September 05, 2005

Who said Latin is a dead language?

I'm planning to kick start our Latin studies during our first week back by substituting some cherce phrases from the Handy Latin Phrases website (on the sidebar, at right), instead of our usual Minimus. Some of the favorites, the kids' and mine, so far:

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.
I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

Vacca foeda!
Stupid cow!

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

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar.

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota
monax materiam possit materiari?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum.
A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

Tuis pugis pignore!
You bet your bippy!

Ita erat quando hic adveni.
It was that way when I got here. [This one seems to be getting a great deal of use, especially by the boys.]

Sic hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis propinquus ades.
If you can read this bumper sticker, you are very well-educated and much too close. [CafePress, anyone?]

Hocine bibo aut in eum digitos insero?
Do I drink this or stick my fingers in it? [Popular at meal times.]

Illiud Latine dici non potest.
You can't say that in Latin.

And most popular when dealing with friends, acquaintances, and the extended family who think that a classical home education, even of just the neo variety lol, and any Latin instruction before the age of 12, is akin to child abuse,

Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur.
Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.

Our secret -- the kids think it's fun and useful, sort of like a secret code.

If you haven't found anything useful here, you can request a particular translation; send your request to the Handy Latin website's "staff linguist" at

Or you can check the following for more good stuff:

Amo, Amas, Amat and More: How to Use Latin to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others by Eugene Ehrlich

Veni, Vidi, Vici : Conquer Your Enemies, Impress Your Friends with Everyday Latin, Ehrlich's follow-up (recently available at BookCloseouts)

Which Way to the Vomitorium: Vernacular Latin for All Occasions by Lesley O'Mara and Rose Williams

Latin for All Occasions by Henry Beard

Ave atque vale.

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