Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Children of the Night

A quick translation for this evening: Daughters of the night, filiae noctis, sons of the night filiis noctis, and children of the night liberi noctis. The latin word for night is nox, which is in the third declension. The singular genitive form is noctis.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Latin News Radio

Does your day simply not have enough latin in it? Feeling wistful for the mother tongue of rustic latium? Unexpectedly, Finland comes to the rescue! Nuntii Latini is a weekly broadcast of the news presented entirely in classical latin. Much of their website is also written in latin.

Latin Word of the Day

fenestra -ae :

Fenestra is part of what is called the first declension, which is always feminine. After the word, in what is a typical latin dictionary listing, we have -ae. This is the genetive case ending. If I wanted to speak about the 'girl of the window', I would write femina fenestrae. The genitive is usually translated to mean 'of...'. In classical latin, -ae is pronounced 'eye', the more modern english and italianate pronunciation would be 'ee'.

Why is the genitive ending important? It is the only ending that is unique between the cases. If we know that ending, we can tell how to decline the noun. With that we can tell someone to confringe fenestram(smash the window), and that fenestra celat(the window is hiding). Like many latin words, fenestra shows up in a modified form in english. It is the root of the word defenstrate, which is verb meaning 'to throw out a window'. This little word can be a lot of fun at parties, along with it's companions masticate and obsequious.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pickup line

Here's a quick latin pickup line:

Multa basia da mihi!

It translates as:

Give me many kisses!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Latin Phrase of the Day

Today's latin phrase:

Morituri te salutamus -- We who are about to die, salute you.

This phrase would be recited by the gladiators before the games where to begin, saluting the emperor.

A Brief Word About Latin

I'm going to make a few brief comments about latin, as a language. These can prove very helpful when it comes to actually translating. Latin is termed an inflected language. Inflection means that the endings of words change, depending on the role they play in a sentence. English has lost almost all of the inflection it originally inherited from languages like latin, so we are not used to this. We rely on word order to carry meaning.

Let me demonstrate with bellator, since this is a site intended for gamer's. The latin word bellator means warrior. It comes from the latin word for war, bello. Bellator changes it's ending, depending on the function it serves. Let's try an example out. What if we want to say that the warrior is flogging? The proper latin would be, bellator verberat. Verbero in latin is the act of flogging(as an aside, verberabilissumus means "altogether deserving of a flogging"). For the moment, note that the ending of verbero changed. We'll address that in a bit.

In the aforementioned latin sentence, bellator was in the nominative case. This is where a knowledge of grammar is useful. Nominative refers to what the word is doing, the role it plays in the sentence. A word in the nominative case is the subject of the sentence. Bellator verberat, means the warrior is flogging. Doesn't say who he's flogging. Not yet, anyway:) Let's change things. Let's say, "I am flogging the son of the warrior." The latin for that is verbero filium bellatoris. Filius means son. You'll notice that bellator has changed it's ending, adding -is. That makes it genitive. Genitive can be translated just by putting 'of' in front of the noun. So bellatoris, means 'of the warrior'. You'll notice that filius changed it's ending, too. That's because it's the object of the sentence. So it's in the accusative case.

That's it for today's basic latin lesson. I'll cover more in future posts, again, if you want me to translate something, don't hesitate to e-mail.


I am a student of the classics, previously studyed at University of Windsor. I have quite a few friends who use a mangled form of pidgeon latin. I'm always happy to see a popular interest in latin, however the phrases they come up with are often completely wrong, and have no real meaning. Latin can lend a sense of grandeur and significance to almost anything, but only when properly used. Herein I shall provide corrections of mangled latin I have seen online, and that I have been sent.

Seen any latin you want translated? E-mail me. I'm also happy to translate an english phrase into latin for you, if you want.