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Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

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Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

Postby Gianluca » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:47 pm

I just need assistance in translating a very short sentence from Latin to English.

I tried to translate it but I am not sure if it is correct or not.

Thanks a million,

Gianluca

...ut pueri olim dant crustula blandi doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima.

"...if the student wants to offer pastry to flatter the teacher, he/she must first learn how to discern the elements."
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Re: Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

Postby furrykef » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:04 pm

I actually learned a dumb-down version of this sentence from Wheelock. Nice to stumble upon the original in this way. :) You have a typo, though: "pueri" should be "pueris".

"Ut", when used with a verb in the indicative, generally means "just as" or "just like when".

"Puerīs" is the dative, so they're the ones receiving the pastries.

"Crūstula" is what's being given, of course, so it's in the accusative.

The role of ōlim here is unclear to me; perhaps somebody else can explain it. In any case, it's not necessary to understand the idea of the sentence.

Therefore, "blandī doctōrēs" is nominative, and the subject of this phrase. So what we have so far is, "Just as charming teachers give pastries to boys..."

The second half is more difficult due to the word order. "Velint" is subjunctive, so it must go with "ut". "Prima" agrees in case with "elementa". Thus, "ut elementa prima discere velint" -- "so that they will want to learn the first elements" (i.e., "the basics").

So what we have here is, "just as charming teachers give pastries to boys, so that they will want to learn the basics."

This is not really a complete sentence. For it to make sense, it's necessary to make it fit with the previous one: "Quamquam rīdentem dīcere vērum quid vetat?" ("However, what prevents [me] from telling the truth, laughing?") So, all together: "However, what prevents [me] from telling the truth, laughing, just as charming teachers give pastries to boys so that they will want to learn the basics?"

One creative translator has translated this as, "But can't we laugh when we reveal a truth / like teachers bearing treats who bribe a youth / so that he'll gobble up his ABCs?"

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Re: Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

Postby adrianus » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:50 am

Porrò, cum tàm benè remunerati non essent (nec sint) magistri, ad humilia crustula non specialia res certè attinet,—ne expectationes commoveantur!
And since teachers weren't (nor aren't) so very well paid, we're probably talking about biscuits or sweets rather than fancy pastries, of course,—in case you raise expectations!
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

Postby furrykef » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:46 pm

For the record, Wheelock translated crūstula as "cookies". That's a rather loose translation, though, since cookies as we know them today didn't exist until around the 7th century AD (though things that are somewhat like cookies have existed for much longer).
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Re: Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

Postby Gianluca » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:24 pm

Thank you very very much for your kind assistance :)
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Re: Quick Help for Latin to English Translation

Postby Imber Ranae » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:41 am

This is from Horace's very first satire.

praeterea, ne sic ut qui iocularia ridens
percurram: quamquam ridentem dicere verum
quid vetat? ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi
doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima.

Beyond this, let me not be so cursory as one is when laughing
at jokes: and yet what prevents a man from speaking the truth
in jest? As bribing teachers have since ever given their boys
biscuits, so that they may be willing to learn their alphabet.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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