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EFFLUVIUM

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EFFLUVIUM

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:18 pm

• effluvium •

Pronunciation: ê-flu-vee-êm • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. An exhaust of nauseating or noxious vapor or gas. 2. Any byproduct or waste from a manufacturing process that is ejected into the environment, a putrid or noxious effluent.

Notes: Because effluvium is an obvious borrowing from Latin that ends on -um, like datum and consortium, its plural is formed like the plural of those words by replacing the -um with -a: effluvia. The adjective is effluvial, as in the effluvial tailings from a mine. The neutral term for such an outflow, without the implication of noxiousness, is a close cousin of today's word, effluence.

In Play: Today's Good Word comes in handy when talking about pollution: "The effluvia from all the manufacturing plants along the river have devastated the fish population." However, don't forget the first meaning of this word, which could just as well apply to natural effluvia: "Cows and horses noisily emit a great deal of effluvium during their digestive processes."

Word History: This word came from Latin effluere "to flow out", based on ex "out of" + fluere "to flow". The X in ex 'assimilates' to some consonants when it is attached to them, that is, becomes the same sound. We see that not only in today's word, where X becomes F, but also in emigrate and elevate. English borrowed a small library of words based on Latin fluere, including influence, affluence, effluence, and confluence. The English word from the same Proto-Indo-European root as fluere is—would you believe it?— blow, not flow.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:04 pm

Because effluvium is an obvious borrowing from Latin that ends on -um, like datum and consortium, its plural is formed like the plural of those words by replacing the -um with -a: effluvia

As I have previously said, I'm in favor of Anglicized plurals. Why not effluviums? My Merriam-Webster has that word preceded by also, which means that it's less popular than effluvia. I personally think if you were to retain the original Latin plural, you'd have to decline the word accordingly in Latin as well, and then would have to say "Cows and horses noisily emit a great deal of effluvi/effluvii during their digestive processes.", since the genitive would have been required in that sentence in Latin. That, for obvious reasons, is impracticable in English, so why not effluvium, effluviums? We have changed Latin -um and -us to o, you could do the same and make it conform to English.

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Postby Huia Iesou » Sat Apr 29, 2006 6:37 am

I personally like the Latin plurals. I feel they remind us of the many sources for English words and remind us to appreciate different languages.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:55 pm

But if all Greek and Latin plurals were Anglicized, it would be easier for the common speaker and there wouldn't be monstrosities like "The criteria is" and "The phenomena is" anymore.

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Postby gailr » Mon May 01, 2006 4:22 am

I recently came across: "the datums are." :)

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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon May 01, 2006 10:06 am

I personally see no problem with it.

The word data is a queer fish. It is an English word formed from a Latin plural; however, it eads a life of its own quite independent of its Latin acnestor and equally independent of the English word datum, of which it is supposed to be the plural. Ordinary plurals - that is, the plurals of count nouns, like toes, women, or criteria - can be modified by cardinal numbers; that is, we can say five toes, or five women, or five criteria. But data is not used with a cardinal number; no one, it seems can tell you how many data. Datum, incidentally, is a count noun; in one of its senses it has a plural datums, which is used a with a cardinal number:

... in place of a single reference system today we have about 80 more or less independently derived reference systems or datums - Homer E. Newll & Leonard Jaffe, Science, 7 July 1967

From Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage

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Postby gailr » Mon May 01, 2006 9:58 pm

I still don't like it. :)
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Postby Perry » Tue May 02, 2006 8:11 am

You may not like it, but it seems that BD has either the data, datum, or datums to back it up.

BTW BD old friend. Is the Latin Acnestor related in any way to the Greek Nestor? :lol: http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Nestor.html
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