Follow by Email

Inspirational Reads

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LXXIX

July 30, 2010

[NOTE]: This is posting really late. I explain the reason why. I'm testy. Deal with it.

Well, good to all of you. You'll forgive me if my sense of time is a little fucked up. At home, there's a sick child. A sick child who feels the need to wake us up at 3:00 in the morning to tell us that he thinks he's going to throw up.

And then he has the audacity to not puke. He comes in, wakes us up, threatens to vomit, then doesn't. He goes back to bed 15 minutes later. Fifteen minutes after that, he comes in, wakes us up, threatens to vomit, and then doesn't. Repeat this for three fucking hours. Mix in a heavy dose of "was the sex really worth it", and you've had my night for the past two nights. Wednesday night/Thursday morning was rough; Thursday night/Friday morning was brutal. For whatever reason, he was coming in right on my dream cycle, so he would wake me up during the middle of a dream and my body, apparently enjoying the recollection of the days of dorm living, refused to move. Fortunately, I have a wife. Even more fortunate, he comes in looking for Mommy anyway.


Last week, we talked about Daniel Radcliffe's birthday and his predilection toward Latin-based things in his acting career. Tomorrow is Harry Potter's birthday...and also J.K. Rowling's. Convenient, isn't it?

And before you point out what a nerd I am for knowing Harry's birthday, let me just go ahead and up the ante by admitting that I also know Frodo Baggins was born on September 22nd. Now that's true geekiness for you right there.

In case you're a bit of a history buff, today is Baghdad's birthday (July 30th, 726).

Anyway, if you're familiar with the Potter series of books, you'll know that a lot of the spells used are Latin words (there are also some in Greek, Aramaic and various African dialects, as well as others). Some of the big ones are the summoning spell Accio meaning "I call", the unforgivable curse Crucio meaning "I torture" (or "I crucify"), the disarming spell Expelliarmus, which means "You thrust away (your) weapon of war" and the big one, the Patronus summoning spell Expecto patronum, which means "I await a protector".

You should also notice that "patronus" has a derived form of "pater" in it, which means Daddy. And Harry's Patronus is a stag, which is the animal Daddy dearest could turn into. Kudos, JK. That was a nice touch.

There's lots of other spells, too, which are in Latin (as well as the Gryffindor's first password caput draconis, which means "dragon head"). I just chose four of the ones that would be most familiar to people, even if they had only seen the movies. One rule of thumb for those reading along and trying to decipher what's going on based solely on the key word of the spell is that you can look at the ending of the word. If it ends in an -o, this is something that the spell-caster is looking to do directly through him or herself. It matches up with the first-person singular present form of the Latin verb. For instance, Accio means "I am summoning (object) to me".

If the word ends in something else, chances are the spell-caster is looking to cause the recipient of the spell to do something.

And while all this is nice for the Wizarding world and all, there's a lot of practical applications of these spells that could play out in the non-wizarding world (and which make me really, really wish that magic was real).

For instance, try this on for size:

Accio cervisiam!

Pronounced: "Ah-kee-oh care-wee-see-ahm!

Frosty translation in the hovertext!

This is one I've actually tried using on my wife (and was rewarded with giggles...and not much else):


Pronounced: "Ex-pale-ee-waste-ees!"

The naked translation in the hovertext!

Closely related to that is this one:

Pronounced: "Lay-wee-too-nee-com!"

Uplifting translation in the hovertext!

And finally, this one, which would come in really, really handy in our celebutard-fascinated society:

Pello caniculam!

Pronounced: "Pay-loh cah-nee-cyoo-lom!"

Tee hee!

I guess that picture would be more like pello caniculae, but *meh*

Armed with that knowledge, my little wizards and witches, hit the streets this weekend and have some fun. Especially with that skirt-lifting spell.

Stay thirsty, my friends.


kate said...

When I had the audacity to wake my parents up when I was little, I at least threw up all over their floor to make it worth it them ;)

That pictures of Snookie is horrifying. People actually have sex with that??

Have a good weekend!

Bev said...

Wait, you had sex two nights... in a ROW? And you're married? Way to make me feel like a slacker wife, Jenks.

Sorry your kid is sick. I hope he really barfs next time? No, that's not right. I hope he gets well soon! Yes, that's better.

Happy weekend!

Pearl said...

This is why I got up this morning.



DEZMOND said...

You talked about Daniel Radcliffe's birthday last week??? Oh, I'm glad I missed that one :PP

And seeing you trying to describe the pronunciation of these words to English lg speakers, I'm kinda glad my native language, Serbian, is a phonetic one, which means everything in it is pronounced exactly as it is written :)

Sully said...

The ultimate nerd question is, Which episode of Monty Python did Douglas Adams make his first appearance?

SkylersDad said...

A frosty beer wench toting a dark ale always goes down well.

Well done sir.

The Carnival said...

I somehow feel smarter...

And dirtier...


Eric said...

I'm going to carve 'levitunicam' into a slab of marble for affixing to the side of my house near the pool. Awesome.

snowelf said...

Oh baby. I'm so using the one you attempted to use on your wife on someone sometime this week. I think that may be my favorite Latin phrase since I had to translate "The bad boys are throwing the good girls' books out the window."

Good times!

Non-Puking children--not good times.