associative plurals

Frans Plank Frans.Plank at UNI-KONSTANZ.DE
Mon Sep 3 16:13:03 UTC 2001

>It is also new
>information to us that in German, the use versus non-use of the plural
>suffix differentiates between "the Smiths" and "the Newtons".

Gideon may have a point here;  but on the evidence he gives himself, it's
more complicated:
it's invariably S-plural for members of the family (die von Bismarck-s,
Grimm-s, Goethe-s, Luther-s, Panini-s, Goldenberg-s, Moravcsik-s,
Shakespeare-s, Sokrates-s > Sokrates' (as a family name) )
vs. either zero or -e (probably phonologically conditioned: vowel/sonorant
vs elsewhere) for "the likes of".  But I'm not sure I'm NOT also getting
the "the likes of" reading for certain S-forms.



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