Latin IS English!

March 7, 2009

“Let’s Be Level-Headed about This Thing, Okay?!”


Word of the Day Image




Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 07, 2009 is:

equanimity • \ee-kwuh-NIM-uh-tee\  • noun
*1 : evenness of mind especially under stress 2 : right disposition : balance

Example sentence:
Carol’s famous
equanimity didn’t desert her, even in the midst of the crisis.

Did you know?
If you think
“equanimity” looks like it has something to do with “equal,” you’ve guessed correctly. Both “equanimity” and “equal” are derived from “aequus,” a Latin adjective meaning “level” or “equal.” “Equanimity” comes from the combination of “aequus” and “animus” (“soul” or “mind”) in the Latin phrase “aequo animo,” which means “with even mind.” English speakers began using “equanimity” early in the 17th century with the now obsolete sense “fairness or justness of judgment,” which was in keeping with the meaning of the Latin phrase. “Equanimity” quickly came to suggest keeping a cool head under any sort of pressure, not merely when presented with a problem, and eventually it developed an extended sense for general balance and harmony.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


February 29, 2008

Word of the Day: “impromptu”


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 29, 2008 is: impromptu • im-PROMP-too  • adjective* 1 : made, done, or formed on or as if on the spur of the moment : improvised 2 : composed or uttered without previous preparation : extemporaneous. Example sentence: When we dropped by unexpectedly, Aunt Dinah threw together an impromptu dinner from the odds and ends in her refrigerator. Did you know? If you think that “impromptu” looks like a relative of “prompt,” you’re right; both are ultimately derived from the Latin “promere,” meaning “to bring forth, take out.” “Impromptu” was borrowed from French, where it meant “extemporaneously,” but French speakers picked it up from the Latin phrase “in promptu,” a “promere” descendant meaning “in readiness” or “at hand.” There is also another, much rarer descendant of “promere” in English — the noun “promptuary,” meaning “a book of ready reference.”

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

[Blogger’s Note:   Think, also, about the English derivative words:  promo, tele-prompter,  even the “Senior prom!! ”  So, like the blog name says:  “Latin IS English!”
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February 27, 2008

Word of the Day: “divest”

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 27, 2008 is: divest • dye-VEST  • verb1 a : to deprive or dispossess especially of property, authority, or title; b : to undress or strip especially of clothing, ornament, or equipment; c : rid, free 2 : to take away from a person.

Example sentence: When tests revealed that the athlete had been taking steroids, Olympic officials divested him of his medal. 

Did you know? Divest” is one of many English words that come from the Latin verb “vestire” (“to clothe“) and ultimately from the noun “vestis” (“clothing, garment”). Others includevest,” “vestment,” “invest,” and “travesty.” “Divest” and its older form “devest” can mean “to unclothe” or “to remove the clothing of,” but the word had broader applications even when it was first being used in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the opening scene of Shakespeare’s King Lear, Lear uses the term to mean “rid oneself of” or “put aside”:

“Tell me, my daughters             

(Since now we will divest us both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state),

Which of you shall we say doth love us most?”    

In addition to clothing, one can be divested of power, authority, possessions, or burdens. *Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

[Blogger’s Note:  “Now, who would’ve ‘thunk’ it?!”]


February 26, 2008

Word of the Day: “esplanade”

 This is why Latin IS English!!  Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 18, 2008 is: esplanade • ESS-pluh-nahd  • noun: a level open stretch of paved or grassy ground; especially : one designed for walking or driving along a shore. Example sentence: While walking along the esplanade, we stopped to enjoy yet another gorgeous ocean sunset.  The history of “esplanade” is completely on the level. The Italians created “spianata,” for a level stretch of ground, from their verb “spianare,” which means “to make level.” “Spianare” in turn comes from the Latin verb “explanare,” which also means “to make level” and which is the source of our verb “explain.” Middle-French speakers borrowed “spianata” as “esplanade,” and in the late 1500s we borrowed the French word. In the late 17th century, and even later, esplanades were associated with war. The word was used to refer to a clear space between a citadel and the nearest house of a town or to a slope around a fortification used for defense against attack. Today, however, esplanades are usually for enjoyment.


February 20, 2008

“Why Latin?”

Why Latin?

As Cicero once said, “it is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it.” Latin is the language of western civilization. For nearly two millennia, Latin was the tongue in which the educated communicated. It was the language of the western Church, governments, scientists, nobles, musicians, and even poets. To be ignorant of Latin is to be cut off from a great deal of history and civilization. Latin was the language of such ancient authors as Vergil and Caesar. It was the language of the great lights of the Church such as Ambrose and Augustine. It was the language of Medieval Europe and greats such as Fortunatus and Aquinas. It is the language of the tender Stabat Mater Dolorosa and the stern Dies Irae that have moved Christians for nearly a millennium. It was not only used by the Church, but it was also the language of science. Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia, the foundation of classical Physics and Mathematics is in Latin, not English, his native language. Indeed, to know Latin is to have access to some 2,500 years of literature. There are few languages that can make a similar claim. One major reason is that Latin literature had over a 1,000 year head start on any of today’s vernaculars. A second major reason is that Latin, unlike the vernaculars, has been a very stable language over the millennia. While new words and expressions have been added to Latin over the course of time in order to express new ideas and inventions, the language itself has not greatly altered. 

Why Study Latin?
The inspiration of the Scriptures testifies to the importance of language skills for both comprehending and formulating verbal thought and expression. God has revealed Himself and His plan in words. Words, and the relationship of words, are the basis for ideas, and ideas have consequences in our personal lives and for history. Language skills, therefore, make us more effective in our service to God, and Latin is a powerful and effective vehicle for learning those skills.Latin has been the most widely used language in all the world’s history, and more than any other tongue, it influenced the languages of Europe and the Americas. It has been estimated that between 60 and 70% of our English words are derived from Latin. Some words, such as area, circus, and animal, are spelled the same in both languages. Others, like people, space, and peace (populus, spatium, pax), come indirectly from Latin. Indeed, because Latin has been the language of learned men and women, it became the basis for the vocabulary of the sciences, law, technology, music, and medicine. For developing a powerful vocabulary, Latin is a definite plus.Latin is equally important for learning the structure of language and grammar. Most of our nation’s founders could read Latin and even Greek, and they were able to use the English language the way a fine craftsman uses his tools. Their ability to write and say what they meant with power and elegance is largely because of the skills they learned in their youth from studying these ancient languages. Furthermore, from Latin, a student can branch out into other languages with ease.Studies have shown that students who study Latin tend to perform better in all academic areas. The study habits and memory development gained in the study of Latin are vital factors for success in college and in getting higher scores on the SAT and ACT entrance exams. So now the adventure begins. Thousands upon thousands of students in both institutional and home schooling environments have studied Latin on their way to success in every walk of life. With Latin in the Christian Trivium, that pathway will have the added guidance and direction provided by studying the Bible in Latin.

“Study to show thyself approved . . .” Sorry, I meant to say, “Sollicite cura te ipsum probabilem exhibere Deo operarium inconfusibilem recte tractantem verbum veritatis” (2 Tim 2:15).                         


 The Latin Advantage 

 “Latin is the key to the vocabulary and structure of the Romance languages and to the structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.”            

Dorothy Sayers, The National Review

 SAT Scores  Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

    2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Latin   665   665   666   672   674   681   672   678  
All Students   505   506   504   507   508   508   503   502
French   636   633   637   638   642   643   637   637
German   621   625   622   626   627   637   632   632
Spanish   589   583   581   575   575   573   577   574
Hebrew   623   628   629   628   630   620   623   622

1999-2005 Taken from Table 6 in College-Bound Seniors — A Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. 2007 data taken from 2007 College-Bound Seniors-Total Group Profile Report.

February 19, 2008

The “Nicene Creed” in Latin & English

The Symbolum Nicaenum, or Nicene Creed, has a complex history.  It was first promulgated at the Council of Nicea (325), though in an abbreviated form from what we have below.  St. Athanasius attributes its composition to the Papal Legate to the Council, Hossius of Cordova.  The Creed is also sometimes called the Nicene-Constantinoplan Creed since it appears inthe Acts of the Council of Constantinople (381), but it is clear that this Council is not the source of that composition for it appears in complete form in the Ancoratus of Epiphanius of Salamis some seven years earlier in 374.  In any case, it was this text that appears in the Acts of the Council of Constantinople that was formally promulgated at Chalcedon in 451 and has come down to us as our present Nicene Creed.  It was at the councils of Nicea and Constantinople that the true nature of Jesus was defended against two heresies that had sprung up. The Arians denied Christ’s divinity and the Monophysites denied Christ’s humanity. The councils, drawing upon the traditions handed down to them from the Apostles, condemned both heresies and declared that Jesus was indeed both true God and true man.  

 CREDO in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.   

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.  

Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei **unigenitum,  ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt.   
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father; through Whom all things were  made.  

Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est.   

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.  And he was made flesh by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. 

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris.  

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; suffered, and was buried. On the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  

Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.  

And He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.  

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.  

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.  

Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas.  
Who, with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified: Who has spoken through the Prophets.  

Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.   
And (I believe in) one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  

Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.  

I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen. 
**Not only is Christ God’s “only begotten” son (via His incarnation by a “virgin” woman through the agency of the Holy Spirit), He is more significantly, as one of the three “persons” of the trinitarian Godhead, the “unique” Son of God. For more on the “uniqueness” (uniqenitum) of Christ as the “God-Man,” see: Jesus Christ: God’s “Unique” Son (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:9 Greek & Latin).


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