Wow, I think I´m studying too many languages if I just forgot the plural word for chicken in my own language.... LMAO
Damn, I too thought the plural is the same ^^ One chicken, many chicken
If it's food then it's a lot of chicken. If they're still walking about they get the honour of having a plural form.
In English many such words have both a singular and plural form.
The plural form is used when one wishes to express a specific idea. For example, "We have many chickens in our backyard." The singular form that does not have a plural form, is used for a general idea. Such as: "Tonight we ate chicken."
In this case, I assumed it to be: "They are chicken," much like you'd say: "They are human." Referring to the species, not the individuals collectively.
Wow, I never thought I'd have to contemplate the singularity/plurality of chicken in my native language.
When you say "They are chicken", doesn't that mean they are afraid? I'm just joking. I know what you mean. Ha ha ha.
well, I'm not sure, but at least it is peculiar that Austrians as well as German people learn that the plural form of chicken is chicken. I don't say that chickens is wrong. I'm sure this form is right. But there must be a reason why all German speaking people learn the other form at school. I've found a discussion on Austrian page (http://www.gutefrage.net/frage/der-plural-von-chicken-chickens) and it if it's true or not but it makes sense. Here they say (translated into English): If the birds run around they are called chickens. If you eat them or if they are already dead you use the chicken...so you may ask: can I have some chicken?
The distinction that you guys are all reaching for, I think, is the distinction between mass nouns and count nouns. Count nouns are things about which you ask "how many", whereas mass nouns are things about which you ask "how much." Count nouns are nouns for things that are individuals, for which you don't have to separately specify a unit. "Pencil" for instance is a count noun. It makes sense to ask how many pencils there are. "Gold" on the other hand, is a mass noun. You can ask how much of it there is, but not how many. We don't say "how many golds are there?". And even if you try to ask how much, you have to specify the units. How many ounces, bars, grams, or whatever. "Chicken" is tricky, because it's both a mass and a count noun. When talking about individual birds, it's a count noun. (How many chickens are in the coop?). But when talking about the food, it's a mass noun. (How much chicken do you want?). And mass nouns don't really take plurals. (Grams of gold, not grams of golds.). So the distinction here is not between singular and plural, but between count and mass nouns.
The term most often used is collective nouns where you use the word mass.
Maybe. I haven't seen a study on which is used more :-) It might depend on discipline (or region?). I encounter the term "mass noun" much more than "collective noun", but, again, it might vary from subcommunity to subcommunity. But, yeah, you're right that some people might be more familiar with the term "collective noun."
Hola undinenstaub: Yes, you can say "Can I have some chicken?" That means can I have some part of the chicken, the leg, the breast, the wing, etc. But "chicken" is not plural. It still is only one chicken. It has nothing to do with dead or alive. However, if you wanted to ask for MORE THAN ONE whole chicken, dead or alive, you could say: "Can I have some chickens?" (plural). That would mean you are asking for MORE THAN ONE whole chicken. In Englisch, sagen Sie "ein Huhn", sondern "zwei Hühner". Sie sind nicht die gleichen Plural und Singular.
Thanks for this explanation! At least I can learn English and Italian here ;) That's special
I agree. We say "I'm going out to have chicken" because typically you're only eating a few parts of one chicken. If I were to buy a few cornish hens to serve my family I would need to know how many I would need to feed several people. In that instance I would say ”I need 7 chickens.”
I'm E nglish and I agree "chicken" is an acceptable plural of "chicken".
Ciao gordon: It is not possible. Please read previous posts. "Chicken" is singular. "Chickens" is plural. It is impossible to say: "I have two chicken". That does not make sense. We must say "I have two chickens". Why do you think "chicken" is plural? Where did you learn that? Grazie
Hi Lisa, We'll have to agree to disagree. In England it quite normal to say "He keeps chicken" meaning "He keeps many chicken". There are a few words for animals/creatures that do not change - fish, sheep, and some more that I can't remember. Thanks for your comments though.
Ciao gordon: OK. I will change my remarks then: In USA, "chicken" is singular; "chickens" is plural. But to this Yank's ear, it surely sounds strange to say "He keeps many chicken"! I would invite any other USA learners to comment. Maybe I just have it wrong. BTW, yes, I know there are other animals which have singular and plural the same: as you said, sheep, fish; others, deer, buffalo, moose, elk, caribou; also, underwear, aircraft, you, scissors (some debate about this one), species. Another one we do not use in USA, but I think you do: stone (as a measurement of weight) one stone, two stone, correct? Also, "head" as in "How many head of cattle do you have?" Any more? CHAU
I'm english and would never say chicken is plural. It would be he keeps chickens.
Hi Gordon and Lisa. I'm spanish and at school, in Spain, we learn that the plural from chicken is chicken. Just to add some confusion to the discussion ;-)
To add even more confusion, I can add that fish, like chicken, can be a plural form, but if you are talking about individual animals (like "I have two fishes/chickens in my hand") you should add the "s". I am not a native speaker, but I have spent a year in the US.
Hey Gordon, I'm with Lisa on this. Pilfering from a better explanation seen elsewhere, the issue is to do with the animal, vs the product.
The animal will always be either singular or plural, if speaking correctly. However, when referring to the product of chicken - "chicken" that can be eaten or processed, it is never referred to in plural.
Give it some consideration...
Don't where you live mate, but it is not normal in London to say 'he keeps chicken', unless they're in the fridge
In formal, proper English chicken is the meat. The fowls are named hens, roosters and chicks. But nowadays it seems chicken is acceptable. Soon pigs, boars and swine will be nice, rosy "porks" and cows and oxen will be tranquil "beefs"...
No, chicken doesn't follow the animal/meat distinction as most cattle, because it was never food for the aristocracy, unlike swines (porc for the French nobles who ate their meat) and cows (boef). Chicken has always meant a young bird; according to etymonline it's from the "Old English cicen (plural cicenu) "young fowl," which by early Middle English had came to mean "young chicken," then later any chicken". Its current meaning according to the Oxford dictionary is "1. A domestic fowl kept for its eggs or meat, especially a young one, 1.1 [mass noun] Meat from a chicken, 2. [mass noun] informal A game in which the first person to lose their nerve and withdraw from a dangerous situation is the loser".
Wow! I was having so much fun reading this conversation and you just spoiled the party. I'm kidding. I am surprised of all this discussion about English grammar in an Italian thread. Anyway, I wrote “chickens” because I know that DL is an AE-based app and didn't want to risk a refusal of “chicken”, but I couldn't help peeking in the comments and I'm not disappointed at all. I started studying English in my youth and was told in the first or second lesson that there are some special plurals like child/children, ox/oxen.and so on. I remember distinctly that the pair chick/chicken was there, but it was only an elementary textbook and could have been not completely accurate. Now even dictionaries like Collins or Merriam-Webstsr have he gall to say that “chick” is ethimologically an alteration of “chicken”, an abbreviation, which looks ridiculous to me according to the natural evolution of words, but I'm no linguist to pass judgement. What I know is that in the good old South of England –the cradle of English language–they used to pluralize chick as chicken a long long time ago, and they still do it in some areas as a dialectal form. The usages may have changed and we have to adapt, so I say “chickens” with no remorse, just as when I speak Spanish I say “talibanes” as the next man even though I know that this is a plural of a plural.
I was wondering whether this sentence could be used to imply that they (people) are cowards, as it could in English...?
No, but it can be used to imply they're naive and gullible, or even an easy target to swindle. In poker slang, pollo is the sucker who is invited to the table so that the others can strip him of his money; to quote Matt Damon in Rounders, "if you can't spot the sucker in your first half-hour at the table, then you are the sucker" (se non riesci a individuare il pollo nella prima mezz'ora di gioco, allora il pollo sei tu). But I digress :P
I dont know if "many chicken" is plural or not, but if it isnt, I think it is used too often to be considered wrong, specially if the language we are learning here is itlian, not english.
Hi AlexFGrande, I think the reverse is true. The issue is: what do we say in our particular favour of English? The Italians say "the chickens are" and some English speakers sometimes say (note the ambiguity) "the chicken are". I think we're clear about what the correct Italian is, our issue is, how do we translate it into English?
English is an foreign language for me. I learned to say "it" for animals and not "they."
"It" is fine for one animal, but for more than one, it must be "they". One animal can also be "he" or "she".
why can you omit the article here? In my college Italian classes, every time I leave out an article, it is marked incorrect. Is it because this sentence uses a mass noun and the they are not chickens, but things made out of chicken, as in "they (the patties) are chicken" vs the answer to "what are those birds?" which would be "they are chickens." Would this latter be translated as "Sono i polli'?
This sentence does mean they are birds, and that's why it's chickens; "they are (made of) chicken" would be "sono di pollo". If you were to use an article in this sentence it would have to be the partitive: "sono dei polli". But the partitive is not mandatory and it's very often omitted; it's hard to say when though, as it boils down to popular usage rather than grammatical rules. "Sono i polli" would refer to some specific chickens.
Oops, I think I am just to tired already. I translated it with "I am chickens" :D
Wow, I wrote "chicken" as a plural and I don't even know why I did it...
I am pronouncing correctly, but it doesnt give me credit for "polli"....how does one reach level 18 if they can't pronounce "polli" ?
I translated 'sono polli' into : it's chicken rather than:'they are chicken' I presumed we talk about food rather than the animals would you translate it's chicken as 'soon polli'? thank you
polli e pollo hanno la o chiusa uguale nella pronuncia all' ultima di pollo! controllate su un vocabolario!
No. "We are" would be "(noi) siamo". Sono could be either "io sono" (but not here. In case "sono un pollo") or essi (DL says loro!) sono.