Thursday, February 23, 2012

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Abe V Rotor
Bamboo groove

A bundle of garlic; cloves to form a bulb

Caulerpa runner

Gabi tillers

Carpet of moss

Poultry of Sasso chicken

School of fish

Termite colony


A bunch of urchins

We are fond of numbers and we use different terms to denote animals, plants and our own species. These terms given to groups of animals give us distinct and more vivid imagery about their natural gregarious character.

• Lions – pride
• Goat – trip
• Cows – flink
• Sheep – flock
• Birds – flock
• Fishes – school
• Ants - colony
• Flies – swarm
• Cattle – herd
• Bacteria – colony
• Geese – gaggle (on the ground); skein (in the air)

Grouping of plants is unique. Botanists and agriculturists use terms like tillers, as in rice; a hill of ginger, suckers in banana, runners and stolons in gabi and Bermuda grass, slips in pineapple. All these refer to the asexual progeny of a mother plant, duplicating itself many times in its lifetime. These are agronomic terms: a paddy of rice, an orchard, a grove of coconut, a plot or patch of vegetables.

Among us humans we use many terms such as a battery of lawyers, a battalion or platoon of soldiers, class in schools, team in games, a choir, a batch of graduates, or simply throng for a huge crowd. In an organization we group people into departments, divisions, sections, etc, specifying work and responsibility. Then we have such terms as congregation, fraternity, gang, and the like. But first let’s start with the human species branching out into races.

Assignment: Add to the list terms to denote plurality, aggregation, and the like.

Reference: Living with Folk Wisdom, AVR, UST Publishing House, Manila; acknowledgment,photo of queen termite from Internet

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