May 01, 2011

Audio, Video, Disco

Did you take Latin in high school?  I did. I was headed for college for pre-med and my counselor advised me to take German and Latin.  German was fun, Mr. Allen, my teacher was a hoot but we will leave Mr. Allen for another day, another blog.

Latin class, however, was very...well, difficult! Not the learning of Latin but being in a public school with a teacher who was also my catechism teacher at St Lucy's Catholic Church. I was a little bit of a disruptive student in religious class, asking many, many questions. When I showed up in Mr. Loring's latin class I am sure I saw his head shake and might have even heard a little prayer escape from his lips, "Why me, God?" 

I did receive an A in the class but it was an uphill battle all the way....I did not take a second year of Latin! But I most definitely continued my catechism classes.

I discovered that Latin is fun though.  I especially love Latin mottoes. Latin adds a touch of sophistication, a distinguishable aura to a phrase. Can you imagine the Captain of a ship, standing at the helm, sword in hand, demanding obedience from his sailors, "A Mari Usque Ad Mare?"  Captain Jack Sparrow is the sexiest pirate "from sea to sea" but A Mari Usque Ad Mare makes one forget about the poor hygiene, me thinks!

For all of you who think that we are not a Christian Nation, a quick peek at the dollar bill should change your mind.  Latin phrases on it are sprinkled all over our currency.  Other than "In God We Trust"  there is the phrase "Annuit Cœptis",  literally translated, "He approves of the undertakings"! Some may certainly argue that may mean has approved but no one disagrees with who the He is.  It definitely wasn't King George!  Of course, adding the national seal with it's "Deo Favente" (with God's Favor) seals the pun intended!  By the way, speaking of the National Seal, there is also the word "Perennis" at the bottom of the pyramid which means Everlasting. That would seem to imply that God approves the undertakings forever.  Hmm, I bet He's not very happy with us at the moment. 

Surely, you have all heard Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Get out there and do it! Live! The phrase, I believe came from Horace and the whole phrase is Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – "Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future."  My take on that? Drink your wine today folks, there might not be a tomorrow!

In the Gospel of John, verse 8:32, John pens Veritas vos liberabit or Veritas liberabit vos.  "The truth shall set you free." Especially, if you listen to me and drink your wine today!  Doesn't have to be wine! How does one say, Eat your Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia today, there might not be a tomorrow!

Nec Temere, Nec Timide  translates to Neither rashly nor timidly and is the motto of the Royal Danish Naval Academy and the University of Edinburgh.  It reminds me of Dylan Thomas' poem. 

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, 
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, 
Do not go gentle into that good night.

We all call our old school or university our Alma Mater. Did you know that means Nourishing Mother?
Wish I'd had one of those; nourishing mother, that is, not a university! Speaking of mother, I believe her motto could have been, "Conlige suspectos semper habitos" "Round up the usual suspects!" Just ask my brother and sister!

Want to be your very best? Your motto could be "Ad alta" - To the summit!  Maybe you are a little learning challenged you might adopt the call, "Ad astra per aspera" - To the stars through difficulty!  But then again, why ask for trouble, shorten your motto to "Ad astra"- To the stars. Short, Sweet and can be embroidered on your baseball cap!

How many professors have had this little adage on their desks, or at least wished they had it? "Disce aut discede"? Learn or leave! 

"Audio, video, disco." Believe it or not, this is a famous Latin adage - I hear, I see, I learn. Now that is just wrong! It seems to me the interpretation should be I rock, I play, I dance! My argument that Latin is not a dead language but a language that is adapting!

My personal favorite? Aut viam inveniam aut faciam! Translation: I will either find a way or make one! Yes, one can fit a square peg in a round hole!

And you? What are you thinking of my little blog today? Are you thinking "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!  Not Worth A Rat's Ass!


  1. Wow and a triple wow, for this delightful post! Classical languages have always been something I immensely like, inspite of not knowing any :( But I'm happy to know a few phrases which have been made famous by many writers and now, even media houses, who use Latin phrases to oomph the headlines.

    I'd like to take lessons in Greek, Hebrew and Latin but sometimes I think I'm a bit too old for learning a new language.

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

    A wonderful post which rekindled my love for old languages.

    Joy and happiness always,

  2. Thank you, it was fun to write it!

    I've always wanted to learn to speak and read Aramaic. I think it would be fun to read what the bible really says!

  3. Nec Temere, Nec Timide - just the words I needed to read right now. Thank you!

    I think this was a wonderful post.


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