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plural of practicum

Discussion in 'English Only' started by baosheng, May 21, 2013.

  1. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    Hello,

    I would like to know what the correct plural of practicum is. Would it be practica or practicums? On the internet, many sources say only one or the other is correct. Would anyone either from the field or from a "latin" point of view know which one is better?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Well, I've been living in the USA for 65 years, and probably speaking English for 63½ years, and in all that time I have never heard anyone use the work "practicum". Where are you using this word?

    (I had to Google it to see what it meant.)
     
  3. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I would use 'practicums'. In my experience, people treat 'practicum' as an English word, and form a plural in the usual way for English. Practica is likely to be seen as pretentious, and I wouldn't use it unless you have seen other people use it in the context you are writing for.

    By the way, what is the context? If you are writing for Latin scholars, they are likely to appreciate your use of a Latin plural, but they are an exception.

    Cross-posted.
     
  4. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    English-U.S.
    Perhaps you didn't go to college then? That word was used quite a bit when I was there (in the 80s). :eek:
     
  5. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Either practica or practicums is acceptable. I would chose practicums to avoid having to decline it throughout the passage. ;)
     
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Erm - what's a practicum?:confused:
     
  7. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    MW
    The entry continues, "German Praktikum, from Late Latin practicum, neuter of practicus practical First Known Use: 1904"

    Perhaps the German plural could be used?
    :D
     
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Well, who knew? I certainly didn't....

    I'm overawed by the fact that you lot are familiar with practicum and know what the plural is!:D
     
  9. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Both undergraduate and graduate programs. Never heard the word used. We had "exams", "tests", and "quizzes", but no "practicums". We had "courses" and "syllabuses" but no practicums.

    I agree with Cagey it usually seems pretentious to use either the Greek or Latin plurals. So "hematoma" is usually "hematomas", but never "hematomae" but sometimes "hematomata".

    You have to be sure which language the word came from before you use the Greek or Latin plural forms. But if you use the English plural form you are usually fine.

    An exception I would make is that "radius" should be pluralized as "radii" and not as "radiuses".
     
  10. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    English-U.S.
    That's why I mentioned I went to college in the 80s. Perhaps it's a generational thing... :eek:
     
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    So, you're saying, MrP, that you've never heard the word "practicum"?

    If so, I'm with you: I've never heard the word "practicum" either...
     
  12. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    In this thread, people discuss the specific contexts in which they have used the word: people doing a practicum
    In part, it depends on the field of study.
     
  13. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I had heard of them - but only because I worked in a lab I in Germany during my undergrad summer vacations:D
    We had "practicals"(playing with frog's legs and test tubes etc) in physiology, chemistry and biology and such when I was a student in the UK.
    It wasn't always so and sometimes the choice has already been made for you - medium became media, but since there's no -s it must be singular and so "The media is ..." "The data is .." so then you get medias, bacterias and criterias :eek: (even the browser accepts bacterias but rejects criterias with the little red underline:( ) If you look you will also see "criterium" as the "obvious" singular from criteria - a little data are a dangerous things.
     
  14. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Does "practicum" mean something to other speakers of English? If so, what does it mean?

    (Sorry if I'm being dense:()
     
  15. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    We should get married. We have so much in common.:D
     
  16. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    I've heard it in German, never in English. I take it to mean a stint of working in industry (using the term loosely) to gather practical experience prior to completing the final chunk of your college education, or possibly just the final exams.
     
  17. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Me too! I worked alongside a student who was "doing a practicum" in the same lab in Germany. I was a summer student. I also have never heard it outside that country.
     
  18. mathman Senior Member

    near boston
    English-American/New England
    I am very familiar with the word. At my university, I used to supervise students who were doing their student teaching (where they actually take over several school classrooms for three or four months). The student teaching was listed as a course called the "practicum" for students who wanted to be (elementary, middle, or high school) teachers. Successful completion of the practicum was one of the requirements for someone to be licensed to teach in my state. When all the supervisors met to discuss how their students were doing in their student teaching, the plural was usually "practicums," and when I used "practica," everyone accused me (in a light-hearted way) of being overly fussy. I sort of agree with them.
     
  19. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Also never heard of it:eek:
     
  20. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    Thank you, everyone, for your replies! I apologize for not giving context either--it is, as mathman explained, a course during which a student practises teaching in a classroom (at least, that's the type of practicum that I'm referring to).
    I think I will stick with "practica" despite it being potentially pretentious. :p (assuming it is correct, although I think with this ending there are few possibilities, right? I know that certain Latin "plurals" in English are made incorrectly (cacti/octopi being a few examples if I'm not mistaken?), but I don't think it would be the case here)
     
  21. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    The German equivalent does form the plural with -a without this being considered pretentious. In English, I would hypothetically say "practica" too, on the grounds that the potentially perceived additional pretentiousness of forming the plural in this way is relatively insignificant over and above that already associated with saying "practicum" in the first place (which I wouldn't, hence "hypothetically").

    I'd just call it a practical (meaning a practical segment of the overall course), and practicals for the plural.

    To say "practicums" would expose me to the risk of double ridicule: to be considered both pretentious (for needlessly borrowing a word from Latin) and ignorant (of how to form the Latin plural). :eek:
     
  22. silverdaizy

    silverdaizy Senior Member

    Montreal
    Canada- English
    I know this thread is old, but for anyone that may be consulting it now, I just want to point out that "practicum" is in fact a very common word and is often used interchangeably with "work experience" or "internship," depending on the field, etc.

    It is the "practice" (hence "practicum") that someone does after completing their studies to gain more experience in the field.

    I hope this helps to clear up any doubts!

    P.S. It's possible that "practicum" is just not used widely in the USA, but in Canada, it's very common and most people know what it is.
     
  23. tunaafi Senior Member

    English - British (Southern England)
    It is not common in the UK. Science students have practical lessons, trainee teachers have teaching practice, and many students have work experience (or, more recently, internships) in companies.
     

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