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Translation Help Wanted!

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Translation Help Wanted!

Postby slide » Mon May 12, 2003 3:06 am

am getting married very soon and would want the following to be engraved on our wedding bands:<br /><br />"You are my light, my love, my universe."<br /><br />below is the whole quote:<br /><br />"Hush, my most beloved. You are my light, my love, my universe. My time shall stand still as I await your return. May you return with the love and affection that you so dearly promise me, and what my heart longingly yearns from you."<br /><br />couldn't find anyone i know who could help me. any help would be most appreciated<br /><br />thanks!
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Re:Translation Help Wanted!

Postby adz000 » Mon May 19, 2003 10:25 pm

Addressing a woman with a masculine noun is not an issue since the gender of substantives is by no means a matter of sex organs. In Latin we are merely required to make appositive substantives agree in gender and number as far as we can. <br />In any event the first noun presents no problem since it is feminine and a central exclamation throughout the elegists. My attempt:<br /><br />mihi Lux, mihi Amores, mihi Omnes.<br /><br />The use of a plural noun for a singular presents no problem, especially with special nouns like deliciae and amores (I'm drawing here on Gildersleeve's grammar 321 remark 1: "Pompeius, nostri amores, ipse se afflixit." C. Att.,II.19,2).<br />I'll defend my choice of omnes rather than omnia on the grounds that it's more sonorous and, I think, less insulting. I've always been advised to translate "the universe" with reference to people as omnes. But someone with a better ear for Latin may disagree. Still the sense "you are everyone to me" is a bit neater than "you are everything to me". In any case we wouldn't want to call her our "mundus", by etymology our pit, unless we were already imagining divorce proceedings, nor would something like "rerum natura" be appropriate here because it is violent and too near to what Bembo called in his fine epigram on Rafael "magna parens" -- great mother of all. I think most of us would find calling our wife our mother of everything a little distasteful.<br /><br />To slide: Apologies for my longwindedness. You might want to wait to see if other people give better solutions than I have; I certainly don't want to ruin a wedding band. You probably didn't reckon Latin translation was this strange and uncertain. However, if you're in a hurry I think what I have is perfectly grammatical, intelligible, and elegant and I don't think your wife is likely to chide you for your bad Latinity anytime soon.<br />Best of luck!
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Re:Translation Help Wanted!

Postby Elucubrator » Tue May 20, 2003 11:04 pm

[quote author=adz000 link=board=3;threadid=107;start=0#549 date=1053383140] In any case we wouldn't want to call her our "mundus", by etymology our pit, unless we were already imagining divorce proceedings,<br />[/quote]<br />[face=SPIonic][size=18=12]<br />Where in the mundus did you find that the word "mundus" by etymology is "pit"? It is nothing of the sort; it is cognate with Sanskrit "mund" (purificari) and has only connotations of ornament, purity, and elegance in its original meaning. In later Church Latin it acquires the double meaning as it's equivalent Greek word ko/smoj, which has the sense of "ornament" and also means "universe".<br /><br />I don't see how anyone can show that it is related to any word for "pit". Where did you read this? ??? Disabuse me of my ignorance or admit defeat and put it in the clear.<br /><br />amicably,<br /><br />Sebastian :) [/face][/size]<br /><br />PD By the way, I think that Mr. or Miss "Slide", as the case may be is long gone and will not return. Whoever it was did not leave an email address for contact, does not check personal messages on the Textkit site, and did not respond to earlier posts in this thread which have been since removed.<br /><br />At any rate, I think I have an elegant solution to the problem, whether Slide returns or not that I'll post in another message, to which others may comment.<br /><br />-S.
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Text for a ring

Postby Elucubrator » Tue May 20, 2003 11:55 pm

Here is a possible solution that might prove an elegant ornament to the wedding band: <br /><br /><br /> (tu) lumen, tu mihi amores, a!, mundusque mihi es tu <br /> <br /><br />What I have tried to do, since the text is going to be engraved on a wedding band, is to create a text that runs back into itself, intending it to be symbolic of completeness and union in the marriage. Hence the first (tu) in parentheses is only written once in the engraving; the "tu" (you) is for the person in love the beginning and the end of all, as it is in the line as well.<br /><br />The message is nice when you begin reading it with the "tu", but "tu" is really the end of the hexametre verse that begins with "lumen". Metrics revealed:<br /> <br /> I II III IV V VI<br /><br /> | | | | | |<br /> (tu) | lumen | tu mihi am|ores, | a! mund|usque mi|hi es tu<br /> | | | | | |<br /><br /><br />It also works out that the metrical pattern is, if taking the foot as a unit, palindromic, or chiastic if you prefer: the first and the last foot are spondaic; the second and penultimate feet dactylic, the two metrical feet in the center again spondaic. <br /><br />This arrangement gives the effect of moments of stability and tranquility (spondees) at the beginning and end of the verse, interspersed with dactyls signifying passion in the second foot, and a smooth yet brisk sloping return to ease in the fifth foot. <br /><br />The peak moment occurs in the exlamation "a!" of the fourth foot. Tension is not only built up by the metrical pattern in this first half of the verse, but by the lack of a caesura in the third foot and the inclusion of a diaeresis (break between words at the juncture of the third and fourth foot.) <br /><br />The fourth foot Caesura prolongs the resolution of the verse and has a strong syntactical pause as well, while a pause of sorts is also required after "amores". <br /><br />Anyway, these are the metrical effects which you may interpret as a strong exclamation of passion, or as mimetic of the act of making love itself, which begins slow, proceeds to a climax and settles down again. The voice in the words being an echo of that love.<br /><br />But there is yet more:<br /><br />When it is engraved properly on the wedding band you will have two spondees touching on either side of a dactyl. Inside the ring the sets of spondees will be opposite one another, and the dactyls will also be opposite. The lines connecting these points are intended to be symbolic of the Cosmos and if the the ring is stood upon its end and spun it will act as a model of the spherical nature of the universe, with one line serving as axis, the other tracing the shape of the equator, and the words of love filling the space within the orb with their echo.<br /><br />Thoughts or comments?<br /><br />Sebastian<br />
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Re:Translation Help Wanted!

Postby adz000 » Thu May 22, 2003 5:58 pm

hi!<br />You were right on target to call me in for my linguistic sloppiness. But since I always enjoy the competence and completeness of your posts, my error has succeeded in a small way if it has called your attention to what I think is a<br />very interesting problem.<br /><br />I recant my statement: mundus has no etymological relative that means "pit". What I was sloppily referring to was the mundus Cerealis, the fourth entry for mundus in the OLD (NB: not definition four of mundus; for some reason, perhaps significantly, the OLD chose to list four definitions of mundus as separate entries with distinct conjectural etymologies) being "a subterranean vault, at Rome or elsewhere, supposed to communicate with the lower world". It was into this pit that the old Roman hero, so the story goes, supposedly dove into for the sake of his city. There are various citations from Festus and Varro explaining that the pit was opened 3 times a year accompanied with several restrictions on war and marriage, etc.. The adjective mundalis (opposed to mundanus) refers strictly to this pit and finds its way into the corpus inscriptionum from Capua, it cannot have been an entirely minor part of Roman religion.<br /><br />Your solution is incredibly elegant and I cannot have imagined anything more beautifully symmetrical myself. But, though I defer to your experienced judgment, I still feel a bit of uncertainty and even inconcinnity about mundus that might be useful to discuss, since it bears on translation into Latin in general.<br /><br />When we're translating into Latin, into what time period of Latin are we translating? To what extent must we imagine ourselves Romans?<br /><br />This was a central issue of Latin style in the Renaissance which Bembo and Sadoleto answered by becoming Ciceronian parrots, calling Turks Thracians and nunneries sacrarum virginum collegium. Obviously this extreme is laughable, but it must be recognized that if we take the opposite position and every natural and "semi-barbaric" incorporation into the Latin vocabulary from Augustine onwards is taken as fair game, we are not at all speaking a language recognizable as Latin. It would be like someone composing an email on this forum by mixing Chaucerian vocabulary, throwing in some Shakespeare, and spiking it with modern buzzwords.<br />The problem is that 2000 years after "classical Latin" we are mostly deaf to those sorts of distinctions. Even 400 years ago Milton could be considered writing a Latin that was at least (barely) alive to his age, even though it was subtly distinct from "classical" usage. <br /><br />All that windup for a very minor point. To me hearing the word mundus it is difficult to escape a resonance with the mundus Cerealis. The word itself sounds a bit dank to me, even though I know it also means clean and can respond to Horace's use "munditiis". My opinion is of course worthless. Depending on what age of Latin we're using or what sort of Latinists comprise our audience, we must decide whether the word mundus has that flavor or not. While it may be the case that "classical" Romans felt the two meanings, would they have responded to it? The poets seem to use the term without sarcasm or underlying disgust so it may seem fair to say that they did not. On more reflection I entirely support your use mundus in such a way. There are words in English like "mall" which has two polar meanings, a shopping mall, and an open space, which are related but are so distinct that it is impossible to confuse the two. This is a point that requires close reading to solve and it may still be insoluble. <br /><br />On the other hand it is hard to ignore a ritual enacted three times a year, which might have been deeply ingrained into the Roman mind. Similarly, punning and pseudo-etymological wordplay is no stranger to Roman poetry (Propertius and Virgil both draw on Callimachus' Aetia) just as it is common to certain modern poets. On these grounds, that there is in the word a possible joke, I still shy away from using it in such an open position (particularly as the last in a series where it could be mistaken for a punchline); if we do not take it as an underlying wordplay there is still the slight possibility of confusing it for the adjective mundus, thus "you are clean for me" which has the added bad-luck of making the addressed into a man. <br /><br />Of course the problem entirely disappears if we imagine ourselves using a more medieval form of Latin which had no contact with the mundus Cerealis; but the more we accept the latter the more Latin becomes a sort of pidgin or a code for English in which we falsely believe that every word has a one-to-one correspondence.<br /><br />I apologize for rambling so much and I hope there was something of use in what I've said for future translations. I suppose my point is that poetry of any age invites us to look at words in close ways and, regardless of what our aim for Latin translation is, we must always strive to hear and feel what we write deeply.<br /><br />Warmly,<br />Adam<br /><br />Also I've cut out a bit from Arnold's revised Latin prose composition (1920) where he writes about different ways to translate "the world". It might be slightly useful so long as we remember that Arnold loves drawing distinctions sometimes where there aren't any:<br />
<br />Again, we might meet with the word "world" in an English sentence; but we cannot translate it into Latin till we know whether it means "the whole universe", or "this globe", or "the nations of the world", or "people generally", or "mankind", or "life on earth".<br />
    <br />[1]Nam casu factus est mundus? Was the world (sun, moon, stars, and earth) made by chance?<br />[2]Luna circum tellurem movetur. The moon moves round the world (this planet).<br />[3]Orbi terrarum (or omnibus gentibus) imperabant Romani. The Romans were rulers of the world.<br />[4]Omnes (homines) insanire eum credunt. The whole world thinks him out of his mind.<br />[5]Nemo usquam. No one in the world.<br />[6]Multum hominibus nocuit. He did the world much harm.<br />[7]In hac vita numquam eum sum visurus. I am never likely to see him in this world.
<br />
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Re:Translation Help Wanted!

Postby rdavey » Tue May 27, 2003 6:00 am

How bloody big is this ring?
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