should the plural "Tufted Titmce" be used?
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 02:12   #2
Katy Penland
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I've only ever heard "Canada (never "Canadian") geese" and "titmice" used for the plurals.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 02:15   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katy Penland
I've only ever heard "Canada (never "Canadian") geese" and "titmice" used for the plurals.
Same here.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 06:33   #4
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Agreed. 'Canadian' Goose/Geese is an abomination, and I have never understood the 'mice' bit of Titmice anyway - why not just 'Tit'?
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 12:58   #5
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The Titmouse is only distantly related to the Tits and/or Chickadees but is not in the same genus, although it once was. According to The Dictionary of American Bird Names by E. Choate, "Titmouse" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon "masse" meaning "small bird" as does the word "tit" which means little or small. Therefore the common name titmouse is redundant! He also states that the true plural should be "titmouses" but due to confusion with mouse, it is titmice. I alsways thought the name referred to coloration such as mouse-colored, something all titmoose, uh... titmeese, er.. titmices share.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 17:16   #6
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Canadas Goose, Tufted Breastmouse
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 17:22   #7
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Ooh, that clever!
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 19:17   #8
David FG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek
Canadas Goose, Tufted Breastmouse
Somehow 'Tufted Breastmouse' has made me think of a completely different subject.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2006, 21:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek
Tufted Breastmouse
That just sounds wrong - in so many great ways
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 00:00   #10
Keith Reeder
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Personally I tend to think in terms of "titmouse" for the singlular and plural, as with sheep and fish.

"A flock of titmouse" sounds right to me.

Rightly or wrongly, I also do this with dotterel, snipe, albatross, curlew, whimbrel, stint, smew, goldeneye, mallard, gadwall, pintail, teal and so on.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 02:21   #11
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I'd agree with Keith as Titmice just doesn't ring right somehow and puts the emphasis more on Mice than the intended flock of Birds. Though with Canada Geese it's a different thing, to my mind, Geese is what I always use and what sounds right, Canada Goose for plural just doesn't sound right.

I'd also agree with all Keith's other plurals, far better. I think most Duck sounds far more right when using the singular i.e. 17 Mallard. Come to think of it isn't it possible to use the singular for all Birds, though maybe not with Blackbirds etc.

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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 04:01   #12
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Interesting, I've never heard anything other than Canadian Geese, or Canadian Goose.

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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 05:04   #13
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It is one of those oddities of common names. We don't say "America Kestrel" or "America Crow" so why shouldn't it be "Canadian Goose"? Weird, but for some reason it just isn't. Maybe someone will know and can enlighten all of us...?
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 05:16   #14
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According to this web site, the plural would be Canada Geese.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goose.
In other words, of all the Canadian geese, the best known is the Canada Goose.

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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 06:02   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katy Penland
It is one of those oddities of common names. We don't say "America Kestrel" or "America Crow" so why shouldn't it be "Canadian Goose"? Weird, but for some reason it just isn't. Maybe someone will know and can enlighten all of us...?

But we (or rather mostly you) do say Florida Scrub Jay and Carolina Wren.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 07:53   #16
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I may not be very clever. It took me months of living in Europe to get over Great Tits. Now that I can refer to them with a straight face, it's my wife who gets a laugh when I do.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 08:41   #17
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This thread reminds me of an argument my husband and I had over the plural of Mongoose and we eventually decided it was "Mongooses" as nothing to do with a goose. So I would say Canada Geese and Titmouses (although I know hubby would argue the latter but def not "titmice"!!

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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 15:09   #18
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In simplest terms, it's Canada Goose because that's what it was named just as in Canada Jay or Canada Warbler. With the American Kestrel there is also European Kestrel.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 15:56   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry O'Nolley
I saw one Canada Goose.

I saw two.....
1. Canada Gooses
2. Canada Geese
3. Canadian Gooses
4. Canadian Geese

I saw one Tufted Titmouse.

I saw two.....
1. Tufted Titmouses
2. Tufted Titmice

I know "geese" is the plural of "goose". But does that hold true for a term like "Canada Goose" which isn't a generic term - it is a proper name. So it seems like "geese" isn't correct.

And what about Tufted Titmouse? The plural for "mouse" is "mice" but, again, Tufted Titmouse is a proper noun - not a generic term and a Tufted Titmouse is not a mouse so should the plural "Tufted Titmce" be used?
Trust an English teacher (and the OED)...!

(-;

Canada geese

Titmice

Keith's point about using the singular form as the plural works for some species, e.g. "There are six sparrowhawk[s] in the air." but you could not say, "There are six titmouse in the wood." Titmice it has to be.

But the plural of the pointing device you are now holding in your hand is...?

Btw, the phrase "tufted titmouse" is not a proper noun; it is a common noun and requires to be written with initial lower case letters. Now, if you had a pet titmouse called Eric, then "Eric", with a capitalised "E" is the proper noun, i.e. the given name for a specific individual within a species.
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Last edited by scampo : Sunday 26th November 2006 at 16:01.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 16:47   #20
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or ,when seeing two titmice..mouses.. meeces.. mooses,simply say, theres a titmouse.....and theres another one.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 16:57   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
Trust an English teacher (and the OED)...!

(-;

Canada geese

Titmice

Keith's point about using the singular form as the plural works for some species, e.g. "There are six sparrowhawk[s] in the air." but you could not say, "There are six titmouse in the wood." Titmice it has to be.

But the plural of the pointing device you are now holding in your hand is...?

Btw, the phrase "tufted titmouse" is not a proper noun; it is a common noun and requires to be written with initial lower case letters. Now, if you had a pet titmouse called Eric, then "Eric", with a capitalised "E" is the proper noun, i.e. the given name for a specific individual within a species.
Ok Steve, I trust you. But why, if titmouse plural is "titmice", isn't mongoose plural "mongeese"? I spent days persuading my husband it is mongooses. Why not titmouses? Ok, the OED says so. English Language ....... I despair!!!!

Cheers

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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 17:19   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo

Btw, the phrase "tufted titmouse" is not a proper noun; it is a common noun and requires to be written with initial lower case letters. Now, if you had a pet titmouse called Eric, then "Eric", with a capitalised "E" is the proper noun, i.e. the given name for a specific individual within a species.
Why? I seem to remember quite a while ago that there was a discussion about this and I think that by convention, bird (and indeed other animal and plant/fungi etc) species are capitalized, so although one would write 'there are several species of duck out there', one would write, 'there are 20 Tufted Duck out there'.

A quick trawl through the books on my shelves (not, I must confess, a very scientific study on my part, but I am not going to spend hours on the task) bears my instinct out on this.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 17:37   #23
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There is controversy about the capitalization of common names.
AOU requires capitalization and I think it is the general practice in the birding community.
But many literary editors, botanists and general biologists do not capitalize common names or the species part of the latin name. Except where they contain proper nouns, i.e. Canada goose.
I believe it is practical to capitalize for clarity.

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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 18:35   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerine
Ok Steve, I trust you. But why, if titmouse plural is "titmice", isn't mongoose plural "mongeese"? I spent days persuading my husband it is mongooses. Why not titmouses? Ok, the OED says so. English Language ....... I despair!!!!

Cheers

Nerine
Mongoose is a loan word from Marathi, an Indian language. The Marathi word mangus has been corrupted into mongoose in English so the plural is mongooses.

David
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Old Sunday 26th November 2006, 18:44   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David FG
Why? I seem to remember quite a while ago that there was a discussion about this and I think that by convention, bird (and indeed other animal and plant/fungi etc) species are capitalized, so although one would write 'there are several species of duck out there', one would write, 'there are 20 Tufted Duck out there'.

A quick trawl through the books on my shelves (not, I must confess, a very scientific study on my part, but I am not going to spend hours on the task) bears my instinct out on this.
There was a discussion about a year ago and it led nowhere much - but the standard English grammatical convention is perfectly clear, whatever idiosyncracies or instincts exist. This is that a proper name is an individual given name, whether it is a person, place, building, bird or anything else. A proper noun - some call it a naming noun - is always given an initial capital letter to distinguish it as an individual within a group. Common nouns are not capitalised.

If a part of a bird's name is borrowed from a proper noun, then it should retain its inital capitalisation, e.g. Eleanora's falcon. Some authorities choose to break with the convention and give initial capitals to all bird names. How this saves confusion, I do not know, although there are a very few occasions when it can help clarity, but these are rare and really quite obvious anyway; I rather think it's just one of those things - after all, English is about usage, not rules (but conventions are there for a useful purpose nonetheless). I don't know which guide you looked at but it varies. The Collins' guide does capitalise, I notice, choosing a non-standard approach.
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