Thursday, March 10, 2005


Latin at the Beeb

Rogueclassicism linked to a list of Handy Latin Phrases on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) web site. This list (which also appears elsewhere on the World Wide Web) contains some amusing and clever phrases, but it needs to be used with extreme caution. It's riddled with errors from beginning to end.

Beginning -- "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur. Or 'Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.'" It should be videtur, not viditur. I'm also suspicious of the subjunctive dictum sit, since Bradley-Arnold, Latin Prose Composition, § 364, says:
Quicumque, quisquis, 'whoever,' are indefinite relatives, and as such introduce clauses whose verb is indicative, unless there is some particular reason for the subjunctive.
I just don't see any particular reason here. To quote another phrase on the list: Abutebaris modo subjunctivo. (You've been misusing the subjunctive.)

End -- "Some of these phrases can be found in the excellent work Latin for Everyday Occasions: Lingua Latina Omnibus by Henry Beard." The subtitle of Beard's book is not Lingua Latina Omnibus, but Lingua Latina Occasionibus Omnibus.

The Latin for the television series Mission: Impossible is given as Opus: quod fiere non potest. Change fiere to fieri.

Don't let the bastards grind you down is rendered in Latin as Non illigitamus carborundum. Presumably this should be illegitimis, not illigitamus, although I've never understood this hokey, made-up phrase. There is a Latin verb for grind, and it's not carboro. It's molo.

There are several more howlers, but fixing this list is like cleaning the Augean stables, and I'll stop here. If I taught Latin, I'd give the list to my students at the beginning of the semester, and award extra credit for every mistake found.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?