collective nouns

Discuss word origins and meanings.

collective nouns

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:17 pm

My fourth grade son has been asked to match an animal or object with its collective noun. I have never heard of these phrases.

The words are: Ants of penguins, pheasants. angels or sparrows, goldfinches,eggs, larks, bananas, ducks, clams or oysters, sheep or geese, rhinoceroses,and kittens.


The collective nouns to match are: kindle of ________, bed of_________,charm of________, Colony of____________, exaltation of_____________, hand
of________, bouquet of_________, clutch of__________, crash of________, host
of__________, Flock of____________, paddling of__________.


We would appreciate any insight you could give us.

Thank you in advance,


Mrs. Miller


Submitted by ( - )
Post actions:
Signature: Topic imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:32 pm

My guesses are as follows:
kindle of kittens (?)
bed of clams or oysters
charm of larks (?)
colony of ants or penguins
exaltation of pheasants (I thought this was usually used for peacocks)
hand of bananas (?)(my guess would have been bunch)
bouquet of goldfinches (?)
clutch of eggs
crash of rhinoceroses
host of angels or sparrows
flock of sheep or geese (although I thought geese was gaggle)
paddling of ducks
Someone thought this was a great way to alienate fourth graders from language? You can always count on the educational system to think up things to learn that you KNOW Noone will EVER USE AGAIN. Like with the shortage of learnable knowledge out there is it a surprise they have to resort to the treacherous waters of collective nouns. . . I think the correct collective noun here is:
an institution of idiots
other suggestions for this phenomenon are welcomed.

Reply from Sabine Harmann (Elkhorn, WI - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:46 pm

According to my copy of the Chamber's 20th century thesaurus, it's a kindle of kittens, a charm of goldfinches, and an exaltation of larks.

It also lists a nide of pheasants, a team of ducks and a skein or a gaggle of geese. Looks like your son's teacher needs to brush up on her collective nouns

For the rest, I can only guess. Though it probably is a clutch of egss, a bed of clams or oysters, a colony of ants or penguins and a flock of sheep or geese.

And continuing Sabine's train of thought, how about an incompetence of educationists?
Reply from Kaevan Umrigar (Mumbai (Bombay) - India)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:01 pm

Alas, Mrs Miller! The power is not yet given to logic to demonstrate, through the stilted futility of your son's assignment, that third-rate teaching is confined to the fourth grade alone!

Mediocrity, like the poor, is always with us!

Reply from Erik Kowal (Reading - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:15 pm

The only ones I really know are a hand of bananas and a flock of sheep.

Erik - how comforting it is to know some things don't change! (oops - did you say "mediocrity"? that's a much higher mark than I would have given this teacher.)
Reply from Meirav Barkan (London - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:29 pm

I must come to the defense of school teachers everywhere! The most valuable thing one learns in school is never a fact... it is rather learning how to use the tools to find an answer for yourself. Seems to me this was an exercise in research skills... now how can that be bad?

btw... a couple of online resource for your son:

http://ww1.comteck.com/~revenger/collectivenouns.html

and

http://www.swalson.com/infoseek/nouns.htm
Reply from Kerri Quinton (Wichita - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:44 pm

I agree with Kerri, and I will add an admonishment to the other wizzes to lighten up a bit and quit being so quick to judge. Further, I don't think our role here is to question motive or make generalizations about our brethern, it is to provide answers or at least point to the correct path.

Doc 7:30 p.m. MST
Reply from Gary Dutmers (Eagle - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:58 pm

My book says a 'charm' refers to unicorns. But then, I have strange books.

Bon chance!

Reply from Sidney Blackburn (London - Canada)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:13 pm

Alas, I must confess it is not the teacher I berate. They seldom if ever choose these things. No this is the making of textbooks, curriculums and such things on a grander scale which are then thrust as much upon the teachers as the students. As for the research theory. . .perhaps you haven't been a parent? Most homework is not given with a great deal of time for completion (much of it overnight), and I for one do not need my child to arrive in my frought with peril homelife with a research challenge to make my day complete. As extra credit, for those wishing to expand their horizons a bit further because of interest, in that vein I think it is a grand suggestion and a worthwhile exercise.
Reply from Sabine Harmann (Elkhorn, WI - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:27 pm

Are homework assignments expected to be done by the students these days, or by their parents (as this inquiry seems to suggest)?
Reply from Catherine Dart (Ashburnham - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:41 pm

Yes the homework assignments are to be done by the students. But in a case such as this, where even the ordinary adult is at a loss where such information may be handy, the average child is truly overwhelmed. Fortunately in a household with caring, communicating parents a child comes and asks for assistance or explanation of said assignment from the parents. When we are blessed with this type of challenge we try not to show our children how completely annoyed we are by their homework but end up on the internet searching frantically at their side, on an unexpected last minute run to the library that evening, despite what we may have thought to do with our time, to aggravate the librarian with the challenge, or if we are fortunate we might have the necessary CD of informations specifically needed.
Reply from Sabine Harmann (Elkhorn, WI - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:56 pm

By the way Kerri, I consider a research assignment appropriate to a child in grade school to be the kind of information which might readily be found in a common reference source such as an encyclopedia, not some obscure bit of nonsense most adults wouldn't have a clue where to find.
Reply from Sabine Harmann (Elkhorn, WI - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:10 pm

I'm sorry, but 4th Grade does not seem too young to learn that birds fly in flocks and fish swim in schools! This information is in common reference sources. Let's stop the dumbing down, eh!
Reply from Kerri Quinton (Wichita - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:25 pm

How old exactly is 4th grade in American schools? (and in which grade do fish swim?)
Reply from Meirav Barkan (London - England)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

collective nouns

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:39 pm

I'm all for flocks and schools, even at a younger age. It's the crash, the host, the bouquet, and other such strange oddities that almost noone has ever heard of and even fewer people use. It's not about dumbing down. If they want to impart this information, by all means let them. But to think of something REALLY obscure and send a child of eight or nine home to find the answer is REALLY stupid whether you agree or not, after all I'm willing to bet you such obscure information is not readily available in most homes, although the internet may be slowly changing this phenomenon. Impromptu visits to the local library because the school thought it was a nice night for a research challenge can really be a major pain if like me you are a single parent with more than one child and a million other things in conflict with running out to the library before it closes in your local small town, where libraries aren't open til the wee hours.
Reply from Sabine Harmann (Elkhorn, WI - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Reply imported and archived

Post Reply