One of the terms most used by higher education students is University campus. Whether you’re starting a career or you’ve been in college for a while, you probably have an idea of what the word campus means. However, we bring you some interesting information that you may not know and that will help you better understand the origin of this expression.
What is the university campus?
When a person speaks of a university campus, he may be referring both to the buildings of a university and also to the land on which they are located. In fact, there are cases in which a university is composed only of buildings and does not have gardens, and even so, the whole of them can still be called campus.
In general, within the campus we can find different elements such as faculties, schools, areas to practice sports, libraries, recreation areas, food areas, shops, student residences and gardens.
What does the word campus mean?
You have to go back many years in time to find the origin of the university campus. The noun campus comes from Latin. The meaning of this word is plain. As you can see, the concept has changed a lot since then.
To find the moment when the meaning began to change, you have to go back to the seventeenth century. At that time, this word began to be used to refer to the field that separated the College of New Jersey from the town of Princeton. Later this term was used by other universities. It took until the 20th century for it to spread universally and adopt its current meaning. It is precisely in this century when it is incorporated into our language.
What is the plural of campus?
One of the most recurrent questions is how the plural of campus is formed. Is it correct to say campuses? Is it preferable to use campi? Or is it simply not necessary to change the name?
As mentioned above, the origin of this word is Latin. When we decline campus to form the plural, it becomes campi. Similarly, in English the plural is also used in this way. However, in Spanish the same is not the case.
If we go to the dictionary of the RAE, at the end of its definition, it indicates that campus is invariable in the plural. That is, it does not matter if your university has one campus or several campuses, the word does not change.
This rule is explained in the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts. There it is said that -is is added only when forming the plural of monosyllable words or if they are acute polysyllables. For example, “cough” becomes “cough.” Since the word “campus” has more than one syllable and is not acute, this criterion does not apply to it.
Now you can boast of knowing what the university campus means and where it comes from. We hope you have found it interesting and that you never think of writing campuses when referring to several university campuses, since it does not exist.