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Never productive as a suffix, AFAICT. See WT:TR#children. DCDuring TALK 14:39, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps, perhaps not; but either way, it is a suffix and should be catalogued. Leasnam (talk) 20:37, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is a suffix, rather a remnant. If it's not used to form words, it's not a suffix, is it? Being the final three letter of more than one word isn't enough. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:41, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
If it were only found in children I would have to agree, but take a look at the entry. There are other plural formation which utilise it. Leasnam (talk) 21:48, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
But none were ever formed by adding -ren to a stem. They were apparently formed by adding -en to something ending in "ru". This is the kind of thing that discredits us. It is not founded on either a diachronic or a synchronic view, but rather some idiochronic view that no one seems to share. DCDuring TALK 22:09, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Regardless of how it was formed, in Mod Eng it is one suffix. Compare to suffixes created by compounding (-let, -ation, etc.). The argument that it was formed from two distinct endings doesn't negate the fact that it is now joined together as one new morpheme. Leasnam (talk) 22:27, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Your rationale works for Middle English, where -ren/-eren, though they exist, would not be considered suffixes; rather two individual suffixes occuring in succession. Leasnam (talk) 22:31, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe if it were spelt -eren we could say it was -er + -en, but it would still have been formed in the ME period and thus bequeathed to us already packaged as a single unit... Leasnam (talk) 22:39, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Exactly... We could argue that -ren is composed of two suffixes, but then what is -er? If -ren isn't a suffix, then -er certainly isn't because there are no words with -er, only words with -ren. —CodeCat 23:05, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
What did it produce and when? DCDuring TALK 23:26, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
-ingstock is a suffix, too, isn't it? DCDuring TALK 23:28, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
The plural of child. Now. —CodeCat 23:29, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
It is simply preposterous to claim that current English language learners produce children by inflecting child. The common occurrence of childs among younguns learning English (and others) puts paid to such a claim. But perhaps you have some evidence? DCDuring TALK 16:36, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
And why is that preposterous? It's true that most will try "childs" first, but you need to understand why they try that first. When it comes to word formation you can't ignore each person's own intuitions for the language, and linguists nowadays commonly agree that language learners build their own form of the language internally as they go. So when a learner needs the plural of a word for which they have not yet learned the plural, they generalise and extrapolate from what patterns of plural formation they already know. They already know a lot of words which form their plural by adding -s to the singular, so that is what they are likely to use (likely, not certain!). Of course, they will eventually come upon children, which goes counter to their intuitions. But it's human nature to recognise patterns, so in the process they also learn a new pattern in which the singular vowel is changed and -ren is added. Eventually a learner will have learned -s, -en, -ren and umlaut plurals, and they will then have four possible ways of forming the plural, of which the first is vastly more likely. But any pattern, no matter how irregular, can be generalised. We do have meese and boxen. So the only way to argue that -ren is not a suffix would be to argue that the human mind is not capable of seeing the pattern between child and children.
It may also be good to look at German. History has shown, in the case of German, that even a rare plural ending can become more common and productive. Even rare patterns can be extended and generalised. The -er ending of German (often combined with umlaut) is the cognate of this very same ending -ren, and it was no more common in Old High German than it was in Old English. Yet somehow in German it was extended and became much more common. Although it's unlikely, if this can happen to German, it can happen to English too. If German speakers can recognise the pattern stem + -er, then why wouldn't English speakers recognise stem + -ren? I see no reason why they wouldn't. —CodeCat 17:16, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand the equating of this with -let and -ation, which can be found added (or suffixed, we might say) to many relatively recent words: strangelet, hatchetation. Who added -ren to anything in modern English? Remember, it's listed as a modern English suffix — that means it operates as a suffix in modern English, and not just that it happens to be a relic attached to some words that have survived into modern English from earlier varieties. I also don't understand CodeCat's comment because the word children was clearly not produced "now" and probably wasn't produced in modern English. Equinox 00:36, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
What do you consider 'produced'? If people need the plural of child, they produce children. You seem to argue that children is completely opaque to modern speakers and that they have no concept of any morphological subdivision within the word. But I doubt that is true and that people probably do understand the process that goes into forming the plural of that word. Being productive isn't a requirement for being a suffix, and just because no new words have been formed with it in modern English doesn't suddenly mean it's not still recognisable as a separate morpheme. Think of it this way: it's not used to produce new words, but it's still used to produce existing words. So I argue that it is etymologically -er + -en, but to modern speakers it's a single suffix -ren. —CodeCat 09:00, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Should we have -ce for the plural of penny and die? Furius (talk) 12:35, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
For die I'd say yes, and if it's the same ending that's in penny then I suppose so too, although the derivation process is not as transparent in the latter (you remove -ny first). —CodeCat 13:03, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not sure it's completely unproductive in modern English. In formal registers, sure, but a Google search for "my dogren" finds a fair few people using "dog + -ren", by analogy to "child + -ren", to suggest that their dogs are their family. It's a bit like the -en plural prefix. No-one uses it seriously, but some people still use it as a joke or to make a point (see boxen). Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:14, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I still tend to think this doesn't exist in English, the same way that torero exists in English, but should not be categorized in Category:English words suffixed with -ero as the suffixing happened before the word reached English. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:50, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Even if one could find a single usage instance of dogren in a durably archived source (I couldn't), the alternative explanations of "blend of dog and children" or "contraction of "dog-children" would have to be excluded by something other than the whim or lack of imagination of the contributor(s) - and preferably more than the whims of multiple voters. Productivity should have led to more than a single candidate instance, in any event. I will test "dogren" at some local dog runs, though. I may have heard it before, like granddog.Admittedly, our search tools are not very good for finding rare instances of morpheme productivity, which some say is the best evidence. The two places where I can conveniently use wildcard search are the BYU corpora and OneLook. Though the BYU corpora are quite large they are not large enough to dependably find truly rare terms. OneLook requires that some included glossary or reference work have an entry, which certainly excludes most very rare terms. DCDuring TALK 16:30, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Hits for "kidren" can also be quite easily found:
    • 2006, Timothy White, Catch a fire: the life of Bob Marley:
    As Ciddy and child had slept soundly under Omeriah's roof, a group of young "kidren" playing outside sang a "ring song" [...]
    • 2006, Alex Wheatle, Island songs:
      Unruly kidren would fling rockstone after him.
    • 2012, Jack Caseros, Onwards & Outwards:
      Twenty-one year-old man too old to have patience for dem dere kidren playin' therr on the lawn.

And though not exactly the same, ...

    • 2008, Douglas Sarine, Kent Nichols, The Ninja Handbook:
      This exercise will help you develop the skills to tell your ninja brethren (and sistren and thingren) apart. Leasnam (talk) 17:45, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Finally, -ren is historically recognised as a suffix. A Google search for "-ren" suffix evinces this sufficiently I think. Leasnam (talk) 18:24, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Leasnam's quotations show that -ren is still used as a suffix in English; as long as we have an entry for that reason (i.e. for kidren, thingren, etc), it makes sense to describe children in the same entry. How about {{n-g|Used to form the plural of nouns. Not productive in modern English except in jocular coinages, but found in a number of words inherited from Old English.}}? (Somewhat similar, perhaps, is -ieren#German, which could also be analysed as -ier-#German/-ier#German + -en#German, but which should still have its own entry.) - -sche (discuss) 07:21, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

However, the authorities who regard the suffix on children (and brethren, sistren etc) as -en or -n rather than -ren should be acknowledged in a usage note.

  • Hans Frede Nielsen, From Dialect to Standard: English in England 1154-1776, volume 2, section 14.2, pages 238-239:
    [] more n-plurals were retained by early Modern English than we find today, cf. eyen, hosen, oxen, peasen and the analogical forms brethren, children, kine, shoone, sistren.

George Rice Carpenter's 1910 English grammar (page 56) also interprets the suffix of children as being the same as the one on oxen, -en. - -sche (discuss) 07:30, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Sure, it will go in my curiosity cabinet. DCDuring TALK 14:32, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
To rephrase my comment slightly, Leasnam's examples should that even if -ren did not originate as a single suffix, it is not interpreted as one in "child" → "children" and consequently "thing" is inflected "thingren" in the above quotation. - -sche (discuss) 20:12, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Who's to say that in Leasnam's example the author isn't just adding -er + -en? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 08:35, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
They didn't add -er + -en, because that would have resulted in "thingeren". Did they add -r + -en? Well, does -r exist as a plural suffix? If not, then the possibility that they added -r + -en as discrete units is removed. (Possibly relevant, or at least interesting: Talk:-icity.) - -sche (discuss) 09:01, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
changing -er to -r before a vowel is pretty common (parameter > parametrize, center > central). --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:38, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
parametrize is an alternative spelling of parameterize. For central, the change did not occur as a part of normal English processes, but was done in Latin, then borrowed into English separate from center. Leasnam (talk) 17:39, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Well originally -er was -re, since in Old English it was -ru. Those are minor details. --WikiTiki89 18:04, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

deleted nominated sense, kept nonstandard sense. -- Liliana 15:44, 22 April 2013 (UTC)