Friday, June 18, 2010

Wherein you get confused....

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve got a couple/few years of Latin under my belt. So if you don’t like Latin don’t read this post. Or. If you’re interested please read and comment.

I was doing logic this morning at 7:00 (only God knows why). And my logic instructor is quite the nerdy fellow. He, of course, connects a lot of words with their Latin roots as is only understandable. You know Latin, you know the roots, you can get the definitions of words quicker. Ergo (which is Latin for “therefore”) I am used to him using general Latin roots to define his terms.

This morning he made a mistake. (Oops!)
He said, “This word comes from the Latin, sequor, meaning to follow.”

In my head I hear, “DINGDINGDINGDINGDING!!! ERROR IN TRANSLATION!!!!!” So I begin to ignore my poor instructor completely and begin trying to figure out what he just stated. As I’m sure you know, “to follow” is an infinitive. The most general form of a verb in Latin or English. You put the, “to” in front of the verb, it turns the verb into an infinitive. i.e. to go, to live, to drive.

In Latin the infinitive use is the most common. However, it is different in certain declensions. So if I wanted to say, “To love” I would say, “Amare”. If I wanted to say, “To walk” I would say, “Ambulare”. In a different declension the “to” infinitive suffix is, -ere as apposed to –are.

However, when my instructor said, “Sequor, meaning to follow.” I knew something wasn’t right. Sequor can’t be a “to” anything. Then I thought, “Well, could be he’s using classical Latin not ecclesiastical Latin.” So I went through in my mind the infinitive endings for classical Latin. And then I thought, “Nope. He’s just wrong.”

Finally I decided that according to the declension, the only alternatives were either, “Sequorere, sequorare, or insequor.” The last of the three making the most sense. Even though Latin is an odd language, and a dead one at that, the words themselves still make sense. “Sequorere” simply is hard to say at best. And to say, “Sequorare” you REALLY have to twist your tongue up. Which is quite awkward. So I decided I’d stick with, “Insequor”. The prefix in- being the infinitive form of the verb in this case. So then I googled (not an infinitive) an English to Latin translator online, looked up, “To follow” and guess what it said it was?




Corissa Tahtinen said...

How absolutely fantastic!!! I'm not all for the learning of dead and odd languages personally but that was grand!! Fives stars!!

JustinK said...

Thank you kindly Cori. I'm glad you enjoyed it. You should try Latin out, you'll learn how to get bored in five minutes. Great crash course.

Ebenezer Forest Farm said...

Hey Justin! Just wanted to drop by your blog and leave a comment to tell you that I've enjoyed reading it (and the others).
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine gave me a Latin test... let's just say, I didn't pass! ;)

~Bethany Strang

JustinK said...

Great to hear from you Bethany! Ug. Latin tests. Evil things. :-)