Why don't we pluralize proper nouns?

Or rather, when a name has an atypical plural form, why don’t we apply that form to it? In English of course (at least US English). For instance, in most cases words that end <consonant>y get mutated into <consonant>ies (e.g. lorry->lorries, baby->babies), but in the case of a name like, say, Kennedy we use Kennedys, not Kennedies. Is it a matter of respect? Such as, “Don’t mutate the spelling of somebody’s name because it’s impolite.” Or is it just a quirk of history?

Does this also happen in other languages (at least in other languages that have atypical plurals)?

Yes its ‘impolite’ to modify spelling of peoples names.
Because with different spelling the reader might assume its a different person.
JF Kennedie and co… who are they ?

The thread title is misleading. We do pluralize them, but only by adding an s. I don’t know the reason, but the previous post is as good a reason as any.

In French, names are not pluralized at all. “Les Seldon va sortir ce soir.” And even stranger, in German, names are pluralized with an s plural, although vanishingly few German nouns make their plurals with an s. And its apparently not a borrowing from English. “Die Seldons fahren aus [Sorry, my German is almost nonexistent] diese Abend.”

Ils vont sortir. Names *are *pluralized, the plural form is identical to the singular, but these nouns behave as plurals.

The thing you mentioned about German is true about Dutch as well. Interesting.

Because once something is “made English” it doesn’t really work to bring it back. So you probably know people who say “octopi”, right? Only “octopus” is Greek so it should be “octopodes”. After a certain tipping linguistical point everything “becomes English”, and proper nouns for whatever reason do it immediately.

(I am not a linguist, this is just my observation.)

How does it work in Latin?

We have the case of Tiberius Gracchus and his two sons, Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius, who are known collectively at the Gracchi.

Can some Latin major expound on this? Are there other names from classical Rome that worked like this?

One could ask a similar question about other inflections of Latin proper names: Did a person’s proper name get modified just like other nouns according to its case and declension? This variation of the OP’s question is not even meaningful in modern English, where nouns aren’t inflected that way.

Yes, proper names in Latin got modified just like normal nouns. Gracchus - Gracchi is just like hortus-horti, an o-declension.

I don’t think that is quite right. If I wanted to refer, collectively to people with the name Fox or Thomas or Winters, I don’t think I would call them the “Foxs”, “Thomass”, or “Winterss”, but the “Foxes”, “Thomases”, and, probably (because “Winterses” sounds awful) the “Winters” (one of those no-change plurals, like sheep, I guess).

The actual rule seems to be: never pluralize proper nouns by altering or removing any of the letters in the singular version, or by adding letters except as a suffix. (I can’t think of any cases where you can pluralize by adding a suffix other than s or es, but maybe there are some.)