Latin Bleg

James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

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34 Responses

  1. Bert The Turtle says:

    Romani ite domum?Report

  2. Marchmaine says:

    I don’t recall this as a specific Roman saying (though it easily could be). So, absent a traditional proverb, I’d try to keep the verbs paired. The first question would be, you say “look”… but what type of looking are you doing? Are you scouting? contemplating? searching? That could influence verb choice. But, keeping very simple, perhaps something like this.

    specite numquam respicite

    Look, never look back. (using the imperative plural for anonymity/generality).

    If you want you could add “sempre” for emphasis as the first word or last (I’d put it last, for flair). Look ahead never back, always!

    My composition was always very suspect (not to mention decades intervening), and I know there are some real Latinists who read this site… so quite likely they will have something more elegant. But the above should pass 21st century sensibilities. Unless, of course, you have invented a time machine and are going back to the 3rd century – but then, why would you look back? Ah, the mystery deepens… you must tell us more.Report

    • @marchmaine

      Would “prospecite” and “retrospecite” work?Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        @gabriel-conroy absolutely, I think Prospicio is indeed probably much better.

        But while retrospicio makes perfect sense, I didn’t recall it as an actual word – respicio is effectively retrospicio (at least according to my dictionary). Curious, I googled it and (if one can trust a random google link on Latin verbs) it seems that retrospicio came into usage in the 15th century. So I suppose Dr. H can choose his style: Cicero or Scholastic.

        Still, a classicist with a much broader vocabulary could probably come up with a much cooler slogan (or would know the Roman saying).Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    “Semper” is correct for “always.”

    I have never seen “eget” and cannot vouch that this word is an imperative for “look forward,” at least not without using a reference. Using a reference I am told “eget” means “development.” Perhaps “spera” is what you want (imperative for “sperare,” “anticipate” or “hope”).

    “Never” is usually translated as “numquam.” But “nusquam” might be better here: “at no time” or “on no occasion.” Or maybe “noli,” for “do not.”

    “Respice” seems like the present imperative conjugation of the infinitive “respicere,” which is indeed “to look back.”

    Semper spera, noli respice.Report

  4. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I can give you the Java translation:

    if (lookingForward)
    return true;
    return false;Report

  5. James Hanley says:

    If it helps, this is part of my constitutional convention class. As I’m drafting descriptions of the new states that will be meeting to draft a constitution, I want to give one a motto that encourages them to forget about the past (past borders of their state in particular) but look forward to building a new society, a new future.Report

  6. Kazzy says:

    We’ve got a Latin teacher at my school I can bring such questions to in thr future, especially during the school year. Just email me.Report

  7. My Latin is pretty rusty (and was never too good to begin with), so I can’t really comment on whether anyone above is right, although I did ask Marchmaine about another possiblity. I suggest two strategies for finding an answer:

    1. Consider what you really mean. Your later comment clarifies that a bit, but you might dig deeper: what can convey that meaning even if literally it means something else entirely?

    2. Look at famous Roman sayings and try to find one that means close to what you’re looking for.Report

  8. Morat20 says:

    My Latin was 20+ years ago, so I could look up the words — but I can assure you my grammar would be wrong. Wrong tenses, that sort of thing.

    You’re best bet is to find a similar Latin proverb, save tracking down someone who is fluent and asking. The RC’s don’t do mass in Latin anymore, but I suspect there are an awful lot of Jesuits who can read and write it fluently, and IIRC ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation has shifted a wee bit (at least, what I’ve heard in hymns and stuff wasn’t pronounce the way I was taught) the actual language is unchanged.Report