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Re: [OT] The stigma of schema

> Every neuter plural in Greek and Latin (find me an exception!) ends in -a.

My Greek has fallen into complete disrepair, but in Latin, only neuter
plurals of the second and third declension reliably end in "a".  I don't
think there are any neuters of the first declension (which are motly
feminine, with masculine exceptions such as "nauta": sailor).  If there
were, they would end in "-ae".

Neuter plurals of the fourth declension end in "-us".  Examples off head
are "manus": hand and "acu": needle.  I always remember that "anus", in
the fourth declension neuter does *not* mean what the smirking English
speaker first thinks.

Neuter plurals of the fifth declension end in "es".  The most common
example is "re": thing, matter.  Others off-head are "fides": faith and
"spes": hope.

But all that aside, my argument for "schema", "schemata" go beyond respect
for the original language: it includes respect for English.  Rick talks
about the "ta" ending bucking idiom.  English is probably the most
expressive language ever because of its complexity of idiom.  It's not
just a homegeneous complexity like, say that of Finnish, but a
divagating complexity that draws from its many sources, direct or
indirect, forced or affected, including Anglo-Saxon, Norman, Latin, Greek,
East Asia, Sub-saharan Africa, North America, etc.

Efforts to pare this richness to a blond regularity of idiom are quite
dangerous.  Newspeak in Orwell's 1984 is not just about efforts to
place political codes into speech (as the popular press seems to
interpret it).  It's more about the effort to stultify people's
imagination through highly regular idiom.

I see this as a real threat.  And it does seem that the computer
revolution has dangerous tendencies towards Newspeak.

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
4735 East Walnut St, Ste. C, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
XML strategy, XML tools (http://4Suite.org), knowledge management