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What is the justification for the prevalent usage of "scénarii" as the plural form of "scénario", over the much more intuitive (and dare I say, logical) "scénarios"?

It is my understanding that people who favor the first form do so under the impression that the Italian rule of pluralization should apply (notwithstanding the fact that the real Italian plural is scenari - single "i" and no diacritic on the "e"). I vaguely recall my middle school teacher saying something along the lines of words borrowed from other languages would still apply the French rule for pluralizing.

Moreover, other words borrowed from Italian don't seem to get the same treatment. I won't talk about "les vidéii qui j'ai vues sur Youtube" or "les concertii de Schumann".

So I have two questions:

  • Can anyone provide facts that validate (or not) the usage of "scénarii". What's the canonical reference?
  • Can anyone explain how come this particular word has evolved to get this special treatment? When and why did French people started caring so much about this word all of a sudden?
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possible duplicate of Which words in -us get their plural in -i? – Un francophone Jun 4 '13 at 19:30
@Unfrancophone Why would a question about pluralization of endings in -o be a duplicate of a question about pluralization of endings in -us? Endings in -o are not mentioned in your answer and there's barely an example in Gilles' answer. – Kareen Jun 4 '13 at 20:08
@Kareen, the question isn't the formation of plural in french terminated by -o or -us but the plural of foreign words and the answer is the same: the more the word is felt as part of french, the more the use of the foreign way of pluralizing is felt as pedantic. – Un francophone Jun 5 '13 at 6:46
up vote 8 down vote accepted

"Scénario" with an accent is a french word since the 17th century. Its plural is "scénarios".

"Scénarii" with an accent doesn't exist, whatever the language.

"Scenario" without the accent is an italian word. Its plural is "scenari" with only one "i". If you use it in a french context, you can use "scenari" but "scenarios" is preferred. See Rapport de 1990 sur les rectifications orthographiques - Singulier et pluriel:

We strengthen the integration of words borrowed by applying the rules of French plural, which in some cases involve the establishment of a singular form.

"Scenarii" with two "i" is the outdated plural of "scenario" in italian, it's not used anymore.

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I must say first of all that the plural scenarii is clearly not the prevalent usage. To most French speakers, it'll sound quite elitist, self-important, or snob. It doesn't refer to Italian plural but Latin, which is a sign of intellectualism here like in many other places.

For your first question: references are mainly acknowledging the scénarios plural, and mention scenarii as a side note. (TLFi)(wiktionnary)

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