02 02 2012 Happy World

Here comes a secret: I'm a complete failure when it comes to speaking Latin.

To my excuse: It became coursework later in my school time - I was already around age 15 - for the last three years of the  - back then -  thirteen school years in Germany. Now they have unfortunately changed it to twelve years which puts a whole lot of stress and pressure on the kids these days, but that's another story...

Back then at age fifteen, life had just gotten really exciting with party fun and all that comes with it and the stuff I wanted to learn or hear about LEAST were the battles of the Roman Empire, the togas, the slaves, the forum, the... presented by a little shy Latin teacher.

So - I had successfully suppressed this shortcoming of mine until now - twenty years later - my son recently started to learn Latin in school. 

Of course I told him about my encounter with the mother of so many languages - not without making clear, that this will looked at as a SINGLE accident and not to be repeated in family history... :) I now actually think, Latin is a really cool and totally undervalued brain exercise and I am much impressed and inspired by the beauty and the craftsmanship of the Roman architecture, design and art.

Thumbs up - my son loves it so far... and lucky me, because I found a book called: "Latin for all occasions" written by Henry Beard, which is filling in all my (gigantic) gaps with just the sentences I'm missing...

For example: 

Pithy Latin Expressions:

- By that very fact
Ipso facto

- No way
Nullo modo

- Read my lips.
Labra lege.

- A done deal
Pactum factum

- Fat chance
Fors fortis

- Accidentally on purpose
Casu consulto


- My dog ate it.
Canis meus id comedit.

- I did call. Maybe your answering machine is broken.
Sane ego te vocavi. Forsitan capedictum tuum desit.

- Baby, Sweetheart, would I lie to you?
Amicule, deliciae, num is sum qui mentiar tibi?

- I was kidnapped by aliens. What year is it?

Hostes alienigeni me abduxerunt. Qui annus est?


- I think some people in togas are plotting against me.
Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.

- In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags.
Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem.

Things to Say to a Teenager:

- Really Rad, dude!
Radicitus, comes!

- What's happening?
Quid fit?

Bumper Stickers:

- I brake for animals
Frena pro feris teneo

- Save the whales
Balaenae nobis conservandae sunt

- Honk if you speak Latin
Sona si latine loqueris

- When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt

- If you can read this bumper sticker, you are both very well educated and much too close
Si hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis propinquus ades

Sounding Smart in Latin:

- Listen, would you repeat everything you just told me, only this time say it in English?
Heus, modo itera omnia quae mihi nunc nuper narravisti, sed nunc Anglice?

- Oh! Was I speaking Latin again?
Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar?

- Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.
Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur.

- Sure, I speak a little Latin.
Sane, paululum linguae Latinae dico.

- I picked it up here and there. Really, Latin isn't all that hard.
Id legi modo hic modo illic. Vero, Latine loqui non est difficilissimum.

- It looks like a tricky language, but you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Lingua speciem involutam praebet, sed sat cito eam comprehendes.

- And remember, there aren't any Romans around to correct your pronunciation.
Atque memento, nulli adsunt Romanorum qui locutionem tuam corrigant.


- The check is in the mail.
Perscriptio in manibus tabellariorum est.

- I have nothing to declare.
Nihil declaro.

- I don't know what you're talking about.
- Nescio quid dicas.

- It was that way when I got here.
Ita erat quando hic adveni.

- There's no one here by that name.
Nemo hic adest illius nominis.

- Don't call me, I'll call you.
Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.


- Your fly is open.
Braccae tuae aperiuntur.

- Your slip is showing.
Subucula tua apparet.

- You have a big piece of spinach on your front teeth.
In dentibus anticis frustum magnum spiniciae habes.

Yep - I think, that's all I need for now...A lot more 'useful' topics are covered in this little gem of a book...

What about you - any Latin hiding inside you?