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tortoise/turtle
Posted: 19 June 2012 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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The adjectival form is in Lewis and Short. Look under prior.

But the noun is not in any of my print dictionaries either. My source was Whitaker’s Words: http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/wordz.pl?keyword=prius.

That dictionary is based on the Oxford Latin Dictionary, which I don’t have a copy of. Perhaps someone who does can check that.

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Posted: 19 June 2012 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Yup, it’s under sense 3 “That existed, occurred, etc., at some earlier period, previous, former, earlier”:

b (masc. pl. as sb.) people of earlier times, one’s predecessors or ancestors. c (neut. pl. as sb.) earlier events or actions.
[...]b cum successor aliquid immutat de institutis ~um Cic. Flac. 33; iacet insula . . , nomen dixere ~es Ortygiam Verg. A. 3.693; [...] c nimirum eodem modo haec adspicitis ut ~a Cic. Phil. 13.26; [...]

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Posted: 19 June 2012 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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The Prius I am referring to is, like conundrum, a modern pseudo-Latin noun.

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Posted: 19 June 2012 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Note that in lh’s citation “pl. as sb.” that the noun exists only in the plural form priorum/priora, not in the singular. This could be an example of either an adverb being used as a noun*, or of the singular form of the noun taking on the function of an adverb.  I’m not sure which it is, or if it is indeed either.

*I remember being taught that Latin did occasionally use plural forms of nouns in different ways eg as abstracts or collectives, though my knowledge is now so rusty that I can’t give examples, so don’t ask and don’t argue.

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Posted: 20 June 2012 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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It would be interesting to know if other languages distinguish between tortoises and turtles, and if speakers would be left wondering whether Darwin had a pond in his garden or not. Perhaps bilinguals here can say.
Such as here. I knew tortoises all the way down from Locke:

The concept of World-Tortoise and World-Elephant was conflated in popular or rhetorical references to Hindu mythology.[dubious – discuss] The combination of tortoise and elephant is present in John Locke’s 1690 tract An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which references an “Indian who said the world was on an elephant which was on a tortoise “. It is repeated in Bertrand Russell’s 1927 Why I Am Not A Christian in the reference to “the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise”. 

Terry Pratchett (a Brit) must have reached it by the Hindu source as he uses turtles or possibly from Brewer’s (he wrote an introduction to the Brewer’s Millennium Edition edited by Adrian Room). This wikipedia entry, if quoted correctly, has Stephen Hawking using both. It’s probably because of Brits and Americans editing the same page.

We have long had American Turtle Wax in the UK where it works semantically because it is applied with water and appears in a plastic turtle-shaped receptacle.

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Posted: 20 June 2012 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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In German they’re all Schildkröten (literally, shield-toads), although you can attach Erd-, See-, Meer-, Fluss- as prefixes to indicate their habitat.

[ Edited: 20 June 2012 11:13 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 20 June 2012 10:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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In Afrikaans tortoise is skilpad (I assume related to shell or shield + whatever pad is - padda is frog), and turtle, I’ve just discovered because I’ve never used the word in Afrikaans, is apparently waterskilpad.

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Posted: 21 June 2012 03:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Well that would leave little confusion.

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Posted: 21 June 2012 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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We have long had American Turtle Wax in the UK where it works semantically because it is applied with water and appears in a plastic turtle-shaped receptacle.

Is the molding of the container so detailed that you can be sure it isn’t tortoise-shaped?

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Posted: 26 June 2012 02:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Excellent point, Dr T. I looked it up in google images and it definitely has legs in the logo. I have never owned a car but remember the receptacle for some reason but not if it had legs or flippers in its UK form. You snipped off a limb to open it.

I’m still puzzled why American translations of Aesop’s fable don’t use turtle. Why should they cleave to Brit usage or an old Brit translation (unless it’s cheaper than commissioning a new one)?

As Dave said, tortoise seems to have specific applications in all forms of English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortoiseshell

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21974-lonesome-george-dies-but-his-subspecies-genes-survive.html

Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortoise_(disambiguation)

No more on this, honest.

[ Edited: 26 June 2012 02:40 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 26 June 2012 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Because “the tortoise and the hare” has become an idiomatic phrase. It exists in the American dialect as its own entity, independent of the other uses of turtle/tortoise. So the story uses tortoise to maintain the association with the phrase. The turtle and the rabbit just doesn’t have the same ring.

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Posted: 26 June 2012 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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The turtle and the rabbit just doesn’t have the same ring.

I once heard a cowboy-poet on the radio render it as the horny toad and the jackalope and it was quite enjoyable. :)

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Posted: 22 November 2012 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Lonesome George update. Cheering news.

I just googled The Turtle and the Rabbit and it exists in this form, americanised! Clearly it’s so kids will understand.

[ Edited: 22 November 2012 11:15 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 22 November 2012 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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This version adds interestingly

Notes to the Teacher: The story refers to the box turtle, sattapoló, which is marked with lozenges on the shell; thus the story of their origin (GK). This aetiological legend contains many motifs common in both European and Native American traditions. A2412.5.1. Origin of spots on turtle’s back; *A2356.2.9. Why tortoise has humpy back; B322.1. Hero feeds own flesh to helpful animal. Many readers will recognize this tale as a close cousin of the famous tale of the hare and the tortoise (AT 275A), but its plot is separately classified as AT 1074, Race Won by Deception: Relative Helpers, in which the contestants are sometimes a rabbit and turtle, but often other animals or even humans. Like AT 200D*, Why Cat Is Indoors and Dog Outside in the Cold, and motif A1671. Why the negro works (see tale #35 in this collection), Bel Abbey’s tale describes an ancient race in which the outcome determines the relationship between the contestants for all time. Variants of AT 1074 are widely known among both African Americans and Native Americans. Baer (1981, 44-45) finds African-American versions to be derived principally from Africa (for an example, see Abrahams 1983, 75-78), but the Native American tradition is also rich. Thompson reports variants from sixteen different cultures (1929, 258-59, 359). Published collections suggest that AT 1074 possesses a long history and broad distribution among Native American peoples: see, for example, Lanman’s nineteenth-century version (1856, 1:443; reprint in Botkin 1949, 505), in which a turtle races a deer; and a Zapotec version from Oaxaca, in which a toad tricks a rabbit (Boas 1912, 214-15) (CL). For a Spanish-language Isleño version of AT 1074 from St. Bernard Parish, and comments on the Spanish-language tradition of this tale, see tale #194, below, and accompanying note (CL).

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