Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fretting about -f to -ves pluralization

Here are some presumably rock-solid -ves plurals:

calf - calves, elf - elves, half - halves, knife - knives, leaf - leaves, life - lives, loaf - loaves, self - selves (ourselves, yourselves, themselves), sheaf - sheaves, shelf - shelves, thief - thieves, wolf - wolves, wife - wives
But I've seen 'wifes' and 'knifes' (the latter presumably sponsored by confusion with the verb form). Any Game of Thrones-fan who uses 'direwolfs' should be eaten by one.

Other -ves plurals are less solid:

dwarf - dwarves, roof - rooves, hoof - hooves, scarf - scarves, wharf - wharves
Straight -s plurals for these are very common and even predominant in some cases, e.g., to my slight horror, 'roofs' is almost orthodox in 2017.

We should admit that English is wildly inconsistent about this kind of end-formation. Many important -f words reserve their -ves end-formation for a widely used verb, especially (apparently) where serious ambiguity would result if the -ves form were also used for a plural:

belief - believes, grief - grieves, relief - relieves
But 'leaves' is a very prominent (homophonic) verbal-form for the plural of 'leaf'!

In sum, both polysemy and orthographic irregularity are so extreme in English that the language is a barely functional contraption. Nobody can spell it, and almost nobody can use it verbally for any extended period without errors. The 'Burn It Down!' impulse of 20C Esperantists made a lot of sense.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Update: Under 70 to go from Wright's List

47 The Roaring Twenties Raoul Walsh, 1939
52 The Bank Dick Edward F. Cline, 1940
106 Glen or Glenda? Edward D. Wood Jr., 1953
198 Bitter Harvest Peter Graham Scott, 1963
199 Black Sabbath Mario Bava, 1963
214 First Men in the Moon Nathan Juran, 1964
221 The Pawnbroker Sidney Lumet, 1964
226 Dr Terror's House of Horrors Freddie Francis, 1965
243 Kill Baby, Kill! Mario Bava, 1966
255 In the Heat of the Night Norman Jewison, 1967
290 Vixen! Russ Meyer, 1968
307 Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice? Lee H. Katzin, Bernard Girard, 1969
318 Scream and Scream Again Gordon Hessler, 1970
401 White Lightning Joseph Sargent, 1973
406 Busting Peter Hyams, 1974
474 Death on the Nile John Guillermin, 1978
483 Straight Time Ulu Grosbard, 1978
485 The 36th Chamber of Shaolin Chia-Liang Liu, 1978
524 Cutter's Way Ivan Passer, 1981
535 Sharky's Machine Burt Reynolds, 1981
542 Venom Piers Haggard, 1981
559 Vice Squad Gary Sherman, 1982
560 Xtro Harry Bromley Davenport, 1982
564 Project A Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1983
593 Wheels on Meals Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1984
619 A Chinese Ghost Story Ching Siu-Tung, 1987
643 Dragons Forever Corey Yuen, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1988
644 Ghosts... of the Civil Dead John Hillcoat, 1988
658 The Killer John Woo, 1989
659 Violent Cop Takeshi Kitano, 1989
674 Homicide David Mamet, 1991
676 Johnny Suede Tom DiCillo, 1991
680 Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky Lam Ngai Kai, 1991
683 The People Under the Stairs Wes Craven, 1991
695 Police Story 3: Super Cop Stanley Tong, 1992
698 Romper Stomper Geoffrey Wright, 1992
702 A Man in Uniform David Wellington, 1993
703 Bad Boy Bubby Rolf de Heer, 1993
710 Raining Stones Ken Loach, 1993
712 Suture Scott McGehee, David Siegel, 1993
713 The Legend II Corey Yuen, 1993
720 Fist of Legend Gordon Chan, 1994
728 The Legend of Drunken Master Jackie Chan, Chia-Liang Liu, 1994
750 Small Faces Gillies MacKinnon, 1996
765 Retroactive Louis Morneau, 1997
774 Love Is the Devil John Maybury, 1998
781 The General John Boorman, 1998
784 A Room for Romeo Brass Shane Meadows, 1999
785 American Movie Chris Smith, 1999
800 Wild Zero Tetsuro Takeuchi, 1999
804 Chuck & Buck Miguel Arteta, 2000
812 The Low Down Jamie Thraves, 2000
846 Windy City Heat Bobcat Goldthwait, 2003
849 Born to Fight Panna Rittikrai, 2004
851 Dead Man's Shoes Shane Meadows, 2004
855 Man on Fire Tony Scott, 2004
863 Brick Rian Johnson, 2005
908 Le Donk & Scorz-ayz-ee Shane Meadows, 2009
911 World's Greatest Dad Bobcat Goldthwait, 2009
912 13 Assassins Takashi Miike, 2010
913 Animal Kingdom David Michod, 2010
916 Point Blank Fred CavayƩ, 2010
920 The Town Ben Affleck, 2010
921 The Trip Michael Winterbottom, 2010
922 Bernie Richard Linklater, 2011
924 Michael Markus Schleinzer, 2011
930 Anna Karenina Joe Wright, 2012
943 The Hunt Thomas Vinterberg, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Update: Under 100 from Wright's list left to go

23 Love Me Tonight Rouben Mamoulian, 1932
47 The Roaring Twenties Raoul Walsh, 1939
52 The Bank Dick Edward F. Cline, 1940
60 Road to Morocco David Butler, 1942
106 Glen or Glenda? Edward D. Wood Jr., 1953
125 The Court Jester Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, 1955
150 A Night to Remember Roy Ward Baker, 1958
198 Bitter Harvest Peter Graham Scott, 1963
199 Black Sabbath Mario Bava, 1963
212 Blood and Black Lace Mario Bava, 1964
214 First Men in the Moon Nathan Juran, 1964
221 The Pawnbroker Sidney Lumet, 1964
226 Dr Terror's House of Horrors Freddie Francis, 1965
243 Kill Baby, Kill! Mario Bava, 1966
249 What's Up, Tiger Lily? Woody Allen, 1966
255 In the Heat of the Night Norman Jewison, 1967
263 Robbery Peter Yates, 1967
283 The Boston Strangler Richard Fleischer, 1968
285 The Devil Rides Out Terence Fisher, 1968
290 Vixen! Russ Meyer, 1968
307 Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice? Lee H. Katzin, Bernard Girard, 1969
314 Hatchet for the Honeymoon Mario Bava, 1970
318 Scream and Scream Again Gordon Hessler, 1970
331 Four Flies on Grey Velvet Dario Argento, 1971
353 Asylum Roy Ward Baker, 1972
361 Tales from the Crypt Freddie Francis, 1972
401 White Lightning Joseph Sargent, 1973
406 Busting Peter Hyams, 1974
424 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Michael Cimino, 1974
468 The Sentinel Michael Winner, 1977
470 Blue Collar Paul Schrader, 1978
474 Death on the Nile John Guillermin, 1978
480 Long Weekend Colin Eggleston, 1978
483 Straight Time Ulu Grosbard, 1978
485 The 36th Chamber of Shaolin Chia-Liang Liu, 1978
498 Rock 'n' Roll High School Jerry Zucker, Joe Dante, Allan Arkush, 1979
503 The Wanderers Philip Kaufman, 1979
524 Cutter's Way Ivan Passer, 1981
535 Sharky's Machine Burt Reynolds, 1981
542 Venom Piers Haggard, 1981
545 Creepshow George A. Romero, 1982
559 Vice Squad Gary Sherman, 1982
560 Xtro Harry Bromley Davenport, 1982
564 Project A Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1983
588 The Hit Stephen Frears, 1984
593 Wheels on Meals Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1984
599 Into the Night John Landis, 1985
619 A Chinese Ghost Story Ching Siu-Tung, 1987
643 Dragons Forever Corey Yuen, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, 1988
644 Ghosts... of the Civil Dead John Hillcoat, 1988
658 The Killer John Woo, 1989
659 Violent Cop Takeshi Kitano, 1989
674 Homicide David Mamet, 1991
676 Johnny Suede Tom DiCillo, 1991
680 Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky Lam Ngai Kai, 1991
683 The People Under the Stairs Wes Craven, 1991
695 Police Story 3: Super Cop Stanley Tong, 1992
698 Romper Stomper Geoffrey Wright, 1992
702 A Man in Uniform David Wellington, 1993
703 Bad Boy Bubby Rolf de Heer, 1993
705 Cronos Guillermo del Toro, 1993
710 Raining Stones Ken Loach, 1993
712 Suture Scott McGehee, David Siegel, 1993
713 The Legend II Corey Yuen, 1993
720 Fist of Legend Gordon Chan, 1994
728 The Legend of Drunken Master Jackie Chan, Chia-Liang Liu, 1994
735 The Doom Generation Gregg Araki, 1995
750 Small Faces Gillies MacKinnon, 1996
765 Retroactive Louis Morneau, 1997
774 Love Is the Devil John Maybury, 1998
781 The General John Boorman, 1998
784 A Room for Romeo Brass Shane Meadows, 1999
785 American Movie Chris Smith, 1999
786 Audition Takashi Miike, 1999
800 Wild Zero Tetsuro Takeuchi, 1999
804 Chuck & Buck Miguel Arteta, 2000
812 The Low Down Jamie Thraves, 2000
819 Shaolin Soccer Stephen Chow, 2001
846 Windy City Heat Bobcat Goldthwait, 2003
849 Born to Fight Panna Rittikrai, 2004
851 Dead Man's Shoes Shane Meadows, 2004
855 Man on Fire Tony Scott, 2004
863 Brick Rian Johnson, 2005
865 Domino Tony Scott, 2005
867 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Shane Black, 2005
876 The Foot Fist Way Jody Hill, 2006
908 Le Donk & Scorz-ayz-ee Shane Meadows, 2009
911 World's Greatest Dad Bobcat Goldthwait, 2009
912 13 Assassins Takashi Miike, 2010
913 Animal Kingdom David Michod, 2010
916 Point Blank Fred CavayƩ, 2010
920 The Town Ben Affleck, 2010
921 The Trip Michael Winterbottom, 2010
922 Bernie Richard Linklater, 2011
924 Michael Markus Schleinzer, 2011
930 Anna Karenina Joe Wright, 2012
943 The Hunt Thomas Vinterberg, 2012
944 The Imposter Bart Layton, 2012
948 Cheap Thrills E.L. Katz, 2013
982 Cop Car Jon Watts, 2015