Saturday, April 29, 2006

With hiatuses like this, who needs...what's the opposite of a hiatus?

I've always believed if a thing was worth doing, it was worth doing in a half-assed, ambivalent manner, and that seems to include my hiatus. I mean, here I am not a day later passing along to you the amusing news, sent by a loyal reader who is hopefully to be blogging (again) soon himself, that according to this link, Met stars Patricia Racette, Dolora Zajick, and Ruth Ann Swenson are all going to be singing the national anthem at baseball games out in SF. My correspondent thinks Zajick is the funniest idea, but for some reason it's Racette that tickles me most. I don't know whether it's a cheap "did you mean to say softball?" joke that's stuck in my head or just that last time I saw her she was stalking Nathan Gunn and then drowning.

Meanwhile, in National Anthem news, cross posted under "unbelievable hipocrisy," the man who got himself "elected" (in heavy scare quotes) to some large extent by going around speaking worse Spanish than I do with two semesters under my belt, now voices his objections to the new, admittedly horribly cheezily arranged, Spanish language version of selfsame song, called in this guise Nuestro Himno.

15 comments:

Ariadne said...

uh ... "Welcome back!"?

(Your blog is too cruelly funny for you to quit on us now, you know.)

Ariadne said...

oh, and is that "hiatuses" or "hiati"?

Maury D'annato said...

Thanks, yeah I was wondering about the plural too.

Oaktown Pete said...

PLEASE no hiatus! Please please please please please!

Greg said...

I hesitate to point out that hiatus is a noun of the fourth declension, and thus its Latin plural is just "hiatus" (long U).

In any case you, Maury, need neither one nor several.

Maury D'annato said...

Fantastic, I never knew there was such a class of nouns. I didn't study much Latin, sadly. I can form basic plurals along the lines of almuni, alumnae, and of course like to be the person who insists on aquaria and stadia and so doesn't get invited to many partia.

Paul said...

And I always thought that "declension" was something that Scotsmen did with their teeth. BTW, I believe that the opposite of hiatus is "work." And as far as the National Anthem is concerned, they can sing it in Lithuanian, for all I care. It's an ugly, ugly piece of music. Besides, no one sings it better than Wayne Messmer, the stadium announcer for the Chicago Cubs. Well, perhaps that recording they use(d) at Yankee Stadium by Robert Merrill?

Ariadne said...

G-ddamned 4th declension nouns. I forgot about those (conveniently).

And while we're at it, Latin nouns that end in -um are neuter and I can't remember [pause while ariadne obsessively looks this up to try & prove she's right before she coyly pretends she can't remember] neuter nouns in Latin go plural with an "i" ending, as in spectaculum, spectaculi.

Does that make it aquarii and stadii? I'm pretty sure party is festivus, just like on Seinfeld...

"Semper Ubi Sub Ubi!"

Greg said...

Again, not that I really, y'know, care or anything, but for the record, neuter nouns that end "-um" form their plurals with the ending "-a." E.g. verbum -> verba; stadium -> stadia.

Ariadne said...

I'm sure you're right, Greg, because my Latin does totally and royally suck and -ii didn't look or sound right. All I really remember are the root meanings in Latin. (I just like to comment to mess with Maury's mind ...)

Can you help me out with this on-line dictionary, though? http://catholic.archives.nd.edu/
cgi-bin/lookup.pl?stem=s&ending=

Shouldn't they be listing singular as the main entry, with plural as the second entry? (Try looking at "sacerdotium" for instance).

Greg said...

All Latin dictionaries list nouns followed not by their plural, but by their genitive form, and then their gender. (Thus "stadii" is a word, but it means "of the stadium.")

These are the so-called "principal parts" of the noun, since once you know how the genitive form, you can easily form the plural, but the reverse isn't necessarily true. More importantly, though, the genitive is used as the principal part since every word has a genitive, but some words do not have a plural or singular form -- think in Enlgish of words like "anyone" or "scissors."

...Since you asked!

Ariadne said...

Oh yeah, I had to ask, didn't I? It's been so long since I've dealt with anything other than Russian declensions, I forgot my Latin forms. Good thing nobody speaks it anymore.

Since you bring up unplurable words like scissors, I thought maybe I'd treat you to our family's favorite linguistic things to argue about. Having beaten to death the (greek) roots and modern derivaties of "peripatetic", we sometimes moved on to plurals like "Egg McMuffin", my mother saying that Miss Manners would vote for "Eggs McMuffin" (as in "Eggs Benedict") but normal people voting in the end for "Egg McMuffins". Which sounds stupid but is ultimately one's only choice, I suppose, in modern life.

From there for more fun we might foray into unprovable arguments about the English translation of various German nuts and berries (you don't want to know) and whether one could successfully convert my Austrian grandmother's elegant cake recipies from the metric system, anyway, given that the flour is different over in Europe.

Intellectual families - bah!

Maury D'annato said...

Well it's Eggs McMuffin if you view McMuffin as a modifier rather than Egg McMuffin as a lexical item, of course. I think there was a non-mcmuffin-specific discussion of this in Stephen Pinker's The Language Instinct, the one he wrote before he started yammering about how boys are smarter than girls.

Ariadne said...

The coward's way out would be "Egg McMuffin sandwiches"...

(I'm going to look for that book!)

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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