-s marks the plural in so many European languages that breaking the habit is proving quite difficult..
I believe this is simply a common prima facie assumption, e.g. from Wikipedia: "The Esperanto nominal–adjectival paradigm as a whole is taken from Greek: Esperanto nominative singular muzo (muse) vs. Greek mousa, nominative plural muzoj vs. Greek mousai, and accusative singular muzon vs. Greek mousan." These statements usually lack primary citation or are speculative. I have not seen any explication directly from writings of Zamenhof, but I also hope someone will direct me to one if it exists.
Not only Ancient Greek, but Latin (a close language) too. Eg. Campus (singular) and Campi (Plural). Of the Romanic languages, mainly Italian and Romanian derives the words from Latin using the nominative case, consequently using -i for plural.
Eg. in Italian child is Bambino (singular) and Bambini (plural). In Romanian the word priest is Preot (singular) and Preoți (plural)
In other cases (eg. French, Castelhano, Castilian, Catalan, Portuguese) they derive the words from another case (not sure which one now), that do the plurals with -s.
That said, I think it is quite common to leave it out. Esperanto tends to base itself for many such rules more on (other) European languages than on English, and many such languages do not have the Oxford comma. I always use it for English, but never for my native Dutch, for example (where it is considered wrong). I probably wouldn't use it for Esperanto either. But it wouldn't bother me if someone else did.
It seems that Spanish legumbre has both meanings. SpanishDict says that in cooking, it means legumes as in English ("Los vegetarianos consumen muchas legumbres, como frijoles o lentejas, porque tienen mucha proteína" = Vegetarians consume lots of legumes, like beans and lentils, because they have a lot of protein), but in botany, it could mean either ("Pedro cultiva legumbres en su jardín para alimentar a sus conejos" = Pedro grows vegetables in his garden to feed his rabbits). I could be wrong, though, because I'm not a native Spanish speaker.
Okay, here's a follow-up question. Where do you draw the line between 'frukto' and 'fruktoj'? Is a bunch of grapes fruktoj, or does it have to be different kinds of fruit? Is more than one pea legomoj? If I cut a wedge of cheese into bite-size slices, would that be fromagoj?
A lot of this is a particularly Anglo-centric way of looking at various foodstuffs. Fruit and fruits can both mean the same thing. "I have a bowl of fruit." can mean that I have a bowl that's full of apples, and only apples. or it can mean that I have a bowl full of mixed fruit. (see what i did there?) Esperanto says "more than one kind? Plural" Veggies are usually perceived as plural, even if you only have a bit of spinach on your plate. Esperanto says "Only one kind? I think that's singular, but…"
Cheese is usually also treated by number of types. If your pile of fruits and veggies has a bit of muenster, but only muenster, with it, it doesn't look at the number of chunks of muenster it looks at the fact that there is only one discernible type of cheese on your sabhzi, or party tray.
For this to be fromaĝoj then one would need to toss some Camembert, Wensleydale, or brie onto the tray also. (Maybe while someone is playing bouzouki in the corner?)
(For the nedenaskaj anglo-parolantoj that last is yet another Monty Python reference. Google: "Monty Python Cheese Shop")
This is the second time today that I've read the claim that something in the course is an anglicism. I see this very often. Most of the time, it's about a feature of Esperanto which is like several languages - and sometimes it's not even about a feature which is like English! I'd appreciate a little more evidence with claims like this.
HuckleSmothered, last I heard, doesn't receive notifications about replies, so he may not be back to read this comment, but while fromaĝo can be countable in Esperanto, it isn't always so.
It seems to me that the answer can go either way.
- montojn da fruktoj kaj viando kaj fromaĝoj kaj legomoj
- manĝi ĝin kun butero kaj fromaĝo;
- sekigitaj vinberoj, sakon da rizo, iom da lakto kaj fromaĝo,
- [Knabino] dividis kun mi sian iometon da fromaĝo, cepoj, pano kaj akveca vino.
- “rostitaj pomoj kun kaprina fromaĝo”, “lentokareo kun pomoj”,
- konsistanta el fromaĝo, fruktoj kaj dolĉaĵoj
The above examples are pulled from Tekstaro.com and are meant to show that cheese sometimes is uncountable and sometimes means a wheel of cheese - and that it's ordinary to mix plurality and non-countability.
Fruit, in English, is a sort of "mass" or "irregular noun." When one is discussing plural fruits one may lump them all into a singular class. So a pot full of grapes, apples, pears, bananas and peaches can still be called "a bowl of fruit," while at the same time a container bearing only apples can still be "a bowl of fruit." The English usage of "fruits" is something which I, a native English speaker, cannot discern the exact rules for.
I know, sounds kinda fruity.
"Fruit" is a mass noun
"A noun denoting something that normally cannot be counted but that may be countable when it refers to different units or types, e.g., coffee, bread ( drank some coffee, ordered two coffees ; ate some bread, several different breads )."
So "fruit" refers to an uncountable amount of fruit. "Fruits" would refer to specifically distinct types of fruits, which cannot be assumed in the context of the sentence above.