Monday, December 08, 2008

High Dorkness

Guess what we did tonight?

I don't think you lot have a clear understanding of just how dorky me and the Pirate are. We are exceptionally dorky.

As Pirate has just said to me (while watching what I type over my shoulder), "The word 'pedant' sums up our relationship quite nicely."

Yes, we listen to Radio 4.
Yes, we watch University Challenge and Mastermind.
Yes, we iron our clothes, eat our vegetables, wash between our toes, and go to bed early. But that is just the beginning.

Tonight we settled a long-standing argument. (Mostly so that one of us would have the opportunity to be smug.) We have been arguing for a while about the plural of the Toyota Prius. But tonight we settled it.

We have this argument because my parents have two of the marvelous little hybrid cars, to which we refer as the family Prii. (Pronounced pree-eye).

Pirate insisted the plural of Prius was Priuses. (I know.)

Since Prius isn't a Latin word, we agreed that the closest equivalent was "focus," and tonight, well, tonight we finally went up to my office, pulled out my Latin grammar and looked up the declension of "focus."

For the record, it IS a second declension noun and therefore the plural is "foci" (something I already knew from high school math class, but that argument didn't fly with Pirate). The only way, in Latin, to pluralize a noun ending in -us is with -i.

So I win. Thanks to Kennedy's Revised Latin Grammar, c. 1962 Longman Group Ltd.

15 comments:

Gordie said...

Darlings, prius is a Latin word, but it's an adverb.

quos deus vult perdere prius dementat - those whom a god wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.

Second declension noun seems about right, tho'

Gordie said...

Then again, it could be fourth declension, couldn't it?

Tim Footman said...

I think Gordie has outdorked you, Mrs Pirate.

Valerie said...

Hee hee. Rob and I have had this discussion too, though we agreed on 'Prii' (pronounced, of course, "PREE-eye").

Though we also use Prius as a verb... and an adjective ("He's gone Prius at last.."). Rob drives one, so he's biased.

Donn Coppens said...

My Dentist gave me a rubber mouthguard to chew on at night in the hope that it would arrest my declension..sadly it did not.

After I had gnawed through my third declension prophylactic before I gave up and in lieu of clenching, reverted to snoring.

The plural and past tense of an "us" is always an "I".

FirstNations said...

my daughter and son in law argue in l33t. they play LAN games on different computers with their backs to each other while occupying the same room. they both have electronic sudoko games and they play each other in timed rounds.

but you, my friend, have OUTDORKED THEM BOTH FOR ALL TIME. you are EL DORKUS MALIGNI UBER PRINTEMPS.

GreatSheElephant said...

Having taken a specialist workshop on authentic Latin pronunciation, I dorkfully must inform you that prii is pronounced pree-ee. If it were pree-eye it would be spelt priae

Geosomin said...

Heh...I'd mock you, but I have actually had this debate with J...so I'll just shuffle off and look sheepish :) (I lost...)

Shila Shila and Cult Jam said...

I think that I win the dorkiness challenge. I doubted your logic, so I wrote to Toyota. Here was their response:

Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

We appreciate the opportunity to address your inquiry.

We apologize the information you are researching is not readily available to you. The correct way would be when you want to refer to a Prius in the plural form you say Prius models or vehicles or Prius cars. I hope this information is helpful.

Your email has been documented at our National Headquarters under file #200812100880. If we can be of further assistance please contact us http://www.toyota.com/help/contactus.html.

Gordie said...

Actually, I think we've all got it slightly wrong. Priusis an adjective or adverb in Latin, so if you convert it to a noun, the masculine gender is prior, literally the first man, a word which our hostess will recognise from her mediaeval studies.

Prius must be the neuter gender of prior: "the first thing". Unfortunately I cannot remember how to form the neuter plural.

I think it might be Priores. Does Kennedy have any advice on how to make adjectives agree with an implied subject?

オウム said...

Surely Prius is a proper noun in the usage you are discussing so any reference to Latin is an irrelevant distraction. Proper nouns tend to be 'owned' by those who created them so it is correct to seek guidance from Toyota.

However I do thing 'Prius cars' sounds a bit clumsy so I'm going to side with Pirate and say Priuses.

Henry North London said...

Bit like penises

Never mind I dont want to know which declension they fall into

latin was a lovely subject at school but I side with pree ee

Henry has been having a shitty time and would appreciate traffic on his blog

Mr Farty said...

I'd go with fourth declension Priūs but what do I know?
"Oh, look! There's a pair of mongooses - er, mongeeses - there's a mongoose! And there's another one!"

zIggI said...

it's like sheep, 1 Prius 2 Prius, who'd be mad enough to buy 3?

Mrs. Chaucer's Pirate said...

Gordie: um, i suppose it could. but then i wouldn't win the argument, so clearly it's not.

tim: i'm afraid you may be right about that.

Val: rob is entitled to be biased. he has an awesome car.

Donn: don't use a cheap rubber mouthgard. i have the same problem. splash out to get the hard plastic one that's custom molded to your mouth. mine's so comfortable i can't sleep without it. i've had it for over 10 years and it's still going strong. well worth the investment! Also, the plural of a noun ending in -us can also be -us if, as Gordie informs us, it is 4th declension. (i can't believe i'm writing this.)

FN: i don't know. playing networked games while in the same room is pretty fucking dorky. although Pirate and I have been known to play online Boggle against each other.

GSE: doesn't it depend on whether you're using classical or ecclsiastical latin?

Geo: you're in good company here, mi amigo.

Shila: you may have outdorked me in this first battle, but i promise you, i will outdork you in the LAST one! (and welcome to m.e.) also, Toyota is clearly wrong.

Gordie: the plural of prior is, indeed, priores. That's an interesting way of going about it. I shall have to propose it to the Admiral of the Fleet of two Prius cars (my mother) and see what she thinks.

??? The first part of your argument about ownership is intersting and worth considering, but it leads us back to Toyota's answer, which is clearly crap. And you're just siding with Pirate because he's your friend!

Henry: oh, dear! I will hop over and see what there is to see.

Farty: clearly it's mongii.

Zig: people who need 3 cars? i dunno.