ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — If the plural of “goose” is “geese”, then why isn’t the plural of “moose” “meese”?
According to Readers Digest, “goose” is a word that dates back to Old English, when it was common to change the sound of a word to denote whether the word was to be used singular or plural.
Oxford Dictionary defines a mutation as “a change in the sound of a vowel produced by partial assimilation to an adjacent sound (usually that of a vowel or semivowel in the following syllable).”
So, the change from “goose” to “geese” also occurs in words like “tooth” to “teeth” and “foot” to “feet.”
However, “moose” is a word that originated in the language of American Indians, specifically the Eastern Algonquian language, and was adopted in the 1600s. “Moose” is considered a “loanword”, meaning it was incorporated into English from a foreign language.
More modern pluralization in the English language added an “s” to a word to denote a plural, such as “houses” or “phones.”
“Moose,” however, uses neither mutations or modern pluralizations. According to Language Pacifica, the original Algonquian word moòs does not exist in a plural form, so “moose” doesn’t either.