I acknowledge (more than conceed) the point about maths. I guess it isn’t REALLY plural after all but just a noun ending in ‘s’, in the same way that, er… jesus isn’t the plural of jesu =)
I disagree about the cheque/check thing, tho’. I’d argue that cheque is the name given to the piece of paper that authorises transfer of money, ergo, it is a NOUN that somoene has invented and thus (kinda) ‘transcends translation’. I’d be sorely pissed if I went to France and people started calling me ‘jean’, insisting that is my name. No, no, I’d politely point out; my birth certificate says my name is John, and it can NOT be translated into some other language. Cheque is a noun; check is a verb… but since both english and french have the verb meaning to…
hmm, this isn’t very convincing. Another way of putting it.
Suppose I invent some cool funky widget, and I say “this widget is called a snarfle”. I market my widget, and I can say to people “have you got a snarfle? You should buy a snarfle, they’re sturdy and asthetically pleasing”. Snarfles sell well because I employ a lot of attractive woman to model snarfles on the beach. Right? A snarfle. In english, no less. Now, suppose there is some wacky country out there that has snarphle as a verb. Note: it sounds the SAME as snarfle, but is spelt differently. Moreover, its a verb. So, in their language they might say “hinga bottle snarphle pale ale?” and such things. What happens if I market my snarfle product in this country? Do they say "hmm, snarfle sounds similar to snarphle, and althoygh they are entirely different things (one being a sturdy and asthetically pleasing device, and the other meaning to consume vast quantities of alcohol), then we SHALL spelll this new device patented by some other guy in another language the SAME as WE spell a PHONETICALLY SIMILAR WORD BUT WITH A DIFFERENT MEANING.
a cheque is a different thing than the verb ‘to check’. moreover, a cheque is a noun, and can’t REALLY be translated. do you wacky american’s have a different name for sydney harbour bridge? In fact… you guys might spell sydney as sidney. Do you spell sydney harbour bridge as ‘sidney harbour bridge’ soley because YOU don’t like using y in sydney?
Cheques are different from check, so we can say “did you check the cheque?” when we’re worried about getting a dodgy cheque, or “did you check out if the guy checked the vehicle?” to check to see if someone has checked the vechille, or even!! to be REALLY confusing!! “did you check that the guy checked the cheque from the guy in the chequered shirt?”
feh. ranting. gotta love it. <ting> time for lunch.