Sunday, October 02, 2011

Latin Proverbs: 113 Most Frequent Words

The DR number, Diederich Rank, refers to the highest number in Diederich's frequency listing, which you can see here: Diederich Ranking.

DR 100. Non est bonum esse hominem solum. ~ Note: The infinitive is the subject for the sentence, with hominem as the accusative subject and solum as the predicate. You could render it into English this way: A man being alone is not a good thing, For a man to be alone is not a good thing, It is not a good thing for a man to be alone, etc. The words are God's, from Genesis 2, when he is deciding to create a companion for Adam.

DR 101. sine qua non ~ Note: This phrase is still used in English; it is a shortened form of "causa sine qua non" or "condicio sine qua non" - that is, the essential reason.

DR 104. Nihil dat qui non habet. ~ Note: This is another Latin legal maxim.

DR 105. Longae regum manus. ~ Note: Here is another one of those ambiguous fourth-declension noun forms: manus - but the adjective gives you the clue you need: longae, "long are the hands of kings," metaphorically speaking. This is one of the sayings that Erasmus included in his Adagia, 1.2.3.

DR 105. Nullus agenti dies longus est. ~ Note: Nullus here agrees with dies and give you the subject: "no day" (nullus dies) "is long" (longus est) for the person who is working (agenti).

DR 107. Ita vita. ~ Note: Compare the English saying, "Such is life."

DR 108. Patris est filius. ~ Note: This is one of the sayings Erasmus included in his Adagia, 4.3.36. Note the genitive, patris. This is something like the English saying "he is his father's son."

DR 108. Omnes filii Dei estis. ~ Note: You can find these words in Paul's letter to the Galatians, 3. Note that the word omnes modifies the unexpressed subject of the verb, estis: (you) all.

DR 109. Ubi sunt? ~ Note: The unexpressed subject of this verb is those who have passed on before us - where are they (now)? To learn about the poetic tradition associated with these words, see the Wikipedia article.

DR 113. Vir quidem unus, nullus est. ~ Note: Compare the proverb cited earlier: Unus vir non omnia videt. Compare also the saying in the Adagia of Erasmus, 1.5.40: Unus vir, nullus vir.

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