OT: someone else’s fault
Posted: 10 January 2014 04:18 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m trying to come up with a phrase parallel in form to mea culpa but meaning “somebody else’s fault”.  My best guess would be alia culpa, and I find a few uses of this on the Web, but I’m not sure the authors’ knowledge of Latin is any better than mine.  Google Translate and other on-line translation engines insist on rendering alia culpa as “other fault” rather than “other’s fault” or “another’s fault”.  Can our classically educated members assist me?

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Posted: 11 January 2014 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Alia can be ablative, so alia culpa can mean “fault by another,” but the phrase can be ambiguous if missing context as alia is also the nominative feminine: “the other (i.e., alternative) fault.”

The genitive “other’s fault” would be alius culpa.

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Posted: 11 January 2014 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Gratias tibi ago.

However, I’m wondering if I haven’t asked the wrong question.  I am looking for the closest parallel (with the modified meeting) of the phrase mea culpa, whose common use in English surely derives from the Latin liturgy’s confession:

Confíteor Deo omnipoténti
et vobis, fratres,
quia peccávi nimis
cogitatióne, verbo,
ópere et omissióne:
mea culpa, mea culpa,
mea máxima culpa.

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.

In trying to match the grammatical construction of that original (even at the cost of some ambiguity when the phrase stands alone), would it be better to use alia culpua or alius culpa.  My naive thought is that the -a ending matches the declension of the pronoun, but I really don’t know anything about Latin declensions, so it’s entirely possible I’m mistaken.

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Posted: 11 January 2014 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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My Latin is far too rusty to suggest anything other than with the greatest hesitation but FWIW culpa eorum (their fault) is used on the Non Sequitur blog. I’m not sure whether this would quite fit your requirements but, as I say, FWIW.

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Posted: 11 January 2014 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The Latin Discussion blog talks about Aldi’s point.

It would seem a different kettle of fish in Latin to say “through fault of another” versus “through another’s fault.”

The first would be culpā alīus (ablative, genitive) while the second would be aliā culpa (ablative, ablative). The problem I have is I have no way of distinguishing between “through another’s fault” and “through another fault,” i.e., through a different fault. Which I think is the point Dave is making. This may be why people say “eorum” meaning other people.

This is pure guesswork based on two semesters of Latin, Wikipedia’s declensions of both words, and perhaps faulty logic. Mea culpa.

edit: This may be putting way too much thought into it, but it occurs to me that the difference is that my, your, his her, its, their, are obviously genitive pronouns whereas “another” or “somebody else” have to have the genitive added to it. So in this sense, the “mea” in “mea culpa” is both genitive and ablative while “alia” in whatever form cannot be both genitive and ablative.

[ Edited: 11 January 2014 08:13 PM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 12 January 2014 01:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I had always assumed that the sentence mea culpa had an elided est in it, and thus it meant ‘the fault is mine’. If my assumption was correct, you need the Latin for ‘the fault is someone else’s’.

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Posted: 12 January 2014 02:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dr. T:

I take it we’re talking about passing the buck, so ---

How about ego me absolvo...

;-)

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Posted: 12 January 2014 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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If you’re trying to parallel the liturgical confession, then it should be alia culpa. (I’m assuming culpua is a typo.) Mea and alia are both ablative, singular, feminine, as is culpa.

(I had also assumed that mea culpa was nominative with an implied est, but looking at the confession that’s not the case. The phrase is ablative.)

[ Edited: 12 January 2014 04:45 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 12 January 2014 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m assuming culpua is a typo.

Yes indeed.  Mea culpa.

Thanks, all.

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Posted: 18 January 2014 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m late to this party, but I’d like to point out that the genitive of alius is very rare. Much more often alterius is used in this context, and alterius culpa nobis nocere non debet is an established legal principle. I’m not really comfortable with alia culpa in this sense, but if someone can show me some parallel expressions, I’m prepared to be. Dave’s Alia can be ablative, so alia culpa can mean “fault by another,” is not Latin as I understand it, but I may be overlooking something. If you want an adjective rather than a genitive, you could go with aliena culpa.

[ Edited: 18 January 2014 11:10 AM by kurwamac ]
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Posted: 18 January 2014 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I suspect your Latinity trumps that of all the rest of us, so I’m happy to accept your “alterius culpa.”

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Posted: 18 January 2014 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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alterius culpa nobis nocere non debet is an established legal principle.

Perhaps under different phrasing?  That phrase appears to be absent from the English-language web (the 6 hits returned by Google when “Search for English results only” is selected are all actually in foreign languages.)

[ Edited: 18 January 2014 01:26 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 18 January 2014 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Possibly, as I’m not a lawyer. Nevertheless, alterius culpa gets quite a few hits, ranging from classical examples like Cicero to legal examples from Blackstone.

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Posted: 18 January 2014 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Aliena culpa is much better than alia culpa, and it’s grammatically parallel to the mea culpa of the liturgical confession. Alterius culpa means the same thing and is good Latin too, but it’s not grammatically parallel to the liturgy.

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