When I was looking at the plural noun ending for English, it said that it came from the Proto-Indo-European suffix *-es. I looked at the Spanish etymology. It didn't give much information except that it came from the Latin -es for 3rd declension. I have a feeling that they might be, but I'm not sure.


It's (probably) a true cognate!

Back in Proto-Indo-European times, noun endings indicated case as well as number: there was no single specific "plural ending", but there were various endings used for different cases in the plural. The accusative "feminine" one is reconstructed as *-eh₂-ns (though it's unclear if the feminine was actually a distinct category in PIE or if that happened later).

In Latin, this eventually became the first-declension accusative plural ending -ās, which shows up in Spanish words like aguas < Latin aquās.

In Old English, this eventually became the A-stem accusative plural ending -as, used for the most common class of nouns. Eventually this got generalized to (almost) all nouns, giving Modern English -(e)s.

(The -s that shows up in Spanish words like manos and hombres is related, too, it's just less obvious in the other declensions.)

  • I agree with Draconis. For example, there are some very, very basic (and not so basic) vocab words that get inherited through both languages even if the English component is Germanic. Here are some examples with English and Spanish next to each other: mother madre, father padre, is es, in en, star estrella, bee abeja, etc. – Number File Nov 14 '19 at 1:22

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