"School of Fish "
This one has puzzled me since I was a kid.
Is it a corruption of "shoal" or something else?

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In our last episode, (Email Removed), the lovely and talented MC broadcast on alt.usage.english:
"School of Fish " This one has puzzled me since I was a kid. Is it a corruption of "shoal" or something else?

Yes, it is related to one "shoal," but possibly not the "shoal" you are thinking of.
The shoal which means shallow or sandbar comes from a different root than the root of the shoal meaning multitude and school (of fish), and there is yet a third root of school (educational institution).

Lars Eighner (Email Removed)
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Quoth MC (Email Removed), and I quote:
"School of Fish " This one has puzzled me since I was a kid. Is it a corruption of "shoal" or something else?

Both "shoal" and "school" are probably "corruptions" of the same word borrowed into English from the language of fishermen in the Low Countries at different times, Middle Low German "schole", Dutch "school". One represents the pronunciation with /S/ found in Low German and Flemish, the other is based on the Dutch /sX/.

James
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
"School of Fish " This one has puzzled me since I was a kid. Is it a corruption of "shoal" or something else?

Both "shoal" and "school" are probably "corruptions" of the same word borrowed into English from the language of fishermen in ... One represents the pronunciation with /S/ found in Low German and Flemish, the other is based on the Dutch /sX/.

OED:
school, n.2
(a. Du. school troop, multitude, ‘school’ of whales:{em}MDu. schole, OS. scola troop = OE. scolu:{em}OTeut. *skul{amac} str. fem., perh. orig. ‘division’, f. *skel-, skal-, skul- to divide: ...)
1. A shoal or large number of fish, porpoises, whales, etc. swimmingtogether whilst feeding or migrating. Also in a school, in or by schools.
The first quotations are dated c1400 and c1440. Then:
1486 Bk. St. Albans fvij, A scoll of ffysh.

a1552 LELAND Itin. (1769) V. 70 They (bream) appere in May in mightti Sculles, so that sumtime they breke large Nettes. ....
The first with almost today's spelling is:
1769 De Foe's Tour Gt. Brit. (ed. 7) I. 380 A great Shoal, or, asthey call it, a Scool of Pilchards, came swimming..into the Harbour.

Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.english.usage)
OED: school, n.2 (a. Du. school troop, multitude, ‘school’ of whales:{em}MDu. schole, OS. scola troop = OE. scolu:{em}OTeut. *skul{amac} str. ... (ed. 7) I. 380 A great Shoal, or, as they call it, a Scool of Pilchards, came swimming..into the Harbour.

When talking of a large number of relatively small fish, I would naturally think of a "shoal" (as in the song "The Shoals of Herring"). When talking about larger creatures (whales, porpoises, dolphins) - which are coincidentally mammals - I would think of "school". (Not sure about sharks, which aren't). Could this be because the numbers in a "school" are much less than in a "shoal"?

Ian
Peter Duncanson writes

OED: school, n.2 (a. Du. school troop, multitude, ‘school’ of ... call it, a Scool of Pilchards, came swimming..into the Harbour.

When talking of a large number of relatively small fish, I would naturally think of a "shoal" (as in the ... about sharks, which aren't). Could this be because the numbers in a "school" are much less than in a "shoal"?

It was my understanding that marine mammals socialized in pods.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Peter Duncanson writes When talking of a large number of ... in a "school" are much less than in a "shoal"?

It was my understanding that marine mammals socialized in pods.

Yes, of course..
But is that only dolphins (and maybe porpoises)? I'm pretty sure that whales have schools.

Ian
OED: school, n.2 (a. Du. school troop, multitude, ‘school’ of whales:{em}MDu. schole, OS. scola troop = OE. scolu:{em}OTeut. *skul{amac} str. ... number of fish, porpoises, whales, etc. swimming together whilst feeding or migrating. Also in a school, in or by schools.

And if there's a large number of foot pads floating there...

Jeff

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Power to protect money.
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When talking of a large number of relatively small fish, ... in a "school" are much less than in a "shoal"?

It was my understanding that marine mammals socialized in pods.

Why do dolphins live in a school? What is a dolphin nursery? What is spy-hopping? Find the answers to these and many more questions in A School of Dolphins. Many mammals live alone, but dolphins live in groups called schools. Read this book to look at the fascinating life and habits of dolphins and to see how a school works.

http://www.heinemannlibrary.com/products/title.asp?id=140344692X

But whales do live in pods.
Jeff

Money to get power,
Power to protect money.
Motto of the Medicis
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