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Thread: Collective Nouns

  1. #1
    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Collective Nouns



    Sometimes when we have nothing better to do at work, my friend Grace and I try to think of collective nouns. Sometimes we find real but obscure ones, like

    a murder of crows
    a parliament of owls

    and sometimes we make up silly ones like

    a disobedience of schoolchildren
    a sulk (or an angst) of teenagers
    a shush of librarians
    a hop of bunnies.

    So I have two questions. Is English the only language that has so many specific collective nouns? Do you know (or can you make up) any good ones?

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    Regular Member Void's Avatar
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    Could you? please? kindly explain what they mean?
    ... and i always will...

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    No problem Void! They are words used to describe a group of something. Like a group of lions is a pride, a group of sheep is a flock, or cattle is a herd. In English we have really obscure ones for different animals - no-one really uses them, but I think they are interesting. What do you have in Russian?

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    Chukchi Salmon
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    an arm of flowers
    a snake of a battle formation ֐w
    a bundle of wind/rain/light
    nine cows' hair ㋍
    five towns' fog ܗ
    --------------------
    As for the English examples, I also find them interesting in that they exist but are not used often. Perhaps they are calques from another language, or a histirical trend that went out of fashion such as pithy quotes ?

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    Regular Member Sensuikan San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    Sometimes when we have nothing better to do at work, my friend Grace and I try to think of collective nouns. Sometimes we find real but obscure ones, like

    a murder of crows
    a parliament of owls

    and sometimes we make up silly ones like

    a disobedience of schoolchildren
    a sulk (or an angst) of teenagers
    a shush of librarians
    a hop of bunnies.

    So I have two questions. Is English the only language that has so many specific collective nouns? Do you know (or can you make up) any good ones?
    I got this one from one of the "Inspector Morse" TV dramas some years ago ...

    ... how about .... a body of pathologists....?



    W
    If you haven't been a Communist by the time you're 40 - then you don't have a heart.

    If you're still a Communist after the age of forty - you don't have a head ....

    (Denis Healey)

    If you're still a communist after the age of sixty ... you're coming to your senses again ....

    (Sensuikan San)

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    Regular Member Void's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    No problem Void! They are words used to describe a group of something. Like a group of lions is a pride, a group of sheep is a flock, or cattle is a herd. In English we have really obscure ones for different animals - no-one really uses them, but I think they are interesting. What do you have in Russian?
    i mean, i know what a collective noun is, i just don`t know what the phrases you brought mean. Are they to understand literally?

    we do have differen collective nouns for groups of animals (flock, pack, pride and such)

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    Chukchi Salmon
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    Here's a good one; a host of guests.

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void
    i mean, i know what a collective noun is, i just don`t know what the phrases you brought mean. Are they to understand literally?

    we do have differen collective nouns for groups of animals (flock, pack, pride and such)
    Sorry Void. Well, I don't suppose they mean anything literally. But I think the nouns that are used are supposed to fit somehow with the thing being counted. Like 'murder' works for crows because they are thought to be dark and sinister creatures. I found this wiki article that gives some background - I learnt a lot from it! And for the ones we made up, they show some character of the group - like teenagers are sulky.

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    Chukchi Salmon
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    I also like the well-known school of fish. It gives the impression of very hard working, young minds all after the ever evasive academic excellence. Fish are also known to be good for brain development in young kids - I think that has become a myth, more thought of as a trick to trick kids to eat fish that might not be to their tastes tamed to McD's and mozzarella cheese. But it would be more difficult to devour the thinking fish moving in neat formation so full of life and passion !

    An eager school of fish, fresh, lively, and learning !

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    But look at that shiver of sharks gliding up behind them! *sinister sawing Jaws-like violin music*

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    Chukchi Salmon
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    That's okay, Tuyoiko, for we the brownies are always prepared !
    Girl Scouts not afraid of Jaws

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Correct collective noun: a pack of girl scouts

    Fun collective noun: a knot of girl scouts?

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    Chukchi Salmon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    Correct collective noun: a pack of girl scouts

    Fun collective noun: a knot of girl scouts?
    Okay, Tsuyoi ! You win !
    I admit I had drifted away from topic. A pack ? (not wolves !) A knot ? (not pine !) How about a rope of girl scouts ? A braid of girl scouts ?

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Braid is good. You can have "a braid of Tsuyoikos", 'cos more often than not that is how I have my hair! And according to the wiki article, you can sometimes use collective nouns for singular objects, even though it sounds paradoxical. How about "a lexicon of lexicos"?

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    Regular Member Void's Avatar
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    Tsuyoiko, thanks for the link

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    No problem, it's a good link, ne?

    Here's one for you - "a singularity of Voids" (or should that be Den4s? )

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    Regular Member Void's Avatar
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    Maybe vacancy of Voids or vacuty of Voids

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    Regular Member Sensuikan San's Avatar
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    I've always been confused with a "pair" of pants!

    Goddammit! ... when I put "them" on ... there's only ONE!

    :homer:

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensuikan San
    I've always been confused with a "pair" of pants!

    Goddammit! ... when I put "them" on ... there's only ONE!

    :homer:

    John
    Nice one! "half a knicker" no use to anyone...

    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    I admit I had drifted away from topic. A pack ? (not wolves !) A knot ? (not pine !) How about a rope of girl scouts ? A braid of girl scouts ?
    .... and Lexico goes bondage......

    A miasma of mosquitos?
    A billycan of Sensuikan-san's?
    la-la-la-la-la... this gets all rather campingish...

  20. #20
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    An aqualung of Sen-sans

    A j-pop of Kinsaos

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    A j-pop of Kinsaos
    What a truly awful thought.

    A warren of Tsuyoikos?

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    Chukchi Salmon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao
    Nice one! "half a knicker" no use to anyone...
    I'd say two leathered half a knickers with a butt piece would work rather well for the cowboy or cowgirl in the sweat of summers.
    .... and Lexico goes bondage......
    Sounds like some sensuality of a sensie imagination of kinsaos.
    A miasma of mosquitos?
    A billycan of Sensuikan-san's?
    la-la-la-la-la... this gets all rather campingish...
    ... a warparty of dancing druids circling round a bonfire upon a tallrise of a wickerman-ful of wickered men, women, and children.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    I'd say two leathered half a knickers with a butt piece would work rather well for the cowboy or cowgirl in the sweat of summers.
    Sounds like some sensuality of a sensie imagination of kinsaos.
    lmao... ... You were the one talking of a knot of girl scouts...

    Some genuine collective nouns:

    A malapertness of pedlars
    A murmuration of starlings
    A wilderness of monkeys
    A chattering of choughs
    A bench of bishops
    A barren of mules
    A pontification of priests
    A rag of colts
    An exaltation of larks
    A drift of swine
    A drunkship of cobblers
    A glozing of taverners (!)
    A nye of pheasants

    How about a paroxysm of politicians?

    And, since we seem to be turning personal, , can you imagine a hexagon of Lexicos, a yodel of Tsuyoikos (can you yodel?), a sensuality of Sensuikan-sans, a vacuum of Voids?

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    Regular Member Sensuikan San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    An aqualung of Sen-sans
    We have to stop meeting like this ...! You're gonna confuse everybody with these private jokes!

    I'm a Warchild, remember! (Too old to rock and roll, I confess ...but too young to die!)

    ....Gotta go back to CNN and keep up my Stormwatch! (Wild Horses wouldn't keep me away!)

    W

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    Regular Member Sensuikan San's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao
    ...a sensuality of Sensuikan-sans...

    I rather like that!
    :hat: (Been dying to use that 'smiley' for months!!!!)

    Funny ... I don't think (but may be corrected...) ... that any one has mentioned a tissue of lies...?

    I thought it might pair off well with Kinsao's "paroxysm of politicians" !

    John

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