Running Porks

September 4, 2012

When answering queries from non-English language speakers about the oddities of our language, nothing stymies the process more than plural references – particularly when pertaining to animals.

A typical day on the farm illustrates all…

Juan: Senora! The sheeps are escaped!

Me (ever helpful): Sheep. The sheep have escaped….without the ‘s’.

One Sheep…

Two sheep….


Next day:

Juan: Senora! The pig is loose!

Me: PIGS. The PIGS are loose. WITH the ‘S’.

Next Day:

Juan (less confidently, still stewing about the pigs, apparently): Lady, the running pork got out again.

(Obviously he’s found a way to circumvent the entire ‘S’ question. Sorry dude: won’t work….:)

Me: RUNNING PORKS. WITH the ‘s’. Actually, it’s still PIGS – but I like your description better. Let’s round ‘em up!

Next crisis:

Juan: The grain has become full of mouses!

Me (sighing): Mice. The mice have gotten into the grain. No ‘becoming’ involved…

(At this point Juan is smelling a rat…)

Juan (puzzled): Meece?

Me: No, mice.

Juan (thoroughly confused, and now suspecting a rouse on my part): Why ‘sheeps’ then; why not ‘shice’?

Me (issuing disclaimer): Hey – I didn’t INVENT it … I just USE IT!

Juan (resentfully): Why?? Spanish make MUCH more sense.

Me: I know … hey, did you see the neighbors’ new geese?

Juan (superiorly): GOOSES. Yes, I saw neighbors’ new GOOSES. They got through fence and chased our sheeps. And went after mouses, too. Running porks not afraid, though. 

Me (sighing): FINE.

So much for English…hey, if God wanted me to ‘splain English, I’d have been born an English teacher. That’s why I’m a writer. I do much better on paper…

The rural world has enough issues to describe without rampaging sheeps, running porks, gooses, and mousies running off with the English language!

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