Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-08-2009, 09:17 PM
istara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 3,634

Latin phrase translation


"Quis attero mihi tantum planto mihi validus" apparently translates as "To diminish me will only make me stronger".

That doesn't seem quite right to me, can anyone give a more literal translation?
  #2  
Old 04-08-2009, 10:13 PM
Captain Carrot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Sophomore at VTech
Posts: 6,039
That seems about right to me. I think there's implied passage of time here: what weakens me now will serve to make me stronger in the long run.
  #3  
Old 04-08-2009, 10:19 PM
Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 12,089
Not that it helps with the translation, but this sounds close to Nietzsche's "That which does not destroy me makes me stronger."
  #4  
Old 04-08-2009, 10:48 PM
istara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 3,634
Thanks - any chance someone can parse it? It's the cases and endings that are confusing me (mihi is "to me", right?) And "attero" - I thought -o denoted the first person rather than the third.
  #5  
Old 04-09-2009, 04:25 AM
rothbury is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by istara View Post
Thanks - any chance someone can parse it? It's the cases and endings that are confusing me (mihi is "to me", right?) And "attero" - I thought -o denoted the first person rather than the third.
Well I read Latin to S level many years ago and although I've forgotten most of it I can't get the so called English translation out of the words! Yes o denotes the first person and mihi is to me. Why quis ("whoever") should be followed by attero
I don't know- nor can I get the last bit either - validus is masculine nominative !
  #6  
Old 04-09-2009, 05:01 AM
istara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 3,634
Quote:
Originally Posted by rothbury View Post
Well I read Latin to S level many years ago and although I've forgotten most of it I can't get the so called English translation out of the words! Yes o denotes the first person and mihi is to me. Why quis ("whoever") should be followed by attero
I don't know- nor can I get the last bit either - validus is masculine nominative !
Exactly - I was thinking "mihi" could be possessive dative ("There was to Alexander a horse, named Bucephalon etc etc") but it still makes no exact sense to me.

Haven't done Latin for well over a decade and I am so rusty.
  #7  
Old 04-09-2009, 07:34 AM
Quartz's Avatar
Quartz is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Where haggis roam free
Posts: 30,998
Quote:
Originally Posted by istara View Post
"Quis attero mihi tantum planto mihi validus" apparently translates as "To diminish me will only make me stronger".

That doesn't seem quite right to me, can anyone give a more literal translation?
This is Angelina Jolie's tattoo, right?

Are you sure the Latin's correct? Attero is first person singular which is simply wrong: it should be atterit at the least. I don't recognise planto as a Latin word. Nor does it make sense.

I'd expect something more along the lines of 'Quantum mihi atterit tantum mihi ...' - literally, 'How much weakens me, so much ...' or I might use an ablative absolute: 'Quanto attrito tanto cresco' (not entirely sure of 'grow' here).

Or you could simply get rid of the quanto... tanto construct and have:

attrito fortiter cresco

Literally, 'Having been diminished, I rise strongly'

Someone who's Latin is less rusty than mine will no doubt polish this.
  #8  
Old 04-09-2009, 09:52 AM
rothbury is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
This is Angelina Jolie's tattoo, right?

Are you sure the Latin's correct? Attero is first person singular which is simply wrong: it should be atterit at the least. I don't recognise planto as a Latin word. Nor does it make sense.

I'd expect something more along the lines of 'Quantum mihi atterit tantum mihi ...' - literally, 'How much weakens me, so much ...' or I might use an ablative absolute: 'Quanto attrito tanto cresco' (not entirely sure of 'grow' here).

Or you could simply get rid of the quanto... tanto construct and have:

attrito fortiter cresco

Literally, 'Having been diminished, I rise strongly'

Someone who's Latin is less rusty than mine will no doubt polish this.
Can't see why it's "mihi" anyway should be " me atterit"surely as "attero" would be transitive and why would it take the dative? . I had thought of the "Quantum .......tantum" expression as that's what it's trying to achieve but i think it's just plain wrong. And as for the word "planto"????
  #9  
Old 04-09-2009, 10:31 AM
Clothahump is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 14,654
I think it's a "modern day" Latin phrase, attempting to translate 'that which doesn't kill me makes me stronger'.

Similar to 'illegitimati non lassit carborundum' - 'Don't let the bastards grind you down'
  #10  
Old 04-09-2009, 10:32 AM
Diogenes the Cynic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Here's how I parse it:

Quis l attero l mihi l tantum l planto l mihi l validus

What l I rub/wear/erode away l to me l so much/that much l ? [perhaps an an attempt at planta ("cutting," green twig," "grafting," "plant"), but the declension would be wrong) l to me l stronger

I think it's probably a mangled attempt to say "What erodes me makes me that much stronger," but the verb form is wrong. Alternatively it could be an attemt to say something about making a plant stronger by pruning it, but then what's with the "mihi's?"

I think it's just wrong. It looks like somebody tried to construct something by using a Latin dictionary without knowing anything about declensions or conjugations.

and "planto?"
  #11  
Old 04-09-2009, 01:07 PM
Dr. Drake is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 6,253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
...and "planto?"
Not that this makes much more sense, but:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewis and Short's Latin Dictionary
planto , āre, v.
I. To set, plant, transplant (cf. sero): hoc modo plantantur punicae, Plin. 17, 10, 13, 67 ; Pall. 4, 5: vineam, Vulg. Luc. 20, 9 et saep. --
II. To fix in place, and hence, to form, make: qui plantavit aurem, non audiet? Vulg. Psa. 93, 9.
  #12  
Old 04-09-2009, 01:23 PM
Dr. Drake is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 6,253
Quis, 1. interrogative pronoun: who, which, which one [m. or f. nominative]; 2. pronoun: anyone, anything, someone, something [indeclinable]
attero, 1. v. rub against; wear away; exhaust; weaken; destroy [1st sing. pres. ind. act.]
mihi, 1. pron. (to/for) me [dative]
tantum, adv. 1. such, so, so great [neuter n/v/a sing; masc. acc. sing]
planto, 1. v. plant, transplant, set in place [1st sing. pres. ind. act.]
mihi, 1. pron. (to/for) me [dative]
validus, 1. adj. strong, stout, able, powerful, robust, vigorous [m. nom. sg.]

Since attero is in the first person, and quis isn't, quis can't really be the nominative interrogative (declension here). So it must be the indeclinable pronoun, perhaps in the accusative in an admittedly unusual word order.

Perhaps I am destroying something of mine; I, who am robust, plant so much for myself! Some sort of gardener's lament? (Or, as stated above, a poor rendering of Nietzche into Latin.)
  #13  
Old 04-09-2009, 03:43 PM
Helen's Eidolon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Montreal and/or PA
Posts: 4,561
My best (most entertaining, but still way wrong) guess: "Whatever strong I rub against myself will so much increase for me."

'Quis' and ''validus' being nominative;
attero = pres ind. act. 1st s. rub, grind, rub against, diminish;
planto = plo, plare (multiply) 3rd sing fut imperative active (yeah, I know that's a crappy way to translate a 3rd person imperative.);
2nd mihi being some sort of ethical dative.
  #14  
Old 04-10-2009, 01:20 AM
istara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 3,634
Wow thank you all so much!

It's a tattoo that some UK glamour model called Danielle Lloyd has had put on, and I was convinced it was mangled Latin.

However, given that her main claim to fame is dating various footballers, the phrase: "Whatever strong I rub against myself will so much increase for me" is exceptionally apt.
  #15  
Old 04-10-2009, 02:06 AM
Kimmy_Gibbler is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3,712
I assume you are not looking for a literal translation (i.e. a calque) but rather something more idiomatic. How can one be strengthened by being diminished? I think it refers not to actually physical diminution, but diminished in reputation. For instance, I once read an article which claimed that one danger of running for President was that election losers always ended up diminished with respect to their pre-run reputation (as happened to say McCain and Kerry and Bob Dole and Dukakis, etc.). Thus, the tattoo suggests that your (or anyone's) contempt for it bearer only strengthens their resolve to dispel your doubts.
  #16  
Old 04-10-2009, 03:56 AM
rothbury is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3
After a lot of thought I think it should read "Quis atterit mihi tantum mihi plantit fortius"-
at least then it is grammatical. Planto is not classical Latin.
I agree someone has simply looked in a dictionary and put the words together
without the knowledge to decline or conjugate the words!
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:04 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017