Friday, February 26, 2016

Yeah, it's not Latin at all

It's always amusing how the midwits at File 770 are locked into the position that everything I do must, by definition, be stupid, evil, and wrong. A couple of them are still striking poses about the title of Opera Vita Aeterna:
No, that’s not how medieval Latin worked. It still had grammar!

That title is crap Latin whether it is supposed to be Classical or Medieval Latin.

You can’t just write out strings of straight dictionary words of Latin and hope they mean what you want them to.

The change from Classical Latin to Medieval Latin was a little more like taking this:

    To be, or not to be–that is the question:

And making this:

    It’s a question of being or not being.

That Beale title is more the equivalent of

    Is! Is! Negate! Is! Yonder! Query!
Actually, it's not Latin at all. I don't speak Latin. I speak Italian. And it's not actually proper Italian either, which would be Un'opera della vita eterna, but in the hallowed tradition of my fallen intellectual hero, Umberto Eco, I abbreviated it, then added an extra A to give it a Latinate flavor. I not only didn't "just write out strings of straight dictionary words", I didn't use a dictionary at all.

Now, if the File 770ers were genuinely familiar with my writing, or were doing anything more than posturing and virtue-signaling, they would have criticized my bad Latin in Summa Elvetica, where I did actually write in what is actually supposed to be Latin.

Praeterea, homo in Die Sexto creatus sunt. In ordine naturae qui in narratione Creationis descriptus, perfectius praestat. Ergo homo est perfectior quam aelvi. Tum, perfectissima res animae estseparatio ab corpore, quod in illa re similior Dei angelorumque, et purior, quod separatur ab ulla aliena substantia. Quandoquidem non aeque perfecti atque homines, aelvi ulterius quam homines ab perfectissima re animae. Ergo aelvi habent animae naturaliter sibi unita.

I would, of course, welcome any grammatical corrections they might suggest and will be happy to add them to the novel should they be able to provide any.

You can always tell a midwit, because he's always in a hurry to show everyone how smart he isn't.

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Blogger Happy Housewife February 26, 2016 1:41 PM  

I had assumed that it was supposed to have a Latin feel/influence, much like Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, rather than straight Latin.

I say this as one who took four years of Latin in school. They just simply can't quit you, can they?

Blogger Ahazuerus February 26, 2016 1:43 PM  

OT: the Beeb is also reporting that a boy has won a girls in tech competition...

Anonymous Pope Cleophus I February 26, 2016 1:50 PM  

And they would probably believe that Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc! is actually valid latin and means We gladly feast upon those who would subdue us. The better phrase can be found at Bad movie Latin!

In other news: water is still wet.

Anonymous Steve February 26, 2016 1:51 PM  

This sort of bumpickery brings to mind Marco Rubio's mockery of Donald Trump's Twitter feed:

"'He is a chocker. And once a chocker, always a' -- a choker, I guess that's what he meant to say," Rubio said at a rally in Texas, reading Trump tweets from his phone.

It's intended to show the critiquer's superior intellect, but instead just makes him look like a fanny.

Anonymous Goodnight February 26, 2016 1:53 PM  

These are mostly the same midwits that don't get that popoli and populi aren't the same words (and therefore also miss the joke).

Anonymous Cyclone Bob February 26, 2016 2:01 PM  

That's not how Klingon works, shitlord. It actually has, you know, fucking grammar. Which i FUCKING LOVE.

Blogger Nate February 26, 2016 2:06 PM  

Hey did you know that our gracious host is so full of himself that he actually uses "Voice of God" for a nick name?

Anonymous Anonymous February 26, 2016 2:07 PM  

"Actually, it's not Latin at all. I don't speak Latin. I speak Italian."

I speak a little high brow latin.

Arriba arriba andale!

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother February 26, 2016 2:16 PM  


Anonymous Philalethes February 26, 2016 2:34 PM  

Well, I loved the story – not only for its clever evocation of a half-familiar (I've read a lot about Rome) alternate world with fantasy elements seamlessly woven in, but also for the depth of feeling, which reminded me of favorite authors like Sturgeon and Pangborn. (I was a full-time SF fan in my youth, mid-1950s to mid-60s.) The blurb at Castalia House puts it perfectly: "...the story of an elven sorcerer and a religious monk, and how they discover that the transformational power of friendship can be the highest and most potent magic of all."

There's a famous story about the Buddha: Once his close disciple Ananda remarked that good friendship was "half of the holy life." The Buddha replied: "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life...."

That "Opera Vita Aeterna" did not receive fair consideration for the award it clearly deserved (I believe I read the rest of the candidates, and they were crap) is, for me, sufficient reason to say Yeah, go ahead, burn down the Hugos. Gernsback himself, I believe, would understand. A thorough house-cleaning is needed. At best, literature – including "science fiction" and fantasy – can ennoble; what these idiots have done to what I loved in my youth is a travesty.

As for the "Latin": It is, after all, an alternate world; an alternate Latin is only fitting – and very well done, I felt. I await with anticipation the next story in the series; I hope the unexpected excitements this year will not delay it too far.

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 26, 2016 2:35 PM  

Hey. Can you also do the hat dance?

On the topic, isn't the folks at 770 big into SF/F, where words and languages are invented?

Anonymous Shorty February 26, 2016 2:37 PM  

Has anyone from 770 investigated whether the elves are real yet?

Blogger Krul February 26, 2016 2:41 PM  

Well to be fair, they have a point.

"Opera Vita Aeterna" is the worst Kanji I've ever seen.

Anonymous Toddy Cat February 26, 2016 2:46 PM  

"Is! Is! Negate! Is! Yonder! Query!"

I would most certainly read a book with this title, but then again, that's just me. And, hey, did you guys know that some people are so stupid, they don't know what a pun is?

Blogger Stephen St. Onge February 26, 2016 2:46 PM  

"You can always tell a midwit, because he's always in a hurry to show everyone how smart he isn't."

I'm stealing that.

Anonymous WaterBoy February 26, 2016 2:50 PM  

Next thing you know they'll be criticizing A Clockwork Orange for using bastardized Russian....

Anonymous VFM #6306 February 26, 2016 3:00 PM  

You could not even use these idiots' brains for compost. They are not that fertile.

Anonymous rienzi February 26, 2016 3:04 PM  

If you see John Cleese, dressed as a Roman Centurion, coming to correct your Latin grammar, RUN!!

Blogger Josh February 26, 2016 3:04 PM  

Hey did you know that our gracious host is so full of himself that he actually uses "Voice of God" for a nick name?

Hey did you know Riker was offered command of his own ship?

Blogger Nate February 26, 2016 3:06 PM  

'You could not even use these idiots' brains for compost. They are not that fertile."

Don't be to hard on them... I mean do you see people over there who don't know the difference between the IRS and the Fed? Because we have those here now apparently.

Blogger RobertT February 26, 2016 3:14 PM  

I didn't use a dictionary at all.

I'm all in on this. Had you been tied to a dictionary, you wouldn't have added so many new words to the lexicon.

Anonymous VFM #6306 February 26, 2016 3:15 PM  

Yeah, I think I have. Watch them do math sometimes. Our bonehead notions stand out. Theirs are a requirement of membership. No wonder they simultaneously adored and did not read Redshirts. They live that book every day.

Anonymous Anonymous February 26, 2016 3:20 PM  

Hey. Can you also do the hat dance?"

My hypocrisy only goes so far.

Blogger Astrosmith February 26, 2016 3:28 PM  

These fools still think that your name means "The Voice of God".

Blogger weka February 26, 2016 3:35 PM  

@15 Midwits also boast of their credentials. Or position. Or both.
@24. Vox populi, vox dei (Lat) was the Romans being cynical. Most of their aphorisms were satirical in nature. I should read more of those poets -- it stretches my brain. But their nihilism grates.

Anonymous Archange February 26, 2016 3:35 PM  

OK, 20 semesters of Latin here, I'll take a shot at it.

I haven't read the original, so I don't know if this passage is part of an on-going conversation, but that's what "praeterea" implies --- it's "besides" or "in addition to" something that was just said. Without seeing what comes immediately before it, it's hard to tell if this is the right word to start off with.

The verb in the first sentence has to be changed to agree with the subject > creatus est.

Anonymous Senghendrake February 26, 2016 3:47 PM  

This makes about as much sense as criticizing Tolkein for not having perfect Old English grammar in the fictional languages of his LOTR trilogy.

Blogger Krul February 26, 2016 4:03 PM  

"No, that’s not how medieval Latin worked. It still had grammar!"

Indeed. I wonder how he'd handle the transition from Old English to Modern English? I've always had trouble with this tricky passage from the little known medieval poem "Bewulf Meets Godsylla"

Meanehwæl, baccat meaddehæle, monstær lurccen;
Fulle few too many drincce, hie luccen for fyht.
Ðen Hreorfneorhtðhwr, son of Hrwærowþheororthwl,
Æsccen æwful jeork to steop outsyd.
Þhud! Bashe! Crasch! Beoom! Ðe bigge gye
Eallum his bon brak, byt his nose offe;
Wicced Godsylla wæld on his asse.
Monstær moppe fleor wyþ eallum men in hælle.
Beowulf in bacceroome fonecall bamaccen wæs;
Hearen sond of ruccus sæd, “Hwæt ðe helle?”
Graben sheold strang ond swich-blæd scharp
Stond feorth to fyht ðe grimlic foe.
“Me,” Godsylla sæd, “mac ðe minsemete.”
Heoro cwyc geten heold wiþ fæmed half-nelson
Ond flyng him lic frisbe bac to fen
Beowulf belly up to meaddehæle bar,
Sæd, “Ne foe beaten mie færsom cung-fu.”
Eorderen cocca-cohla yce-coeld, ðe reol þyng.

—Tom Weller, Cvltvre Made Stvpid

Anonymous Archange February 26, 2016 4:12 PM  

Second sentence: you have an incomplete relative clause (qui. . . descriptus), but you can drop that and have a de facto relative clause by using just the participle. I would make it even more elegant by shifting its placement:

In descripto in narratione Creationis ordine naturae. . .

As for "perfectius praestat", I'm not sure what you're getting at. I assume "homo" is the intended subject. So, "[man] excels more perfectly"? Is that what you meant to convey?

In any case, I'd shift whatever verb is used here into the past, I think the imperfect, as we're dealing with continuing action, so for this verb > praestabat.

Blogger Doom February 26, 2016 7:19 PM  

Hmm? Oh? I'm a midwit at least half the time. I try hard, but sometimes I catch on in spite of myself.

Blogger David of One February 26, 2016 7:29 PM  

Semper ubi sub ubi!

Verbally ... Always wear underwear!
Literally, Always where under where!

So from the memory of high school Latin class, this is what I remember of our "jokes" as Latin is a very specific and precise language ... at least as compared to American English.

I also remember my HS Latin Teacher having a wooden plaque that had this on it.

Anonymous BGKB February 26, 2016 8:55 PM  

“In one century we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English in college.” – Joseph Sobran

It only took one decade from leftists changing immigration policy for Harvard to offer Remedial English. 60 years from Kitty Hawk to the Moon.

OT: the Beeb is also reporting that a boy has won a girls in tech competition...

How much would be beating up Roidy Roussi pay?

Has anyone from 770 investigated whether the elves are real yet?

You must have missed the article on elf privilege, they keep everyone else down but oddly dwarves are the fantasy version of East Asians. #goblinlivesmatter

If you see John Cleese, dressed as a Roman Centurion, coming to correct your Latin grammar, RUN!!

Punching in the face works better you wont have to run ever again. Also works with people who complain about white after labor day. If they call the cops tell them he is your ex boyfriend that is stalking you.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy February 26, 2016 8:56 PM  

Actually, it's not Latin at all.

I thought it was. It can be parsed as "a work with an eternal life" (with "vita" and "aeterna" in the ablative case).

Blogger pdwalker February 26, 2016 11:00 PM  

You're last line is golden.

@27 that's funny. I actually began to understand it towards the end.

Blogger pdwalker February 26, 2016 11:01 PM  

*sigh* you're = your

- a midwit.

Blogger Zorro February 27, 2016 4:07 AM  

Uva uvam vivendo varia fit!

Here lies Agustus McCrae.

Blogger Rez Zircon February 27, 2016 9:27 AM  

My Latin is too old and tired to be useful, but there are people who practically speak it as a first language over at

Blogger Charlie Martel 7359 February 27, 2016 9:34 AM  

@5 Commune-ists. But I grew up around Italians.

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