My final Latin composition; I thought it was rather fun.

P.S: Small disclaimer from Grammar Nazi Cat:

So don’t steal it, k?

“Non omne comminatio est hostis.”

Olim urbs quae deīs amavī erat. Prius urbs factus erat, populī in mediō terrae perliculosae habitāvērunt, cui tuta nōn fuit, nam multa monstra habuit. Pessimae bestiae magnitudis magnae et virīs fuērunt ne vincerentur. Terra concinerata et cum sepulcīs factus erat.

Sed deī populōrum hōrum miseruērunt nam religiosī fuērunt, et simper altara eōrum honorāre memoraverant – etiam in tempore moestitiae. Cum tempestate bonā et autumnīs munificīs eōs benedixērunt, et civitatem aluērunt.

Etiam, deī “Terminus” in sospitatem eōrum commodum praecipuum capissivit. Terminō deō finitonum et murōrum, Terminus decrevit murum faciendus esse, ut populī possint de monstrīs perliculosīs ipsōs defendere. Etsi nōnnullī deī sapientiae Terminum nōn intercedere monuērunt, eum adjuvāre desiderāvit. Post multa diēs, Terminus virum invenit, quem adjuvāre potuit. Nomen eī fuit “Hadrianus.”

Cum auxiliō Hadrianī, populī murum magnum circa domicilium fuērunt, quem eōs de monstrīs defendit. Cum vigore, cito provenērunt, et urbs magna esse surrexērunt. Et propter sacrificia populī gratī, deī beātī fuērunt.

Sed Terminus eīs urbem expandere desiderāvit, tam libellum speciale ex librarō sanctō, quod narrāverit quam vincere monstrum terrae. Ex caelō libellum demisit, et is ab populō invenit, quō mox terram periculō levaērunt. Monstrō captuō, populum sensērunt eōs requisivisse murum, nec salutem eius. Ignavus exisitērunt, et potestatis et civitatis cogitāre incepērunt. Altarem eōrum dedicērunt, et super rem frivolam pugnavērunt.

Longe urbs huius audivērunt, et bellāre decrevērunt ut illam terram acquirerent. Dixērunt; “Hanc urbem petāmus, quam tam superbam est. Sine monstrīs, mox exercitus urbem advenit. Urbs, sub unō duce nōn potest conciliāre, cito victae sunt et ab rē publicā capissitae sunt, quam Mārs amata erat. Cum magnō dedecore, Terminus urbem eius Mārī dedit. Mārs, victor, solam commam dixit: “Nōn omne comminatio est hostis.”

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Wrapped up in my love of all things written is a passion for words, and, respectively, their origins. After all, who doesn’t get a kick out of knowing that “bookworm” comes from the name for “a group of insects which largely have in common their love of devouring parts of books and other documents?”1 

Well I do.

Therefore, when a question about the word “embarrass” came up in my Latin class last week (we were learning superlatives and I think it was the double “s” that clinched it) I decided to look it up (ok, so I decided to do this while typing up thesis notes, but don’t judge me, procrastination is an art – and have I told you the origin of “procrastination?” Oh yes, I think I have.)

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First we must visit our old friend the OED, who tells us that “Embarrass, v” first means:

1. trans. To encumber, hamper, impede (movements, actions, persons moving or acting)."

b. pass. Of persons: To be ‘in difficulties’ from want of money; to be encumbered with debts.

 

And then the 2nd definition, part B, is,

b. To make (a person) feel awkward or ashamed, esp. by one’s speech or actions; to cause (someone) embarrassment."

Then we come across this helpful passage:

“The English word embarrassed has taken an unusual path into English. The first written usage of embarrass in English was in 1664 by Samuel Pepys in his diary. The word was derived from the French word embarrasser, "to block," or "obstruct",1 whose first recorded usage was by Michel de Montaigne in 1580. The French word was derived from the Spanish embarazar, whose first recorded usage was in 1460 in Cancionero de Stúñiga (Songbook of Stúñiga) by Álvaro de Luna.2 The Spanish word comes from the Portuguese embaraçar, which is a combination of the prefix em- (from Latin im- for "in-") with baraço or baraça, "a noose", or "rope".3 Baraça originated before the Romans began their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 218 BC.4 Thus, baraça could be related to the Celtic word barr, "tuft." (Celtic people actually settled much of Spain and Portugal beginning in the 700s BC, the second group of people to do so.)5 However, it certainly is not directly derived from it, as the substitution of r for rr in Ibero-Romantic languages was not a known occurrence.

The Spanish word may come from the Italian imbarazzare, from imbarazzo, "obstacle" or "obstruction." That word came from imbarrare, "to block," or "bar," which is a combination of in-, "in" with barra, "bar" (from the Vulgar Latin barra, which is of unknown origin).6 The problem with this theory is that the first known usage of the word in Italian was by Bernardo Davanzati (1529–1606), long after the word had entered Spanish."2

 Ta-Da! We can now see how the English verb embarrass comes is connected to the Latin verb imbarrare.

And we can also see many of us, sadly, due to out lack of exuberance of funds, are unable to avoid embarrassment in daily life.

BUT – at least we can explain what it means, linguistically. Zing!

Good things recently.

[If you aren’t into the whole “glass half-full” thing, you might want to leave now.]image

 1. Being sick: You may be thinking “But illness is generally a bad thing….,” to which I say,  yes, it does suck. Especially when your ears are completely stuffed up and you have a Latin final during a time when you wish you could be at home watching re-runs and trying not to get sucked into the abyss of a head cold. But, what does not suck is when you start feeling better, and every day you wake up you feel progressively more like a human being again. Ah, to be able to appreciate the everyday normal workings of one’s sinuses. Plus, whenever I start getting down about my allergies (which are at their best right now, as I live in the capital of tall-growing sneezy grasses) I remember that they aren’t as bad as the recent evil cold.

image Ok, so I don’t have a window, but still…

2. New Job! So, as of this week, teaching English 99 will soon be over. Classes themselves are officially over. No more lectures about topic sentences and thesis statements, no more fervent 1a.m. grading sessions. I’m a bit sad not to be teaching at SSU anymore, but I was also getting a bit weary of it all. But, I will not be unemployed in the Fall – you’re looking at (well, reading at) SSU’s newly-appointed WEPT person. Which means an office upgrade; I get my very own little office (with a door and everything!) in a corner of SSU’s administrative building with which to do lovely WEPT-related tasks. I can only thank God (or the patron saint of employment, whatever) for giving me a reason to be away from home and to have a space of my own (well, for a time anyway) at school where I may escape into the small, bureaucratic world of filing, phone answering, and email replying. 

3. Finishing Latin: One whole year, down! Now to decide if I want to submit myself to the slightly-masochistic realm of language one again. I’m also considering French…whenever I look into Ph.D programs the language requirement makes me feel rather inadequate as an intellectual. I’ll work on it.

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4. Europe Trip: Less than 2 weeks away! Am I freaking out a little? Yep. Am I still in disbelief that I’m going, and that I actually have the money to pay for it myself? Indeed. Very, very excited.

5. Gluten-Free Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts: Enough said.

Overall, general bounciness. I still have a pile of work to do before the semester ends, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A super-shiny-travelly-light.

Happy April 1st, everyone! As per the relative randomness popping up on the internet, I’m officially declaring it Monty Python Day. Please enjoy the random-intelligent-nonsense that is the Life of Brian.

(If my Latin class was like this, I might have memorized my declensions earlier…)

 

Centurion:
What’s this thing? "ROMANES EUNT DOMUS"? "People called Romans they go the house?"
Brian:
It… it says "Romans go home".
Centurion:
No it doesn’t. What’s Latin for "Roman"?

Brian hesitates

Centurion:
Come on, come on!
Brian:
(uncertain) "ROMANUS".
Centurion:
Goes like?
Brian:
"-ANUS".
Centurion:
Vocative plural of "-ANUS" is?
Brian:
"-ANI".
Centurion:
(takes paintbrush from Brian and paints over) "RO-MA-NI". "EUNT"? What is "EUNT"?
Brian:
"Go".
Centurion:
Conjugate the verb "to go"!
Brian:
"IRE"; "EO", "IS", "IT", "IMUS", "ITIS", "EUNT".
Centurion:
So "EUNT" is …?
Brian:
Third person plural present indicative, "they go".
Centurion:
But "Romans, go home!" is an order, so you must use the …?

He lifts Brian by his short hairs

Brian:
The … imperative.
Centurion:
Which is?
Brian:
Um, oh, oh, "I", "I"!
Centurion:
How many Romans? (pulls harder)
Brian:
Plural, plural! "ITE".

Centurion strikes over "EUNT" and paints "ITE" on the wall

Centurion:
"I-TE". "DOMUS"? Nominative? "Go home", this is motion towards, isn’t it, boy?
Brian:
(very anxious) Dative?

Centurion draws his sword and holds it to Brian’s throat

Brian:
Ahh! No, ablative, ablative, sir. No, the, accusative, accusative, ah, DOMUM, sir.
Centurion:
Except that "DOMUS" takes the …?
Brian:
… the locative, sir!
Centurion:
Which is?
Brian:
"DOMUM".
Centurion:
(satisfied) "DOMUM"…

He strikes out "DOMUS" and writes "DOMUM"

Centurion:
…"-MUM". Understand?
Brian:
Yes sir.
Centurion:
Now write it down a hundred times.
Brian:
Yes sir, thank you sir, hail Caesar, sir.
Centurion:
(saluting) Hail Caesar. If it’s not done by sunrise, I’ll cut your balls off.
Brian:
(very relieved) Oh thank you sir, thank you sir, hail Caesar and everything, sir!
***

Now for [something completely different!] those of you who are not of a “delicate” constitution:

Procrastination – from the Latin “cras,” meaning “tomorrow,” and the prefix “pro,” meaning to put forth. Literally meaning to put something forward to tomorrow. (cited from the dictionary of me being bored in Latin class)

Yesterday, I graded 17 papers. Tonight, I will have graded 17 papers. Somehow that equals me being sick of the (poorly) written word.

Today, a guy in my Latin class (a classicist, and therefore an English/history major hybrid, with a bit more pretention added in) saw my stack of said yet-to-be-graded papers and remarked that he couldn’t wait to be a teacher, so he could have “that sense of authority.”

Chuckle.

I replied with the notion that the more time one spends grading, the less one feels authoritative, and instead mentally abraded.

He then said that I must really “bring the smack down” to seem more authoritative (and perhaps badass?) in my classroom, because I’m normally so nice (and blonde? in the sense of hair-color, not intelligence) and not angry-professor like. At that point the conversation shifted, but I smiled to myself knowing that classroom authority is a complex animal, and that at the end of the day, knowledge is authority.

It’s a thrill really, sitting in a classroom, as either teacher or student, realizing that you actually know something about what’s being talked about, and maybe knowing more than is even being discussed. When a professor mentions some specific moment in a text not being read in the class and you actually know what they mean, it feels like all that learning is starting to pay off (well, not literally – wouldn’t that be nice if it did).

As a slightly-weathered grad student I say that you should not feel pretentious or rude for giving evidence of your knowledge, or showing that you truly know something – such moments are much less common than the ones that make you feel like an undergrad wearing pajamas to a black-tie affair. Don’t be the know-it-all (there’s one in every class, you know who you are) but if you really do know a little, I say own it. Maybe you’ll get a little authority out of it, or at least some respect.

***

ZOMG: How awesome is it that this shirt exists in the world? Albeit the fact that it’s slightly dorky…

And if you were thinking that you would like to express your constant  state of mental-overload-by-grading without sacrificing your fashion sense?

warning_driver_grading_papers_bumper_sticker-p128875244845743505tmn6_210

Problem solved.