I have a linguistics question for y’all.
Plucked from the WA election commentary last night:
“… electorates such as the Forrestfields, the Wanneroos, the Albanys…”
(These three are some of the closest contests.) The obviously-singular proper nouns are turned into plurals when used in this particular construction – which seems, on the face of it, a rather odd thing to do.
My partner asked whether this usage is specific to Australia, and we wondered whether its usage originated with sports commentary of the type:
“We would be fortunate to have such great sportsmen as the Eamons, or the Bolts, or the Phelpses.”
Election commentators do seem to take some of their linguistic and rhetorical cues from some of the more thinky sports commentators, so this wouldn’t surprise me.
I think I’ve seen this in Britspeak before: “…the Margaret Thatchers of this world…”. It seems akin to the first step along the way to genericisation, perhaps?
Have you noticed this phenomenon before? Have you noticed it outside of Australia? In what contexts?