Living Latin: The Heritage of Latin Phrases and Quotations in English
By John Parker
First edition, 2016. Portlaoise: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-193-4 (paperback), price: €19.95, £17.95, $23.95.
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John Parker, after a career of teaching mathematics, retired to Cornwall and returned to his first love, the Latin language. He set about compiling this book, an extensive list of Latin words and phrases used by English writers, and indeed by English speakers, in the recent past and in the present. In the book he not only translates the Latin but also includes passages showing just how authors have embraced Latin and tucked it into their English.
- “Even before puberty Martin had known that deep within him were the makings of a great lover.… Samantha’s initial response to his tentative but markedly amorous advances seemed to hold out hope of his proceeding shortly a posse ad esse.” —P. J. Dorricot.
- “I begin to think, Watson,” said Holmes, “that I make a mistake in explaining. ‘Omne ignotum pro magnifico’ you know, and my poor reputation… will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid.” —Arthur Conan Doyle.
- “Mrs. Knox was told that I had taken Mrs. McRory for a run in the car at one o’clock in the morning, and on hearing it said, ‘De gustibus non est disputandum’.” —E. Œ. Somerville and Martin Ross.
- “Whether I owe my recovery to the Carp, to the Return of Spring, or to the Vis medicatrix Naturae, I am not yet able to determine.” —Aldous Huxley.
The book also notes how music groups have adopted Latin titles for themselves and for their compositions: as well as Status Quo we have Carpe Diem, De Profundis, and Veni Vidi Vici. Many institutions have Latin mottoes: Moorfields Eye Hospital has Fiat Lux, the Black Watch have Nemo me Impune Lacessit, the Feltmakers’ Company have Decus et Tutamen in Armis, and HMS Dauntless has Nil Desperandum, not to mention the Citius, Altius, Fortius of the Olympic Games.
And this is just a sample. There’s plenty more inside.