For those of you who read the New York Times on Sunday, you know that there is a section of the magazine called 'On Language'. This is my 'On Language' for the petz world.
When Dogz and Catz came out, it was logical to sum up both programs as Petz. The usage is simple: "Two of my petz are sleeping." "My petz are all posers." "My petz is running after the ball."
In the last example, my petz is running after the ball, I used petz in the singular form meaning one dogz or catz. In the other two petz is in the plural form meaning several dogz, catz, or dogz and catz. See the problem? You cannot use the word 'petz' in both singular and plural form.
In real life, we would just add an s to make a word plural (in most cases). But the word petz (as well as dogz and catz) creates a problem. The letter z sounds like a s. So it would be safe to say that we should always use the word dogz, catz, and petz in plural form.
But what about a singular member of the Petz program? For this I will appeal to Latin, one of English's root languages (the other is German, but I am completely ignorant of that language so I will not write about it). In Latin using the 1st declention we would add an a to the end of dogz or catz (to simplify, I will assume that dogz or catz is the subject of the sentence). So we would say "My dogza is eatting." But since having z at the end of the word adds a little ring to the word, I suggest dropping the z. "My cata is taking a nap."
In conculsion, petz should only be used to refer to dogz and catz together. Dogz and catz refers to more then one of each species. And doga and cata refers to one member of the dogz or catz family (not bad for a 7th grade Latin student, eh?). So not only have we solved the problem of singular and plural forms of words, but we also have two new words for spell check to learn.
[Ed - the sheepa is grazing on the hillside, my pet fisha is hungry? Perhaps Latin could be used to solve more of our language problems! Great article, Jill!]
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