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Plural form of "Samurai"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by LBL, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. LBL

    LBL Senior Member

    Brazil, São Paulo, SP.
    Brazil, Portuguese
    I was taking a look at Akira Kurosawa's movie list and one thing that caught my attention was that the translation of "Shichinin no samurai" was "Seven Samurai", what implies that the plural formal is equal to the singular form for the word "Samurai". Is that right?

  2. Halloway Senior Member

    English English
    Yes, one samurai, two samurai etc
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Exactly. Which is maybe why you sometimes encounter "samurai warriors," which always struck me as redundant. I mean, there are no samurai haberdashers or samurai quantity surveyors, right?
  4. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    "Warrior" is understood.

    One Samurai [warrior]...

    Two Samurai [warriors]...

    But like "aspirin" it probably will become corrupted.

    One aspirin [tablet]...

    Two aspirin [tablets]...

    has become: Two aspirins...
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Japanese nouns do not change when pluralized.
  6. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
  7. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Which, however, doesn't mean that many Japanese words adopted into English, don't change when pluralized: kamikazes, Zeros, shogun, senseis, kimonos, etc. (I'm afraid that my choice of examples betrays the superficiality of my knowledge of Japanese culture and of Japanese-Western cultural interactions.)
  8. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    Actually, I would have guessed that the choice (and it was a choice, not the only choice) to translate "Shichinin no Samurai" as "Seven Samurai" is probably the reason that most people don't say "samurais" in English.

    How a loan word gets popularized has a strong effect on its pronunciation, spelling, and morphology.
  9. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español

    You're quite right on your second point. As to your speculation, I'd just caution you that English has been borrowing words from Japan for a long time.
  10. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    There are if you consider "samurai" to be an hereditary class.

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