This recalls the question about the plural of octopus, which was dealt with quite nicely by the folks at Merriam-Webster.
I'm with Stamper here, Priuses for me, but if you want to do the Latin, wouldn't it be Priora? This is probably wrong, since I know very, very little about Latin, but somebody should be able to correct me.
The naming & branding blogger Fritinancy has been posting and tweeting about this issue for awhile here.
She quotes Jan Freeman as siding with Priora here.
Quite so: I got it from Harry Mount, author of " Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life." "Yes, it's Priora," he told me, "because it's neuter plural. But if you cheated a bit and made the car masculine or feminine - and I do think of cars as female - then it would be Priores. And Priores has nice undertones of grandness - Virgil used it to mean 'forefathers' or 'ancestors.' "
Lots more recent comment at Visual Thesaurus ...
It seems to me that people frequently set up a false dichotomy in these discussions: either you use the regular English plural (in this case "Priuses"), or you use the etymologically purest Latin or Greek nominative plural (in this case "Priora"), or else you're in error. What's odd is, trained, descriptivist linguists seem to fall into this trap just as much as anyone else.
The reality, of course, is that English has a bunch of rules for forming plurals. The -s/-es/-'s family of rules (call it #1) is extremely common, and the use-something-relevant-from-the-source-language family of rules (call it #2) is also fairly common and salient — but -us → -i and -is → -es and so on are also a fairly common and salient family of rules (call it #3). #2 and #3 aren't always distinguishable, and some instances of #3 may be used by some speakers who think they're instances of #2 … but who cares? Why does that make #3 "wrong"?
Proscription of the very common "octopi" as a "hypercorrection" (for example) is the very sort of prescriptivism that descriptivists usually denounce.
Ran, I raised a similar point in my discussion or thesaurusi. Which descriptive linguists are saying a particular plural is wrong?
One example: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2684
I think Liberman's just expressing his preference, isn't he? Even descriptivists are allowed to offer advice.
He's expressing his preference, yes, but he couches it in terms of preferring a "plain English" plural (following rule-family #1) over a "fake Latin plural" (following rule-family #3).
But he starts with "if we were going to be etymologically exact," which strikes me as fair enough. Either way, it's certainly an issue to be aware of.
"Prius" is either the neuter comparative adjective or the comparative adverb. So the plural would be "Priora."
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