CHAT The motto: (was: Conlang Coat of Arms)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, September 4, 2004, 12:43|
On Saturday, September 4, 2004, at 05:53 , Adrian Morgan (aka Flesh-eating
> Peter Bleackley wrote:
>> Argent. In chief, a quill gules. In base, an anvil sable. The motto,
>> "accusativum per prefice indicabo".
> Could you please tell me what the translation of the quote would be if
> you added the "I think" bit at the start? To my mind, that's an
> intregal part of the quote. I assume it's not quite as simple as,
> "cogito accusativum per prefice indicabo".
You assume correctly - we need the accusative & infinitive construction.
But - HELP!!!! - the 'Latin' is getting more terrible as we go on.
I said in an earlier mail that *"per prefice" was bad Latin because "per"
governs the accusative case. That's true, but - blushes deeply - I am
utterly & thoroughly ashamed of myself for not spotting that 'prefix' is
ENGLISH, not Latin!
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
I should've noticed that at once. For a start, the Latin form of the
prefix is PRAE- (not pre-). I fact, the actual Latin word for 'prefix' is
"praefixum" (2nd declension neuter).
So, sorry Peter, far from *"accusativum per prefice indicabo" being
perfect, as one or two others said, it is awful. It contains both a
lexical and a syntactic error - not a good advertisement for Conlang.
Can I make it absolutely clear that I am not intending to criticize Peter
or anyone else? Peter's idea was excellent. But I'm supposed to be the
latinist around here and singularly failed to correct it properly; the
only person I'm criticizing is myself. The rest of the email is meant to
be positive & helpful.
So, before moving onto Adrian's point, let us get the original correct.
OK - if we want to retain the preposition "per" (by means of) then we
"accusativum per praefixum indicabo"
If we are happy with just the plain ablative being used instrumentally (i.
e. 'with a prefix'), then we should have:
"accusativum praefixo indicabo"
Right - now if we want to make the clause depend on "cogito", then:
If we want the version with "per" it would be:
"cogito me accusativum per praefixum indicaturum"
If we used the plain ablative rather than per+accusative, it would be:
"cogito me accusativum praefixo indicaturum"
Before some pedant points out that "indicaturum" is the future participle
and that the future infinitive 'should' be "indicaturum esse", I had
better say "Yes, I do know that (and have known it for some 50 years)!" I
also know that in practice the "esse" (to be) part was very often omitted
and IMNSHO is certainly better omitted here.
But the 'cogito' versions are maybe longer than we'd want for a motto
below a shield. In Latin the constructions used for reported
speech/thought ("oratio obliqua" is what the traditional grammar books
call these forms) are so distinctive that it is not at all uncommon just
to find whole sentences or, indeed, paragraphs written as 'oratio obliqua'
with no introductory verb of speaking/thinking if the context is clear.
So we could just have:
"me accusativum per praefixum indicaturum"/"me accusativum praefixo
Well, I've now given you all six variants in correct Latin, so which shall
we go for?
My preference is: "Me accusativum praefixo indicaturum"
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760