chairmans vs chairmen

raisingfink   Monday, June 07, 2004, 07:56 GMT
I stumbled upon the word "chairmans", but I'm not quite sure what it means. Some usage indicate possessive form i.e "chairman's" while others indicate its use as plural form. I thought the plural of "chairman" should be "chairmen". Can you use "chairmans" as plural form?

mjd   Monday, June 07, 2004, 08:02 GMT
The plural of "chairman" is "chairmen" much like the plural of "fireman" is "firemen."
Clark   Monday, June 07, 2004, 11:29 GMT
Or simply, the plural of "man" is "men." :-P
Damian   Monday, June 07, 2004, 14:13 GMT
"mens sana in corpore sano".......the only time you will find the word "mens".....Latin meaning the mind, hence "mental".

Meaning "sound mind in a sound body" applies to all of us in this forum? Of course it does! :-)
Nintendo   Monday, June 07, 2004, 14:16 GMT
The plural of ''man'' is ''men'' everywhere except on videogames where the plural is ''mans''.

Sample sentence,

''The men that were playing the Nintendo game have three mans left.''

One ''man'' on a videogame means one ''life'' or something like that.
Richard   Monday, June 07, 2004, 14:50 GMT
By the way, is there much difference between the pronunciation of "man" and "men"? When I have to pronounce these words, they sound pretty much the same...
mjd   Monday, June 07, 2004, 15:39 GMT

I disagree. Most people say "I have 3 men left" when referring to lives on video games (I've never heard anyone say anything like your sample sentece).


When speaking fast they might sound similar, but it is a different vowel sound.
Konrad Valentin   Monday, June 07, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Since women are also capable of wielding power, surely 'chairperson' is the better term to use.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Monday, June 07, 2004, 18:31 GMT
However, the plural of "walkman" is "walkmans" and the reason for this, as given by linguists, is that it is a "headless noun" or, said more simply, the -man part of "walkman" is not a type of man (such as chairman or fireman).

This example and the concept of headless nouns is described very well in Steven Pinker's book, The Language Instinct, which I highly recommend.
Smith   Monday, June 07, 2004, 21:23 GMT
Your right, Not all words ending in ''man'' have the ''men'' plural.


-Man words   Monday, June 07, 2004, 21:37 GMT
Isn't the ''man'' in ''fireman'' pronounce [m..n] and the ''man'' in ''handyman'' pronounced more like [me..n].
raisingfink   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 08:44 GMT
Thanks. Just to get this straight - "chirmans" CANNOT be looked in the same context as "humans" or "walkmans". Yes? No?
mjd   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 09:43 GMT

"Chairmen" are not in the same category as "walkmans."
Konrad Valentin   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 18:58 GMT

And Steven Pinker is a confirmed sexist.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 00:05 GMT
Don't buy his book or don't read his work then.

As an introduction to linguistic issues, _The Language Instinct_ has received good reviews by the linguistic community.

I dislike Noam Chomsky's politics very much, but I consider him a brilliant linguist and professor; one of the absolute best. Just because you or I dislike some personal aspect of someone, doesn't mean their work is invalid.