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    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: AngusOne oxen, two oxens???


    No, the usual configuration for oxen is two per oxcart. One can ride a single horse--I wouldn't try that with a single ox.
  1.  
    Yes - much more well-tempered when married.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018
     
    My question was one of grammar, not oxquestrianism.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: AngusMy question was one of grammar, not oxquestrianism.


    Not quite following you. The choice was between two oxen (as with an oxcart) or riding a saddled horse.

    Of course, it all depends on whose horse is gored...
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018
     
    SorryTM. It was a hangover from this post by TL.

    Posted By: Terry LingleIf you needed to get there for sure you rode va horse or an oxen.
  2.  
    Sorry if that post caused you a hangover Angus.

    While I have never ridden an ox(en) we have thes things called rodeos.
    Apparently bull riding can be likened to getting it on with your wife and at the crittical moment wispering her best friends name:)
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018
     
    I have never tried that..
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018 edited
     
    Child->Children
    Ox->Oxen

    Not exactly the same, but close.

    Good old 12th century English plurals, from a time when the grammar was in flux, with OE declensions being tossed overboard. You can still find "oxes" in some ME literature. I believe that some parts of Great Britain refer to the plural of "child" as "childer" and some souls evidently thought that childer was singular, hence, "childeren".

    Which all goes to 'enry 'iggins' "Why can't the English learn to speak?"
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2018
     
    Online Etym. says

    The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first cild, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form cildru (genitive cildra) arose, probably for clarity's sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as children, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural cildre survives in Lancashire dialect childer
  3.  
    Kind, Kinder in Kraut.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018
     
    I dug out my copy of Weekley. He concurs that "children" is a double plural from the 12th c.

    He also says that "oxen" is the lone survivor of an AS weak noun plural form.

    Another lone survivor is "vixen", the feminine form of "fox", taking the Teutonic (German) suffix.
  4.  
    It's nice to have company when you're the lone survivor.
  5.  
    Ha!
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018 edited
     
    Lone survivor of its class. English after the Battle of Hastings must have been a mess for a couple of centuries at least.

    Not that it was so great before then.
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018
     
    Yeah but it was smaller in those days. then Shakespeare came along and inflated it greatly.
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018
     
    And by the way, if you wonder why lawyers talk funny, some of it is because of the Norman conquest. Somebody thought it would be a good idea to make things really precise by using both the French and Anglo-Saxon terms for things, e.g. cease and desist.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: loremanYeah but it was smaller in those days. then Shakespeare came along and inflated it greatly.


    But we have lost some really useful words like "swa" and "hwæt" that have no equivalents in Modern English.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018 edited
     
    Which is also why, in days past, any lawyer worth his salt was fluent in Latin, because much of Western common law comes from Roman law.

    There are plenty of Latin legal terms, as well as Anglo-Norman, such as "champerty", "barratry", "estover" etc.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018
     
    I'd like to hear from our resident lawyers on this. I always thought the English common law was not derived from Roman law. Wiki says
    the English system of common law developed in parallel to Roman-based civil law, with its practitioners being trained at the Inns of Court in London rather than receiving degrees in Canon or Civil Law at the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge. Elements of Romano-canon law were present in England in the ecclesiastical courts and, less directly, through the development of the equity system. In addition, some concepts from Roman law made their way into the common law. Especially in the early 19th century, English lawyers and judges were willing to borrow rules and ideas from continental jurists and directly from Roman law.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2018
     
    I've been struggling to remember an old film where a witness, not being conversant in English, gives testimony in the only common language shared with the court--Latin.

    Anyone recall it?