33 Comments This discussion is locked.
I know the difference between people and peoples, but what I don't understand is why you can't say "the people talkS... "? I mean, it's a group (we, the people!) and the group speakS. Or" the community speaks". I see "people" as both plural of "person" - '[they] speak" - and as a group (singular of peoples) - "[it] speaks" . Please help me sorting this out! I am not a native English speaker.
In English, if we change, the people with the corresponding pronoun it would be they (or we in your example) which would be, they talk (we talk).
The group, and a community become an it because those are each an entity, so it moves or it celebrates (like your body has several cells yet is one unit), but while there can be a lot of people in a group, the two concepts are not really the same, and people do not need to be in a group either. Additionally, the people in a group are members of the group. People in a neighborhood are neighbors.
Generally, person is the singular of people and persons/peoples are rare usages, and a people is even more rare.
Another way to consider this is that group, community, neighborhood are 3rd Person Singular while people, members, neighbors are 3rd Person Plural.
But of course, this is a bit different in Portuguese with "o povo" and as pessoas.
And also "speaks to", given that group singulars (like "the people", "a people", etc, same deal with "the government / a government" when acting as one entity) can have singular or plural verbs depending on the context. In this case, the people is one entity, speaking as one (as we know from the Portuguese, "o povo fala" and not "as pessoas falam").
As a native English speaker I have noticed that as decades go by there is an increasing tendency for people to say things like "the team are" instead of "the team is", which is the way I was taught at school. I was taught to say " the team is" and "the teams are", but now most people in England follow a collective noun with the plural verb conjugation rather than the singular. I guess it is all part of the gradual drift in language.
"People" is defined as a collective plural which entails using a verb conjugated in the plural form, not the "3rd person singular" construction.
I do not think this is the final verdict. In this link https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Collective+plural we see that in American English collective plural words can indeed be used with the singular form. Therefore I still think Duolingo should accept both singular and plural as correct.
Your link makes no mention of "people".
"People" is dissimilar from many other collective nouns as it is always treated as plural as shown in examples in the link in my previous post. Similar examples are found in Longman's dictionary (below)
Perhaps you can provide a link to a dictionary that shows "people" used with a singular verb in standard English.
Dear Emeyr - I understand your point and I am not a linguist and have not found examples that include people. However, I think it depends on how the word people is used. See this link: http://learnersdictionary.com/qa/Collective-Nouns-and-Verb-Agreement If the people speaking with the king are acting as a collective unit - then speaks would be correct - if it is some of the people or people one after the other speaking with the king then the plural form should be used (in my interpretation of the grammar).
Dear Emeyr, Thanks for the enlightenment. You are obviously right that it is rare to use the singular form opeople speaks/talks. I was not thinking of the Appalachian tongue, but I note from your statistic that the singular forms were more widely used 200 years ago, so it might be archaic form.
Hi Mike: "People" is like the collective noun "police". Both are used in standard English with plural verbs. Here is a graph showing frequency of use of "people" with both 3rd person singular and plural verbs.
ngrams Corpus of English: https://tinyurl.com/y9vm9ju3
You might be interested in reading about the mountain people in rural Appalachia where "people talks/speaks" is part of the vernacular.
ex: Collective noun phrases (wiki):
• Some people makes it from fat off a pig.
• People's not concerned.
Looking at youtube where speakers of Appalachian English discuss their "language", you will see a mixture of pride and a feeling of victimization due to "preconceito linguistico", a topic many Brazilians are familiar with.