Two-way translation


lexicon recentis latinitatis

With its source in the Vatican, this is a strictly Italian/Latin dictionary, making it a challenge for a reader ignorant of both, but I am pleased to find that someone is keeping Latin in step with the modern world.  For example:

derrick = exploratoria subterranea turris

I also rather liked this one, though I’m surprised it needed to be in Recentis Latinitatis, as the Romans must certainly have been familiar with the thought and the deed:

frodo = fraus portorii

And, of course, there are classical words with new supplemental meanings:

pentagono = 1 quinquangulum, i … 2 pentagonum Vasintoniae aedificium

Sometimes the Latin is more readily intelligible than the Italian:

capannuccia = casula, ae,  praesepe, is  (but only because I do astronomy)

cruccioso = indignabundus, a, um.  Syn:  morosus; stomachosus

elibus = helicopterum capacissimum (well, I didn’t get the Italian, bit slow me)

Sometimes the Italian is more obvious to an English speaker:

caricaturista = ridicularum imaginum pictor …  Syn: … mimus ethologus

ciclocross = birotariorum campestre certamen

Occasionally this is because the Italian isn’t very Italian:

mambo = saltatio Haitiana … Syn: concitata et phrenetica

An English appearance can be misleading, though:

china = 1 declive, is … proclivitas; acclivitas; devexum. 2 cinchona, ae [arbor tropica, ex cuius cortice extrahitur sucus antipyreticus …]

Sometimes the two languages seen together resolve into meaning as neither might do on its own:

raggi x = Roentgeniani radii

Often both are pretty baffling:

pedinare = clanculum assidueque insector

Some entries seem to call for more Latinate explanation than others:

catamarano = biscapha, ae [huiusce aetatis navigium lusorium est ex duobus constans alveis ponticulo coniunctis]

In other examples, the metaphorical richness of Italian shone through the translation:

giraffa = 1 camelopardalis, is … 2 microphonium prolatum, i

inforcare = 1 furca arripio. 2 equum conscendo. 3 vitra ocularia naso impono.  (Definition 3 is translated by Google as eye-glass nose cheating.)

But when it rolls off the tongue, Latin can outdo any modern language:

pistola = manuballistula ignivoma

and my favourite so far:

antislump = adversus iacentem rem oeconomicam efficax

Oh dear – must stop this pointless dabbling, nearly midnight and not a child in the house washed…


2 responses »

  1. (Groan) Yes me too. I just loved the idea of the Vatican writing papers about deep sea drilling in Latin, or complaining about the latest cartoons. Trying to sort the word puzzles out with Google Translate was hilarious but surprisingly helpful on some occasions. Still puzzled by the nose cheating though. Maybe the bridge of the spectacles?

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