Plural form of "Samurai"

LBL

Senior Member
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?

Thanks!
 
  • 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...
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Japanese nouns do not change when pluralized.
    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.)
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    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?
    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.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    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.

    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.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top