nyzoe (nyzoe) wrote in linguaphiles,

Group nouns in different languages

Hello Linguaphiles!

In certain varieties of English (as far as I'm aware: British, Canadian, South African, New Zealand) you can use a singular group noun (like team, committee, group, family etc) with a plural verb ("my favourite team have won the match").

I'm really interested to know if there are any other languages that behave in this or a similar way. If you speak, or know of, a language in which singular group nouns can occur with a non-singular verb (plural or unmarked for number), please let me know!

(And, for those of you who speak any of the varieties of English mentioned above - I've been reading a lot of literature on group nouns and it's still not clear to me whether plural agreement is possible only with human groups, or with animate groups in general (including herds, swarms, flocks, wolf packs, etc). What do you think? Is it possible to say "the herd have moved on" or "the pack are hunting"? If not, does it get acceptable if you use the word to talk about humans, as in "a flock of schoolchildren are playing in the street"?)

Thanks! :)

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