June 9th, 2007

Latin at lunchtime

I am reading Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose at the moment, and am having a bit of fun attempting rough translations of the Latin sprinkled throughout the book.  Despite never having taken Latin, I've been doing okay, but I've run into a few words that are not in my Oxford Latin Dictionary and wondered if anyone could help.  Here's the complete quote with the bold words representing ones I've been unable to translate:
Monasterium sine libris...est sicut civitas sine opibuscastrum sine numeris, coquina sine suppellecti, mensa sine cibis, hortus sine herbis, pratum sine floribus, arbor sine foliis...
This was my guess at what it all meant.  I understood the basic structure of BLANK without BLANK; there were a couple of pairs, though, that I couldn't figure out and are in brackets and words in bold are the mysteries:
A monastery without books...is like [citizenship without rights], [settlements without class], a cook without cooking implements, a table without food, a garden without plants, a meadow without flowers, a tree without leaves...
What threw me is that the first two pairs, which seemed political, didn't match the remaining pairs, which were more basic to everyday life and nature.  One or two of the words also seemed more Italian than Latin; since the tale is set in the late 14th century, this would be a fairly accurate reflection of how Latin morphed during the Middle Ages, I guess.

Any thoughts?

Unusual turn of phrase - possibly Danish?

I was just listening to a song by a Danish singer (which was performed in English) and realised that it had a very strange phrase in it. The lyrics feature lines of the form "There are not many [noun], but there are though [noun]" ("There are not many pearls but there are though pearls", for example). There's even the less grammatical "There's not much platinum, but there are though platinum".
Given that the song was written by a man who speaks Danish as a first language - even though it was written in English - I was wondering if this construction is a holdover from Danish. The nearest I can come would be the German "Es gibt aber [noun]", but it mightn't be something that's found in Danish anyway.
Any ideas?

Regular speech sounding musical

I seem to have lost my ability to Google successfully, so I'm coming here. A week or two ago I read an article (or maybe a blog entry) about how, if you listen to a short excerpt of normal human speech over and over again, it eventually sounds like the person is singing, rather than talking. If you then listen to the original speech, it sounds like the person starts by speaking normally, then bursts into song for the little passage that you heard so many times, before going back to speaking normally.

I can't for the life of me find anything about this on the Internet. Does anyone know where to point me? Thanks!
Cool [DS] [Protag]

Help With Game Script? [Spanish]

So I'm trying to translate some lines from a video game. I know some of them, but I just don't know the right words for some of the others. I'm trying to go from English to Spanish. I don't really need help with pronunciation with words that are fairly basic... I would say I have maybe a second grader's vocabulary?

In any case, here are the lines:

Line 1: Hey, you guys are looking lively.

Line 2: You shouldn't judge anyone by appearance.

Line 3: I told them they were sending the wrong guy...

Line 4: Oh, we do too have hearts! Don't be mad...

Line 5: Silence, traitor. (Would this be "Silencio, traidor"?)

The speaker is a male, probably in his late teens to early twenties, and he uses very casual speech (obviously).

(no subject)

So I'm a huge giant linguistics nerd and to make the time go by, I've been trying to research non-standard speech patterns of where I live in the summer (it's the Smokey Mountains of GA if anyone's interested in stalking me). I have two questions:

1. Can someone link me to someone's research so I can see what types of things I specifically need to look for and include?

2. Last night I was at a party and someone said something and I texted myself so I would remember. My text message reads "high frontal vowels are shortened." But I have no idea what word the guy said. Plus I'm somewhat confused because high frontal vowels are usually lowered and backed. Any ideas of a word a high schooler at a kegger would say that has a high frontal vowel and no dipthong? LOL

(I realize #2 is a bit of a stretch, but I'd appreciate any help on #1)
  • tisoi


In the upcoming Transformers movie, there is a character named Barricade, who transforms into a police car. On the door, there is a sign with a motto in Latin that says "Pacis Quod Alcedonia."

According to the Wikipedia article, this translates to "Peace through Calm."

For the Latin experts - is this right? I knew that the word for "peace" in Latin is "pax" and so I had to look for a declination chart to see if "pacis" may have been in another case. And sure enough, it's in the genitive.


Nasalized alveolar tap?

Nasalized alveolar tap (a mix of n and ɾ) does not seem to exist in IPA, although it is easy to produce - is it because it is not a phoneme nor an allophone in any of the known languages, or for some other reason?

Rationale: the Russian word баранина (baranina) 'mutton' (non-vegetarian) and an easily understood occasionalism *бананина (bananina) 'banana meat' (vegetarian) only differ by one phoneme. Using nas.alv.tap instead would result in an allegedly humorous ambiguity.