"...The Latin for hot pants is brevissimae bracae"

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"...The Latin for hot pants is brevissimae bracae"

Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Mon Aug 30, 2004 12:21 pm

'Believe me, father, the Latin for hot pants is brevissimae bracae'
By Elizabeth Day
(Filed: 29/08/2004)

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, hot pants, nightclub and Merlot. The lexicon, which has just been launched, 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 vocabulary at their disposal, including 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 yesterday dismissed the updated translations as "naff" and "subjective", the authors of the lexicon insist that they are promoting the use of Latin "for the entire world".

Cletus Pavanetto, the president of the Latinitas Foundation which 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."

The Latinitas Foundation is an academic institution founded in 1976 by Pope Paul VI with the intention of preserving and evolving the Latin language. It publishes a quarterly review in Latin and a Latin dictionary that runs to 780 pages.

Its existence reflects the crucial role that Latin plays in the Vatican, where all official documents are drawn up in the language.

Conversational Latin is also prevalent. At annual synods in Rome, it is the dominant language along with English for prelates' discussions.

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

"Latin has always been used as the language of science, so when a new genus or flower is discovered then a new Latin word will be invented to label it," he said. "So there is a noble history of doing this sort of thing and if the Vatican wishes to continue to produce theology that everyone can understand, then they are going to have to deal with the modern world. Latin is perfect for this sort of updating because the roots are universal: everyone understands them.

"It is a little naff and de trop and of course it is not Classical Latin, but there's no reason at all why Latin should not continue to develop in a way that any language does."

Geoffrey Fallows, the president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, insisted, however, that the Vatican's "trendy Latin" was merely "a curiosity".

He said:"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.

"The problem with this is that it's very subjective. You or I could go away and produce our own Latin words for 'atom bomb' or 'motorway' and we could end up with entirely different results."

Mr Fallows acknowledged, however, that the Vatican translation for hot pants 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."

Source : http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=MIIAPA1DQVLMZQFIQMFCM54AVCBQYJVC?view=HOME&grid=N1&menuId=-1&menuItemId=-1&_requestid=82912

Valete,

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Aug 30, 2004 12:43 pm

Salve Attice,

These words have always struck me as quite unnatural.

For example, the word "terrorist" is in fact derived from Latin! Why not simply make it "terroristus" or something along those lines?

Also, "placenta compressa" does not sound very tasty.

Vale bene,
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The Vat's New List

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Sep 02, 2004 12:56 am

Avete amici!

...And here is that article, going on about the Vatican's Latin-for-the-Modern-Age list as if it were a New Thing. Miz Day seems unaware that this happens every year. Indeed, we greeted the last one with a thread right here in CollLat entitled "New Latin for Modern Times". In reply (and to demonstrate a bit of my own method), I posted a Latin computer menu I created for the Barstow College (CA) Computer Lab. What I said then, I'll repeat now; neither the Vatican's habits nor mine have changed a bit:


"...Most of the Vatican constructions are in the form of "[thingamajig] that does [whatever] by [such-and-such] means", which is why they're so...awkward. With most of mine, and with calculator and tabularium especially, I demonstrate my preference for simply labelling things according to their nearest ancient equivalent. (Although I stop well short of one fantasy author's designation of rifles as pila...I think an artillery comparison might have been more credible.)"


My major beef with the Vatican list is that the terms are too dang long. If they're going to try to promote modern conversational Latin, they've got to start coming up with somethings that aren't such a mouthful. Sure, among your auto-mechanical friends you might gush over somebody's "300cc Something-cooled Bent-Rod V12 Hemi" (hypothetical example, I've just thrown something together here...I'm not a car mechanic); but the rest of the world is just going to want to call it an "Engine", or maybe dignify it with the distinction "Big Engine"!

In amicitia (Mehercule, I've been fussy lately!),
>({|;-)
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That Pizza

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Sep 02, 2004 1:04 am

Me again...

Draco, about that placenta compressa they want to serve you for a pizza...

See, this is what happens when they don't have any women about. Any farm wife will tell you that the only thing that's gonna eat a placenta is a brand-new mother dog!

Out, damned Spot! (What'd MacBeth's dog ever do??) ---Cairn-Terrier smilie----> ]({;o}
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:20 am

I don't recall MacBeth as having any dogs? I'm delving into Shakespeare right now for my second term of exams :(.

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