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“expert” as used by the current US media
Posted: 05 March 2007 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Latin is not as flexible as English in the matter of sentences.  I’m not saying that a motto can’t consist of what in Latin would not be an acceptable utterance, just pointing out what I presume the problem is.

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Posted: 05 March 2007 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Still, lots of Latin mottos, adopted by organizations that one would expect to know what they are doing, have no finite verb, indeed no verb at all, and yet they seem to be “acceptable utterances”.

“Ad majorem Dei gloriam”—the Jesuits

“Nullius in verba”—the Royal Society

If the objection is simply that a sentence needs a finite verb and the motto doesn’t have one, that seems captious to me.

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Posted: 05 March 2007 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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The same phrase came to my mind, too. Also “to die, to sleep: to sleep, perchance to dream” --- four infinitives in a row, and nary a finite verb.

Lots of mottoes don’t seem to have finite verbs, or indeed any verb at all: “Per ardua ad astra”. “e pluribus unum”. “nil illegitimo carborundum”.

(edit:) pipped it seems by a whole crowd! Sorry, colleagues. It’s a tough grind keeping up with bright sparks like you.

(re-edit:) I see what happened. I missed page 2 altogether. I should be more careful about posting before breakfast.

[ Edited: 05 March 2007 09:05 PM by lionello ]
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Posted: 06 March 2007 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Still, lots of Latin mottos, adopted by organizations that one would expect to know what they are doing, have no finite verb, indeed no verb at all, and yet they seem to be “acceptable utterances”.

Acceptable as mottos, sure.  My point was simply that they might not be considered acceptable utterances in Latin.  But my Latinity is rusty; I’m hoping to hear back from someone who’s checking with those who should know better.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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‘Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt,’ which means: ‘Not as many people want to be endowed with true bravery as want to seem to be endowed with it.’ The three words alone do not convey the intended message.

From a dim and distant classical past:
The problem with quoting esse quam videri out of context is that in Cicero’s original text, (praediti) esse means “to be (endowed)”, quam videri (volunt)means “as (want) to be seen/seem”.  In other words, the motto has been cobbled together and the original meaning lost, as I believe kurwamac said.

Edit: lots of mottoes are formed from original Latin text, but many retain the meaning of the original.  On example is my own family motto which is taken from the first line of one of Horace’s odes.  You can judge for yourselves whether or not I live up to it.  I suspect I know the answer, so I’m not going to ask.

aequam servare mentem

[ Edited: 06 March 2007 07:53 AM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 06 March 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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In other words, the motto has been cobbled together and the original meaning lost, as I believe kurwamac said.

You may well be right that this is her objection, but what she said was “The three words alone do not convey the intended message.” (emphasis added) Which raises the question: intended by whom?  It seems to me that “to be rather than to seem” is a perfectly legitimate message and motto, and may well be what those who have adopted it intend to say, even if it doesn’t exactly match the meaning of Cicero’s full sentence.

But I wish kurwamac would come back and reply herself, rather than leaving others to guess at what her objection was.

[ Edited: 06 March 2007 01:05 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 06 March 2007 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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It seems to me that “to be rather than to seem” is a perfectly legitimate message and motto

Indeed. But the words don’t mean that. They don’t mean anything. Nothing to do with the absence of a finite verb. In the original, ‘quam’ is linked with ‘tam’ (’not as many...as). In the motto, it’s supposed to mean ‘rather than’, but I don’t believe that any parallel for this alleged meaning of ‘quam’ can be found in classical Latin. If anyone knows of one, I’d like to see it.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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As if, comparing loosely, “better red than dead” had simply been rendered as “red than dead”?  Thank you, I get it now.

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Posted: 06 March 2007 11:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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In the motto, it’s supposed to mean ‘rather than’, but I don’t believe that any parallel for this alleged meaning of ‘quam’ can be found in classical Latin. If anyone knows of one, I’d like to see it.

Lewis & Short:

II. In partic. A. In comparisons as, than. ... 2. With ellipsis of corresp. tam.: homo non, quam isti sunt, gloriosus, not so celebrated as those, Liv. 35:49:  claris majoribus, quam vetustis, rather than, Tac. A. 4,61

[ Edited: 07 March 2007 12:30 AM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 07 March 2007 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Or, as in one of the missing verses from Carmina Burana’s Olim lacus colueram swan song:

Mallem in aquis vivere
Nudo semper sub aere
Quam in hoc mergi pipere.

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Posted: 07 March 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Nothing to do with the absence of a finite verb. In the original, ‘quam’ is linked with ‘tam’ (’not as many...as). In the motto, it’s supposed to mean ‘rather than’, but I don’t believe that any parallel for this alleged meaning of ‘quam’ can be found in classical Latin. If anyone knows of one, I’d like to see it.

Quam could be used with or without tam or any other of a small set of words. Its use was usually one of contrasting two clauses or comparatives of adjectives. Here’s the complete entry for quam in Lewis & Short, the one which ElizaD excerpted above. And here’s some more information on quam from Arnold’s Latin Prose Composition as revised and edited by George Granville Bradley:

493. Quam generally introduces a clause of the same construction as that of the main clause.

Nec ultra saviit quam satis erat. Nor did he show more severity than was necessary,—any needless severity.

Nos potius hostem aggrediamur quam ipsi cum propulsemus. Let us take an aggressive, rather than a merely defensive, attitude.

But where design or result is indicated, a subjunctive of course is necessary.

Nihil ultra commotus est quam ut abire eos juberet. He was only so far moved as to bid them depart.

Obs. 1.—A subjunctive clause is used where a course is mentioned only to be rejected.

Omnia potius tentanda quam hoc faciamus. We ought to try any course rather than (allow ourselves to) act thus.

With tam, quam expresses equality of degree.

Tam timidius hodie est quam tum fuit audax. He is as cowardly to-day as he was then over bold.

Obs. 2.—When two adjectives or adverbs are contrasted by the comparative degree followed by quam, Latin often uses the comparative degree with both.

Pestilentia minacior fuit quam perniciosior. The pestilence was more alarming than fatal.

Hoc bellum fortius quam felicius gessistis.  You have carried on this war with more courage than good fortune.

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Posted: 07 March 2007 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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All of this is very interesting, but has nothing to do with the matter at hand. None of the examples cited are remotely parallel to the cod Latin construction esse quam videri. I shudder to think what any of my supervisors would have said had someone come up with that in a Latin prose. As I said, show me an actual parallel, and I’ll reconsider.

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Posted: 07 March 2007 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Your statement to Dr Techie in response to his query about your objection to the motto was:

In the motto, it’s supposed to mean ‘rather than’, but I don’t believe that any parallel for this alleged meaning of ‘quam’ can be found in classical Latin. If anyone knows of one, I’d like to see it.

In reply to this, several of us have cited examples of quam, some without “tam”, meaning “rather than”.  I don’t deny that the motto “esse quam videri” is cod Latin, and I agree that Latin lecturers would castigate their students for using such a construction.  However, your objection to the phrase now seems (from your most recent post) to be more specific:

As I said, show me an actual parallel

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Posted: 07 March 2007 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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My original comment was: ‘I don’t believe that any parallel for this alleged meaning of ‘quam’ can be found in classical Latin.’ All right, I was perhaps being a tad sloppy; I should have specified that I meant on its own (the examples without ‘quam’ have other words of comparison) and as specifying ‘rather than’ in connexion with two infinitives.

I had thought it was obvious from the context — there would be no point, after all, in showing an example of quam meaning ‘rather than’ in an entirely different construction — and Dr Techie understood what I meant, but next time I’ll spell everything out for hoi polloi.

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Posted: 07 March 2007 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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On behalf of the hoi polloi (everyone except Dr Techie, that is) - thank you.  Clarity is always appreciated.

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