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Isaac Newton quote

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Isaac Newton quote

Postby Quinny » Wed May 05, 2004 6:20 pm

Can anyone help me to translate Sir Isaac Newton's quote, into latin please?

it goes 'Standing on the shoulders of giants'

Any help would be great.

Thanks
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Postby threewood14 » Wed May 05, 2004 9:04 pm

I'm not exactly sure about this, but I think I'm close...

Stare in corpora magnorum.

Mayybe, don't take my word for it though.
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Postby Episcopus » Wed May 05, 2004 9:07 pm

Firstly you should post your own attempt. It is not allowed that any one stroll in and request a free translation service unless you be genuinely learning, in which case you will have at least managed a try.

If you want to stay standing on this is an ablative relation.
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Postby Quinny » Thu May 06, 2004 5:11 pm

I do not have any wish at this point in my life to begin learning latin, however i was hoping that i had asked a simple enough question on a friendly, helpful and reliable website to be given a simple enough answer. It has came to my attention that you do not wish to be of help the one of situation that i find myself.
Thankyou to threeworld14 for your kindness in attempting to translate the quote in question, and thankyou to Episcopus for being of no help whatsoever and for being a rude and ignorant young person.
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Postby benissimus » Thu May 06, 2004 5:41 pm

I would have said:
Stans in gigantium humeris

Not sure if the form gigantium is attested. In humeris sounds a little odd to me as well, but it is literal.

There is no forum policy regarding giving translations, but many people have come in here before, both who know and do not know Latin and received prompt answers. While it may not seem to have anything to do with learning, free attempts at translation are an excellent practice for those who know Latin and they have been a part of the forum for as long as I have been here.
Last edited by benissimus on Thu May 06, 2004 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Episcopus » Thu May 06, 2004 5:51 pm

Why do you use a present participle to denote the evident implications of "Standing" being a thing rather than an attribute of something not present in the sentence?
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Postby benissimus » Thu May 06, 2004 5:53 pm

Why do you use a present participle to denote the evident implications of "Standing" being a thing rather than an attribute of something not present in the sentence?

Because I think it means "(I did it) standing on the shoulders of giants". Not something like "Standing on the shoulders of giants (is....)"
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Postby threewood14 » Thu May 06, 2004 8:11 pm

That would mean its the perfect tense right? Steti?
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Postby Episcopus » Mon May 10, 2004 4:16 pm

No. The present participle denotes action occurring at the same time as the main verb, but since there is no main verb here we are left to ponder Steven's mental state :wink:
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Postby benissimus » Mon May 10, 2004 6:01 pm

It is a fragment in both languages, O dear bishop.
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Postby Democritus » Wed May 12, 2004 4:45 pm

Speaking of Isaac Newton in Latin... I ran across this web site:

http://dibinst.mit.edu/BURNDY/Collectio ... Babson.htm

This contains online texts by Newton, most of them in Latin.

After I read this thread, it occurred to me that the original quote "...on the shoulders of giants" might have been in Latin, but it looks like it really was English.

The following background (From An Underground Education by Richard Zacks, p.37) might assist any translators of this quote:

"If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."

"Pundits use this quote as the ultimate expression of humility in genius, but what they miss (and almost everyone else does too) is that Newton wrote that line to a very, very, short man, a hunchbacked fellow scientist with whom he was having a bitter feud.

"Newton (1642-1727) was furious that Robert Hooke (1635-1703) was staking claim to many key discoveries in optics and calculus. (Hooke did in fact build the first reflecting telescope). [...]

"Newton wrote a long letter to Hooke on February 5, 1675, defending himself from charges of intellectual piracy, praising Hooke for trifles, and then Newton built to the famous `standing on the shoulders of giants' line. (Newton, by the way, adapted it from a line about pygmies in a then-famous book called Anatomy of Melancholy.)

"You might translate Newton's sentiments: `While I admit to building on the work of my scientific predecessors, I certainly didn't learn anything from a dwarf like you.'"
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