"lion" +/- "-s"

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Oct 27 12:00:08 UTC 2008

Any of my listmates who watched "60 Minutes" last night will have noticed that Scott Pelley, in his segment on Mozambique, employed a zero-plural for 'lions' (consistently, and several times)--or, rather, he regarded "lion" as a mass noun ("the reintroduction of lion into the ecosystem"). The individual he was featuring (an American) likewise referred to groups (or masses) as "hippo," "hyena," and "zebra."

Of course, there's the zero-plural of "deer," by way of analogy, along with optional "elk" and "buffalo." But is there a gereral tendency to do that with (wild) animal names?


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