Andrei Zodian‎ > ‎Biography‎ > ‎Languages‎ > ‎

Latine (Latin)

I am often surprised to discover that some people who went through school hated that experience. I generally enjoyed my time in school, with the exception of Latin. This was the fourth language I was taught and its complexity and paucity left little room for error. Furthermore, because the curriculum was changed while I was going through school, I caught double the "years" I should've had.

I have forgotten most Latin grammar I studied, but I do recall something about a weird case that's lost in the other romance languages, such as the case "ablative". As for verbs, I had to look up someone else's recollection, as mine is far too foggy:
Verbs belong to one of 3 conjugations (-are, -ere and -ire) and may be regular or irregular. The verb endings for I, you (singular), he/she/it, we, you (plural) and they, are all different, and change again for different tenses. So while “to walk” has just 4 endings, ("walk, "walks", "walked" and "walking"), Latin verbs can run into 30–40.

Still, even a "light exposure" made it easier to learn or at least understand other "Romance" (Latin) languages that I've never studied in school, such as Italian and Spanish, which I could understand even before studying on my own.

Latin is dead to many, but not to University students when dining or graduation or Universiade, as the following song (aka "Gaudeamus" or "Let us rejoice") shows. Watch it in choral or written version and learn more.

There are some clever sayings that I committed to memory without even trying and find myself using occasionally.
  • castigat ridendo mores - laughing corrects morals, Jean de Santeul
  • quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi
  • vox populi, vox dei (also, vox nihili)- 
  • carpe diem/noctem
  • cui bono? - who benefits?
  • et in Arcadia ego - rural, idyllic region of ancient Greece, "even in A here I am" Poussin painting
  • felix culpa - happy accident, Biblical origin
  • panem et circenses - bread and circuses - Satires by Juvenal
  • amor vincit omnia -  
  • nemo sine vitio est
  • mens sana in corpore sano - 
  • ars longa, vita brevis - (Hippocrates) Life's short.
  • in vino veritas - Pliny the Elder
  • acta es fabula, plaudite - Augustus (also, bush)
  • alea jacta est - the die has been cast
  • caveat emptor - in early Roman law, there were no warranties and the buyer was responsible
  • si vi amara, ama - Seneca
  • naturalia non turpia
  • vitam regit fortuna, non sapientia - Cicero
  • si vis pacem, para bellum - Plato
  • quod me nutrit me destruit - what nourishes me, kills me
  • Quis Costodiet Ipsos Custodies? - ‘Who will guard the guards?’
  • acta, non verba - deeds, not words
  • intelligenti pauca — few words suffice for he who understands
  • invicta — unconquered
  • lex parsimoniae — Occam’s Razor; the simplest explanation is usually the correct one
  • malum in se — inherently wrong vs malum prohibitum — only wrong because it is against the law
Others, I don't know so well, but wish I did.
  • Homo praesumitur bonus donec probetur malus. (innocence presumption)
  • Caelum, non animum, mutant, qui trans mare currunt. (Horace: those who traverse the sea change the climate, not their mind)
  • Primum viveri deinde philosophari. (live before you philosophize)
  • Amat victoria curam. (success favors those who take pains)
  • Quem una uxor non castigat degnius est pluribus. (Petrarca: whomever does not see his wife as punishment deserves more than one)
  • Ad tristem partem strenua suspicio. (Syrus: the minds of the unfortunate are prone to suspicion)
  • Edamus, Bibamus, Gaudeamus: post mortem nulla voluptas. (Cicero)
  • Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum. (Cicero: Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.)
  • Exitus Arta Probat - (Ovid) the result justifies the deed.
  • Quis, Quid, Ubi, Quibus Auxiliis, Cur, Quomodo, Quando? - (Quintilian) ‘Who, what, where, with what, why, how, when?’ 
  • Ubi concordia, ibi Victoria. - Where there is unity, there is the victory. (Publius Syrus)
  • Semper inops quicumque cupit. - Whoever desires is always poor. (Claudian)
  • multa paucis — say much in few words
  • nosce te ipsum — know thyself (Cicero)
For more, see Wikipedia or WikiQuote.
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