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Sunday, September 12, 2004
What happens to a herd of squashes? You know, that pumpkin-like green spherical vegetable thing that erupts out of the ground like camouflaged pimples upon the earth's face.
Everyone has an opinion about squashes.
Some people add the pluralizing -es to multiple squashes; others are adamant about their right to fewer syllables and require crowds of squashes to stay put as mere squash. The latter indicates that squashes are like water, too many molecules to count in one sitting. They are not sheep, which remain sheep whether singular or multiple.
Squashes grow as green spherical vegetable things independent of other green spherical squashes. They deserve a razor-cut individuality and they can only achieve their individuality by recognition that they necessitate plurality when in groups.
Yet, linguists are not clear as to whether the -es suffix really follows squash in the plural.
The examples of mouse and its plural, mice, as well as goose with geese and moose with meese, indicate that the squash's argument for numerous squashes might translate instead as squish.
Squish, the plural of squash, requires spelling to differentiate it from the verb squish.
There exist such precendents in the English language. Onion was invented as a safety device to distinguish it from union, which, in the original Latin, onion strongly resembled. Celebrated in the annual "Hurrah, We're Not the European Onion" Day that Italians, Germans, Spaniards and others observe, Europeans are just thankful union wasn't forced to change to the spelling of onion, instead of onion becoming onion. No one would have liked to be known as a group of smelly stinky states. The jokes would have been unbearable.
Thus, in order to prevent the vegetal squash from being mistaken for the verb squish, implying the fate of squashes that roll onto highways, the spelling of the plural squash becomes squeesh instead of squish.
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