Monday, July 17, 2006

Opus Difficilis

I was reading in the weekend paper about several children's books that had been translated into Latin. Now I knew that Winnie the Pooh and I believe Peter Rabbit had both been translated into Latin - well these are classics and what better venue than a classical language! But "Walter Canis Inflatus" - Walter the Farting Dog. Now this is one of these "not so tasteful - bare all" topics that fly in the face of the subtle, cerebral classics - not that the Roman army could really be called subtle - disciplined, yes - well maybe this is really what subtlety is all about!

Anyway, I felt that Walter could be forgiven for his indiscretions because his authors had taken the time to translate their book into Latin - to preserve an ancient language, to stimulate interest in the classics, and to simply create a presence for Latin in this day and age - Bravo! Eureka - no that's Greek - just give me a minute - Will Ave do?

So I said, "Why not knitting?" I then set about to translate some fundamental knitting terms into Latin. This was not easy. I downloaded several pieces of "free" software - no suggestion that these were virus free softwares, so I might have gotten more than what I paid for - exactly, free indeed.

I keyed in knitting - there is no "K" in Latin - not even silent ones. It reminded me of all the articles that I had read on "naming your business" - always include a "K" a hard sound. Well, yes I have a "K" in Infiknit - except that it is silent - maybe I should have stopped there.

I pressed on - "needle" - no match. Surely they stitched things together. How about "sew" - no match - OK this rules out quilters too - Ha! Wait, maybe the software wasn't working? I keyed in "fight" - go figure - an instant match of "macto" and "pugna". "Veni, Vidi, Victi!" Either the Romans did nothing except fight and conquer or the writers got paid only for poems on fighting & conquering - but, I would sing of Fingers and the Artist - not Arms and the Man. Was there any use in pressing on?

Well garment was "Vestis" - getting warm and weave was "texo" - even warmer and (Eureka err Ave,) even the despised "craft" was "professio" - this is one of the reasons I love Latin - it elevates even the most mundane to the realm of the sublime!

Maybe this is why the shop teacher, I taught with, would often announce on a Friday afternoon "Illigitimus noncarborundum". It elevated the struggle to survive to heroic porportions - now if I could only do this with knitting!

Ave atque Vale!


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