Talk:graffito

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<Jun-Dai 00:42, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)>
From Hippietrail: "should this be marked as archaic or not?"
My vote is no. It still sees use, and some prescriptivist pedants will correct people who use graffiti as a singular noun, offering graffito as the singular form (same as datum/data or medium/media)</Jun-Dai>
Maybe a category for "pedantic plural" or "pedantic plurality" is in order. We can add dice and gelati too, and possibly octopi and virii. Each is a little different of course but a category show that some part does have a common trait. — Hippietrail 00:54, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily say pedantic. It's accepted usage in archeology papers and such. Insisting on using it outside such contexts is an affectation, but what can one do? -dmh 04:14, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<Jun-Dai 06:24, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)>I don't think we should touch "pedantic" with a 10-foot pole. It's a loaded word that has all sorts of negative and dismissive connotations, and is at least as far removed from NPOV as "incorrect."
Besides, virii is just plain wrong. It's not pedantic at all. There's no basis for it in etymology or in analogy to other English (or Latin) plurals. It's very existence is due solely to hypercorrection
What we could have, however, is a category for disputes based in pluralization/conjugation in the original language of borrowed words.</Jun-Dai>
Of course "virii" is historically wrong but as much as it may gall certain people, it definitely exists now. I wouldn't suggest anybody use it in their homework on viruses but on the other hand I would take any linguistics source seriously if it stated the word doesn't exist. On pedanticness, it's interesting because the one type of person who uses it is the type who pedantically corrects people who say "viruses" or "octopuses", probably chiefly younger such people. Another group that use it know exactly it's wrongness and enjoy using it because of this or despite this. In a way it's kind of a little underdog or upstart word too, which makes it fun. — Hippietrail 12:26, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The [Hacker's Dictionary] points out that hackers (in the original sense) love this kind of wordplay. I'd put robustify in this class as well. As with most such situations, not all of these escape nonce status into common use, but virii may be an example. -dmh 17:16, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I just ran across this in Fromkin et al's "Introduction to Language". They write:

Graffiti means different things to different people. To a lexicographer, it is the plural of graffito; ...