As a kid, I was never very good at speaking Pig Latin. I wasn’t very good at understanding it either. Some friends and family around me could talk to each other and I couldn’t follow what was being said.
As an adult, I’m no better at Pig Latin now than I was as a kid. Some things are like that with me. I’m no better at art or drawing now than I was in the third grade, for example.
Of course, Pig Latin isn’t really a language. And, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Latin language. It’s just kind of a game of speaking in code by changing the words.
Just in case you’re wondering, the basic rule for Pig Latin is to take the first consonant letter, or consonant cluster of letters, of a word, then put it at the end of the word, then add ‘ay.’ The title of this column is “Pig Latin” written in Pig Latin.
There are two or three other rules, but only one is worth mentioning here. If a word starts with a vowel, just say the word, as it is, then add ‘hey’ to the end of it. Alligator becomes alligatorhey.
Now, if we’re going to talk about the real Latin language, I know quite a few words. And so do you. Latin is a dead language. (There are no native speakers and it has evolved into other languages). In spite of that, most of us know and use Latin words all the time.
I was thinking about mottos and slogans the other day. Some of those are expressed in Latin. Besides the “In God We Trust” motto of the United States, we have the Latin traditional motto of “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “out of many, one.” That motto appears on our money along with many other Latin words and phrases. Evidently our founding fathers thought Latin was really cool.
The movie Dead Poet’s Society popularized the Latin inspirational phrase “Carpe Diem.” (Seize The Day). This means make the most of the present time. Jump in and get things done now! I hear people say it sometimes as if it’s their personal motto.
I have a personal motto for my own life. It’s all mine, but I wish others would adopt it as well. I took this personal motto of life and looked up the translation to see how it would sound in Latin. I think it’s pretty impressive.
Here is the guiding motto for my life: “Nolite Facere Quicquam stultius.” Translated into English, it means, “Don’t Do Anything Stupid.”
Making those kind of translations proves the point of the Latin phase, “quid quid Latine dictum sit altum videtur” which means “anything said in Latin sounds profound.”
Often, the people who use long Latin phrases are usually lawyers, college professors, or other high falutin’ types who are trying to sound important. I think it works.
I said earlier that all of us know lots of Latin words. Here are some of them and their definitions and their use in sentences:
Alibi = elsewhere — Don’t pin the disappearance of the last of the chocolate ice cream on me. I have an alibi. I was on the front porch the whole time. Just ask the dog.
Et cetera = And so on — You asked me if we needed something from the store? Yes we do – Oreos, chocolate milk, Diet Pepsi, Dove’s chocolate, and chocolate ice cream, Et cetera.
Extra = In addition to — Please buy some extra chocolate ice cream.
Impromptu = Spontaneous — It was just an impromptu feeling. I just suddenly stopped and bought chocolate ice cream.
Quid pro quo = Something for something — If you give me the last of the chocolate ice cream, I’ll watch an episode of Downtown Abbey, with you.
Status quo = Existing state of affairs — Unless one of us goes to the store, things will remain status quo here and we won’t have any chocolate ice cream.
Versus = Against — When they were arguing the relative merits of vanilla ice cream versus chocolate ice cream, I had to remain silent.
There’s certainly more that could be said about Latin, but I think that’s enough for now. I think I’m going to work on my Pig Latin though. I’m wondering if it would work for secret communication when my grandchildren are around.
One more thing, remember that it’s county fair time! Check the fair book or online (sanpetecountyfair.net) to find the schedule of events, etc. The new arena makes it so there are plenty of seats for the rodeo nights and the demolition derby.
All kinds of things are going on at the fair. There’s something for everyone. I enjoy the car show, the rodeo and seeing if I can get my wife on the Ferris wheel.
The parade is always a highlight. It’s on Saturday at 5 p.m., in Manti. Enjoy the fun of it all! Okayhey?