'Brevissimae bracae' is Latin for hotpants

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Kasper
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'Brevissimae bracae' is Latin for hotpants

Post by Kasper » Wed Sep 01, 2004 6:02 am

September 1, 2004


The Vatican has come up with some new Latin descriptions that have not received a universal welcome. Elizabeth Day reports from London.

As the iuvenis voluptarius might say: "Put on your brevissimae bracae femineae and let's go to the taberna nocturna and drink some vinum rubrum Burdigalense."

The Vatican has helpfully produced a new lexicon of modern words in Latin, providing translations for such non-classical terms as playboy, hotpants, nightclub and merlot. The lexicon is intended to provide updated vocabulary for theologians writing in Latin about current issues.

For those wishing to write about anarchy or dissent in the 21st century, entries include tromocrates (terrorist) and punkianae catervae assecla (punk).

Theologians referring to the modern vices have an array of new words at their disposal - acre vinum Aemilianum (Lambrusco wine) and fistula nicotiana (cigarette). There is a decidedly Italian emphasis on food and drink, with translations for pizza (placenta compressa), ciabatta bread (domestica crepida) and tortellino (pastillus tortilis).

Although British classicists have dismissed the updated translations as "naff", the lexicon authors insist that they are promoting the use of Latin "for the entire world".

Cletus Pavanetto, president of the Latinitas Foundation that produced the dictionary, said: "There are lots of words that classical Latin could not possibly know the meaning of, like drugs or words relating to current affairs.

"We devise new words by going back to their origins and etymology so that people who use Latin can write about the modern world. It is for theologians who wish to make their writing more relevant to modern issues, but it is also for any Latin enthusiast who wishes to make himself better understood," he said.

The Latinitas Foundation is an academic institution founded to preserve and evolve the Latin language.

Its existence reflects the crucial role Latin plays in the Vatican, where official documents are drawn up in the language. Conversational Latin is also prevalent. At annual synods in Rome, it is the main language, along with English, for prelates' discussions.

Peter Jones, founder of Friends of Classics, a society promoting the study of ancient languages in schools, said there was a long history of inventing Latin words.

Geoffrey Fallows, president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, said the Vatican's "trendy Latin" was merely a curiosity. "The whole point of Latin for people like me is to have access to, and appreciation of, ancient and medieval literature. This kind of 'modernisation' is a side-show as far as people in mainstream education are concerned," he said.

But he acknowledged that the translation for hotpants was particularly admirable. "Bracae is a good classical word for trousers and brevissimae means very short," he said. "I'd have to agree with them on that one."

- Telegraph
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

Kasper
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Post by Kasper » Wed Sep 01, 2004 6:02 am

Yet somehow "placenta compressa" does not arouse my appetite :?
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

Eureka
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Re: same here

Post by Eureka » Wed Sep 01, 2004 11:23 am

* deleted *
Last edited by Eureka on Wed Sep 01, 2004 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Episcopus
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Post by Episcopus » Wed Sep 01, 2004 1:16 pm

What are all those crazy bishôps in the Vatican doing?! Playboy?

I am all to familiar with the Latinitas foundation.

Does any one then know these words:

1. Pakistani
2. Square-root

May as well try!
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Post by whiteoctave » Wed Sep 01, 2004 3:05 pm

pakistani, as an adjective, would be best rendered by Arachosius; as people of pakistani origin, Arachotae, -arum (m.pl.)
as for square root, you would surely write the greek word dunamis (cf. Plato's Theaetetus c.147), either in greek letters (as in cicero's correspondence) or translitterated to dynamis.

~D

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Post by Episcopus » Wed Sep 01, 2004 3:49 pm

Firstly :shock: Astounded that you know that. Many thanks :)

Secondly would dynamis be declined as Greek 3rd declension?
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Re: 'Brevissimae bracae' is Latin for hotpants

Post by Democritus » Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:24 pm

Kasper wrote:As the iuvenis voluptarius might say: "Put on your brevissimae bracae femineae and let's go to the taberna nocturna and drink some vinum rubrum Burdigalense."
I don't know who to blame, the journalists who write these stories or the Latinists themselves, but many of these neologisms come across as pretty lame to me.

I'm in favor of coining new Latin words for new things. (Why not? Go to town with it!) But I really wish they would come up with catchier words.

This story says the word for "punk" is punkianae catervae assecla, but that doesn't really do justice to the Latin. The new word there is just punkianus.

A recent BBC story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3030169.stm) lists the following Latin neologisms:

telephonium albo televisifico coniunctum - video telephone
tempus maximae frequentiae - rush hour
publicae securitatis custos internationalis - Interpol

Those aren't "new words," those are just definitions, in Latin.

Most European countries have a similar word for police. Why can't they just back-form the word "policia" into a similar Latin word? Why does Latin have to have publicae securitatis custos ?

Are these linguists paid per-syllable?

The English word "video telephone" is already derived from Latin and Greek roots. Most of the work has already been done. Even that English term is too long, and it's easy to see that it will get shortened to "videophone" or even something goofy like "vidphone." Most of the time, we don't say "telephone," we say "phone." For "video phone," why can't we coin a Latin word like telephonium coram or visiphonium or vultovox ?

I don't know about the Romans, but among modern-day Latin word-coiners, the preference seems to be for the longest possible terms. I don't get it. That's not fun at all.

What about Latin neologisms from classical times? When Romans adopted new inventions or foreign customs, did they always select the longest possible names for them? Or is that a modern convention? The Romans frequently borrowed Greek words unchanged, didn't they?

For "hot pants" how about braculae calentes ? :)

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Re: 'Brevissimae bracae' is Latin for hotpants

Post by Democritus » Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:30 pm

Democritus wrote:For "hot pants" how about braculae calentes ? :)
By the way, is it possible to form a double-diminutive, in Latin?

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Post by Michaelyus » Wed Sep 01, 2004 5:34 pm

Does anyone think that Latin should borrow from its daughter languages for modern terms?
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Post by whiteoctave » Wed Sep 01, 2004 6:35 pm

Latin double diminutives are all about the place, chiefly in poetry and comedy, but elegy contains some and even old Cicero throws the odd one in. a few examples like ancillula, agellulus and the adjective pauxillulus suggest themselves. i suppose too that puellula is strictly a double dim since puella itself is a feminine form of the dimin puellus that derives from puer.

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Post by Democritus » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:19 pm

Michaelyus wrote:Does anyone think that Latin should borrow from its daughter languages for modern terms?
Yes, sure, why not.

There's no such thing as a "pure" language. All languages are mixtures. New words have to come from somewhere. You can build them up from presumably "native" roots or you can just import them from a foreign language. All languages are basically arbitrary, they are all on some level "invented."

IMHO, new words and phrases should be in some way pleasing or fun, or should make sense on a gut level. You can't really avoid using the reflexes that you've developed in other languages, and there's not much reason to try. European languages borrow words from one another all the time. Why should neo-Latin be an exception?

If English can borrow the word virus, then I think neo-Latin can borrow it right back again. But it could also take words like byte or rocket. English has rocket, German has Rakete, neo-Latin could have a latinized version of it. Same story with a word like automobile. Automobile is a Greek-Latin hybrid word, but who cares? The important thing is, a lot of modern languages use variations of this word. Why shouldn't neo-Latin use it too?

Which term do you prefer: raw fish and rice or sushi ? ;)

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Post by benissimus » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:56 pm

I think this verbose sort of phrasing comes from the philosophical/scientific forms of Latin that were often used in the medieval ages. Since ecclesiastic Latin (=Vatican Latin) was around at the same time, it adopted some of the same habits. I would never use words like the Vatican is offering in classical Latin, since the entire purpose of classical Latin is to preserve a very specific time frame of Latin vocabulary. I suppose the only important thing when trying to express modern ideas is that everyone understand you. :)
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

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Post by Episcopus » Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:51 pm

I use 'currus' for car. In the context of a modern story it's obvious despite the slight inaccuracy.

Might there be any derogatory abbreviations for 'Arachosius' ? :o Martial or Juvenal had to write some thing on them. just wanna have fun

I am reading Harry Potter at the moment and don't really like all the crazy 5 word modern terms for things. There is quite a wide vocabulary in that book.
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Post by whiteoctave » Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:10 pm

currus for car seems sensible, seeing as car is a shortened form of carriage, and the difference between carriage and chariot is surely academic, since its a linear progression from one to the other with little significant change. the earliest citation of carriage in english attributed to a wheeled means of conveyance (as opposed to its earlier abstract meaning of 'carrying) is in whitehorne's Arte Warre of 1560.
as regards Arachosius, the word and its derivates are extremely rare, only being in Pliny, Priscian and Justinian. Form your own diminutive or shortened form by analogy.

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Post by Episcopus » Fri Sep 03, 2004 2:15 pm

How about Arachi, -orum :lol:

I think that those who are going to be attracted to Latin by terms such as 'hotpants' really should not be doing Latin at all. The immaturity and insolence of some people you know. Moreover terms such as 'Playboy' are not to be mentioned in the Holy See. It is a disgrace. I hope my documents have arrived at 00120 Fondazione Latinitas. Rest assured that they do not include words such as 'hotpants'. As my dear David will know however there are turnips aplenty. 8) Strange unprecedented 4th declension turnips haha. I was trying to convey that each turnip is uniquely cut and shaped by the Lord and each has a personality, thus some might be napus, -i others might be napus, -us or others might even be (but these rare Pokémon) napus, -eris. But brevissimae bracae is absolutely ridiculous.
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Post by Democritus » Sat Sep 04, 2004 5:27 pm

Episcopus wrote:I am reading Harry Potter at the moment and don't really like all the crazy 5 word modern terms for things. There is quite a wide vocabulary in that book.
Yes, for example, when Harry and Dudley are fighting over who gets to look through the keyhole to watch uncle Vernon read Harry's letters, keyhole is translated as foramen in quo clavis insereretur. I was scratching my head over that, wondering if the Romans actually had keys and keyholes.

Also publici cursus chartula for postcard and tapete calceis purgandis for doormat.

On the other hand, the translation uses the nice, simple word autocinetum for car, and vehere for drive.

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Post by Episcopus » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:49 pm

Great book though fair play, I am really enjoying it. Sometimes the Latin is 'vanilla', with little flair, ever so slightly clumsy it appears to me, verb always at the end, sometimes it may be complex and well rendered. Credit to Peter Needham there, the Latin, apart from what you mentioned Democritus, seems to me authentic. haha my little sister said, ooh you must be good at latin to read the whole harry potter book in it, do you think you can finish it? If only she knew the crazy way in which latin students not yet having acquired any proper instinct for the language (for few write anything more than a few simple lines nowadays) are hurled into those orations of Cicero. At least harry potter is in a modern context and you are comfortable with its surroundings. As D'Ooge said in his Viri Romae teachers must also construct the classical atmosphere without which all teaching of language is in vain. I hear this point slightly. For, in so many classical texts, even if I understand the language thereof, I still can not properly comprehend that about which the text is talking.
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Post by annis » Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:20 pm

Episcopus wrote:For, in so many classical texts, even if I understand the language thereof, I still can not properly comprehend that about which the text is talking.
This is the job of a good commentary. Grab one of the Cambridge Green&Yellows of some Latin author. I think you'll find that very helpful.

I know some people hate commentaries, fearing their minds will be tainted by foolish academic theorizing, and that somehow they will thereby be denied access to the "authentic text." Since we're not ancient Greeks and Romans the authentic text is denied us already, so we best grab a good commentary.
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Post by Michaelyus » Mon Sep 06, 2004 1:18 pm

Democritus wrote: Yes, for example, when Harry and Dudley are fighting over who gets to look through the keyhole to watch uncle Vernon read Harry's letters, keyhole is translated as foramen in quo clavis insereretur. I was scratching my head over that, wondering if the Romans actually had keys and keyholes.
http://www.nokey.com/ankeymus.html
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Post by cweb255 » Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:22 am

Why use currus when you use carrus.

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Post by whiteoctave » Wed Sep 08, 2004 7:36 am

carrus seems to me a far too specialised sense, being as it is a vehicle attached to a certain geographical unit, i.e. Gaul, with often military functions. if you want to follow up the carr- stem, carruca would be rather more appropriate, but still, in my view, not as Latine as currus.

~D

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