Again with the Bad Latin

Probably not worth a pit thread, but once again I am disappointed at a TV writer’s refusal to pick up a phone and call somebody who actually knows Latin. A recent episode of American Dad featured an old man casting a curse with these words:

“Ingredior in meus calceus quod vos mos agnosco!”

I had trouble working out what these words were even supposed to be, because they weren’t pronounced by any recognizable English standard, much less an actual Latin one. But googling around I was able to find translators that give more or less this exact wrong translation.

What they mean to say, reading just by the vocabulary used, “Walk in my shoes and you will understand.” What it actually says is more like “I, my shoes, walk in what you people I, morals, come to recognize.”

What they want is more like “Ambulā in calceōs meōs ut morēs meōs intellegās.” Just call somebody, for crapping out loud. It’s not that hard.

Since Harry Potter always uses proper Latin for its spells (Oculus Reparo!), I was appalled that in that one HP parody episode AD did not take the same care. “Lavete las manos” does not show up in any Latin dictionary!

Argh! Also, watching that scene over and over to work out what words they were mispronouncing was wasted, since they are spoken much more clearly later in the episode. Damn you, Seth McFarlane! I curse you with never being able to think up a new joke.

Also, the episode “Elvish language” that Steve helps Stan decipher is really just Japanese. IIRC Hiragana to be precise. It’s a wonder Toshi didn’t pick up on that.

But this kind of thing is rather common. See also Dog Latin. For a twist, see this clip from Life of Brian.

But the Life of Brian clip is making fun of bad attempts at Latin, but its corrections are almost correct.

  1. The accusative is used for motion-toward, not the locative, which is used place-where
  2. If the locative were required, the locative of domus is domī. I’ve heard this scene talked about many times among Latin enthusiasts without anybody pointing out these mistakes.

At least they wrote the scene with some knowledge of what they were talking about, apparently from some experience of being boxed in the ears by schoolmasters.

Also, Dog Latin is a kind of metalinguistic wordplay. Jamming something you want to say into an online translator and presenting the results is something altogether different. Call it, perhaps, Bitch Latin?

Wikipedia credits Cleese with that scene, who studied Latin in school.

Lavate las manos is wash your hands in Spanish. It was a ongoing joke in the episode since Roger dumps Steven at “Hogwarts” aka meth house full of Latinos. Lol

Too late!

The lurking horror Steve was speaking Spanish it means wash your hands:mad:

Double woosh. And if that’s the only thing you guys took issue with, does that mean that oculus reparo looks fine to you?

“Expelliarmus!” :dubious:

It would be “Oculum reparo!” if it were proper Latin, unless you’re trying to say “I, the Eye, restore”; “oculus” is the subject of the phrase, not the thing being restored. Let’s not give Rowling more credit than she merits.

it reads like “i step back in my shoes, for i know your manners”

if it was to be like suggested in the movies, it would be like “ingredere meos calceos si mores meos agnoscere velles”

Ooooh! A Latin war! That the thread is five years old means nothing when talking Latin. I have no cites, but I assume some arguments have been going on for two thousand years.

I remember once in the Economist, a writer turned the latin phrase “E pluribus unum” (out of many, one) into the opposite (out of one, many; sorry i dont remember the latin). The next week the magazine published five messages in the letters section. Each letter had a long list of the person’s latin language credentials, followed by their corrected version of the proper latin phrase for out of one, many. All five came up with different phrases. My favorite part was that the magazine didn’t comment in any way. Just printed five letters of people saying they knew better than the writer, and letting the reader notice that at least four of them were wrong.

Illegitimi non carborundum!

(yes, I know)

That’s nothing: The argument over proper Indo-European has been going on since those nice horsemen lost all their pretty asterisks.

It’s not a “mistake.” They do it deliberately, out of concern for public safety. It’s like how the bomb recipes in Fight Club don’t work, because the filmmakers didn’t want people watching the film then going out and building real bombs. You got to mess up the Latin a little bit when you put spells into movies, otherwise people will run out and start using magic all willy-nilly. I mean, that’s literally what caused the fall of the Roman empire in the first place: people couldn’t have a normal, everyday conversation without accidentally cursing twelve people, parting the Bosphorus, and turning the cat inside out.

Julius: Nice weather for fishing!
<crack of thunder>
Marcus: Good job, asshole! Now it’s raining fucking fish!
<crack of thunder>
Julius: Well, that’s not much of an improvement, is it?

If the falling fish are fucking, does that mean it’s raining caviar?

Al Gore (or his speechwriter) did that in January 1994. The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again - Michael Barone - Google Books