Monday, August 29, 2016

And They Studied Latin! Lauralee Bell

This is an ongoing series in which I highlight public figures who can perhaps attribute a portion of their success to a background in Latin study. 

I've previously celebrated the likes of Joshua Chamberlain, Tom Hiddleston, and Boris Johnson.

As a Latin teacher and a fan of The Young and the Restless, I am happy to present the exciting news, in the week in which The Young and the Restless will air its 11,000th episode on September 1st, that none other than Lauralee Bell is a fellow Latin scholar!

Lauralee Bell portrays Christine Blair on the series, a role for which she was gained a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2016.

But before her accomplishments before the camera, Lauralee Bell attended the Latin School of Chicago, a private school focused on the classical tradition, including study of the Latin language!

Congratulations to the producers and cast of The Young and the Restless for this milestone.

As we say in Latin:

Ad Multos Annos!
To Many Years (more)!

Big Brother and ... Latin?

As a Latin teacher and Big Brother fan, I hereby offer a somewhat self-indulgent presentation of the many ways in which the CBS reality show Big Brother indeed abounds in Latin!

First off, before I describe the rich Latin language references within the show, the title itself, Big Brother, is obviously derived from both Germanic roots and George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I have seen Big Brother itself translated into Latin as Magnus Frater, which is technically possible but contextually incorrect. The evident meaning of "Big" in Big Brother is that it is the eldest brother, therefore Frater Maior Natu (Brother Older by Birth).

The inner workings of the show, however, are deeply steeped in the Latin language and Roman culture.

Head of Household

Each week one of the house guests, by winning a competition, takes on the role of "Head of Household." This matches the authority of the Roman "Head of Household," known as the Pater Familias. The Pater Familias was the oldest male in one's paternal family, even that man was not the direct ancestor of members such as nephews.

And the authority of the Pater Familias went way beyond the duty merely to nominate two other house guests for eviction. Indeed, the Twelve Tables of ancient Roman law gave the Pater Familias the power of life and death (vitae necisque potestas) over the members of the family.

The Power of Veto

We've taken the word "Veto" into Latin as a political term. It comes from the Latin verb "vetō, vetāre, vetuī, vetitus: to forbid, prohibit."

So when you say "Vetō," you are saying "I prohibit." 

There's a nice use of the passive of this verb in Vergil's Aeneid 1.39, where the goddess Juno, who wants to prevent the Trojans from reaching Italy, asks herself:

Quippe vetor fatis
Perhaps I am forbidden by the Fates.

Speaking of goddesses, would it be too much to hope that the ever stunning host of Big Brother, Julie Chen, herself studied some Latin when she attended St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, New York?


After the potential of cancelling out one of the nominated house guests on Veto Night, we move to Eviction. By a private vote (with vote counts, however, publicized), someone is evicted.

The word "Eviction" is directly borrowed from the Latin word evictio, evictionis, which has the same meaning as in English.

The noun is derived from the verb ēvincō, ēvincere, ēvīcī, ēvīctus, which means "to vanquish, overcome." 

It's been great television so far in Season 18! 

One particular house guest was evicted twice but got back in the game. It would be an interesting thing if he were to win and create yet one more connection to Latin. Because his name is...VICTOR!

Learning Latin with Pope Francis - August 29, 2016, #2

To visit my archive of Latin Papal Tweets, go to my main page. 

August 29, 2016, #2

Here's a video version with (ecclesiastical) pronunciation:


Here's a literal translation of the Latin: May the Mercy of God move us to bestow mercy on others.

And here's how the grammar of this Latin tweet works:

Grammar Points
The Mercy
nom. sing. fem. noun
misericordia, misericordiae
of God
gen. sing. masc. noun
Deus, Dei
may (it) move, incite
3rd pers. sing. pres. act. subj. verb
excitō, excitāre, excitāvī, excitātus
acc. pl. pronoun
nos, nostri
Prep.+Acc.; used with gerund construction to express purpose
acc. sing. fem. noun
misericordia, misericordiae
acc. sing. masc. adj.
alius, alia, alium; used as substantive
(to) bestow
acc. sing. fem. gerund
adhibeō, adhibēre, adhibuī, adhibitus; NB, gerund takes on the gender and number of the object.

Learning Latin with Pope Francis - August 29, 2016

To visit my archive of Latin Papal Tweets, go to my main page. 

August 29, 2016

Here's a video version with (ecclesiastical) pronunciation:


Here's a literal translation of the Latin: This is a prayer which, with no difficulty, can be said everyday: "I am a sinner, Lord: come and have mercy on me."

And here's how the grammar of this Latin tweet works:

Grammar Points
nom. sing. fem. dem. adj.
hic, haec, hoc; modifies oratio
3rd pers. sing. pres. ind. verb
sum, esse, fui
a prayer
nom. sing. fem. noun
oratio, orationis
nom. sing. fem. rel. pronoun
qui, quae quod; oratio is the antecedent
(with) no
abl. sing. neut. adj.
nullus, nulla, nullum; modifes negotio
budiness, difficulty
abl. sing. neut. noun
negotium, negotii; abl. of means or manner
to be said
pres. pass. inf.
dico, dicere, dixi, dictus
3rd pers. pres. ind. verb
possum, posse, potui
a sinner
nom. sing. masc. noun
peccator, peccatoris; NB, fem. version would be peccatrix
I am
1st pers. sing. ind. verb
sum, esse, fui
O Lord
voc. sing. masc. noun
Dominus, Domini
sing. imper. verb
venio, venire, veni, ventus
have mercy
sing. imper. of deponent verb
misereor, miserērī, miseritus sum
(on) me
gen. sing. pronoun
ego, mei; obj of miserere