Archive for the ‘tripped up vocab’ Tag

Id possum tollere   Leave a comment

I’ve started on Chapter 6 of my Wheelock textbook, trying to relearn Latin. I’m focusing a lot more on the vocabulary this time around. It’s helping! I’ve never had difficulties understanding the grammar of foreign languages, but applying it practically has always been difficult, because vocab is hard. I drill myself a few days a week on it.

For Chapter 6 one of the vocab words was salvus, -i, and the definition given was safe, sound. This immediately put into my mind Capital City’s “Safe and Sound”.

I thought, Sumus salvus. I then began humming the ending of the song, which is basically “We’re safe and sound” over and over. They have the same amount of syllables, too. Suuuumus, sumus salvus — suuuuumus sumus salvus! Because I am a huge nerd. Then I tried translating the whole thing from the beginning, and then I got frustrated because I don’t know enough Latin grammar, basically.

I could lift you up Te possum tollere
I could show you what you want to see Te possum exhibere oh no I ran out of room
And take you where you want to be Et te word for take? It can’t be carpere, that is the figurative use of “take”, could it be “bring”? Is that in the subjunctive or is it ablative or what?

So I gave up and went back to studying Wheelock. But the first sentence took me a surprising amount of time. I couldn’t find a word that fit with “lift”. There isn’t a direct translation for the word, as with most English:Latin vocabulary. Latin is a very direct language. It doesn’t allow for much poetry. The first word I found that I sort of liked was “atollero”, and it took me forever to find proof that “tollere” was the same word (it has one less syllable). So the word stuck out in my mind.

So this morning I picked up my biography of Cicero. I read about the success of Marc Antony’s march on Mutina (he wanted the governorship of the Cisalpine province for strategic reasons, but Decimus Brutus already had the position, and anyway it was a big conflict between the people who wanted the Republic to stay unified and those who wanted it to have a stronger central command — an imperator or a dictator at its head). I came across this paragraph:

If the Consuls had survived and his strategy had succeeded, as it very nearly did, Cicero’s attitude towards Octavian would surely have been very different [Cicero had praised Octavian and pushed for honors and complacency towards the boy, hoping to appease him], for his usefulness to the Senate as its protector against Antony would have been at an end. In this connection it was most unfortunate that Octavian learned his “father’s” true intentions. Never one to avoid careless talk if a witty remark or a pun occurred to him, Cicero had observed that “the young man must get praises, honors–and the push.” The Latin is laudandum, ornandum, tollendum; the last word had a double meaning: to “exalt” and to “get rid of”. Towards the end of May, Decimus Brutus warned Cicero that someone had reported this joke to the young man, who had been unamused, commenting tersely that he had no intention of letting that happen.

I thought about how terrible of a Latin translator I am. And how weird of a coincidence it was that the word I had struggled over yesterday, tollere, turned out to be the central word in a pun by Cicero written two thousand years ago; and that I happened to have read that pun the day after I learned about the word. Then I thought how weird it was that Latin had a word that meant both “exalt” and “get rid of.” How often do those situations come up together?

In which I decide not to become internet famous   4 comments

When I say that I’m in the mood for Chinese food, what I typically mean is: I want veggie spring rolls. They serve them at every Chinese-American restaurant I’ve encountered. They are crispy and delicious. I want them now. So after work today, I stopped outside the clock-in machine and looked up recipes for spring rolls on my phone. I located this one, which looked promising. I realized that I would be doing much the same as that blogger did, take pictures of the process of making those spring rolls, but who cares? I’d be making the recipe for the first time. Surely that would add something new to the recipe.

I decided I would buy veggies for my handsome boys, because they haven’t had veggies in a while. I went to the grocery store. This involved visiting areas of the store I hadn’t really spent time in before.


I honestly can’t decide if that’s the correct “due” or not. Do to? Due to?


This recipe called for ingredients had never used before — I was disappointed to learn that you just buy these. I had most been looking forward to making the wrappings, although in retrospect that probably would have been the most difficult part of the process.


The recipe called for “oyster sauce” which I had never heard of before. Apparently that’s the flavoring in a lot of Chinese foods though. I had to take a picture of the aisle I grabbed the oyster sauce from — all of that is soy sauce, and there’s soy sauce in other aisles as well. Where is the oyster sauce? There’s one option of oyster sauce, up in the very left-hand corner. Oyster-flavored sauce. Close enough.


They had Superbowl and Valentines Day options in the impulse grab section. I took this picture because I thought the bear was wearing a bikini, which is hilariously tacky. After reexamining the bear, I realized it was a bee. Bee My Valentine, is the point of the teddy bear. Which is still pretty tacky, but less ridiculously so.

For the most part this recipe didn’t call for unusual foods, but it did call for foods prepared in a way I had never done before. I was supposed to grate ginger. I realized that I didn’t even know what ginger looks like outside of a powder.

It looks like this.

It looks like this.

This, I realized, was part of the reason why I force myself to make foods like this — so I can understand where things come from. So I don’t lose touch with the way things are. The powdered ginger in my mother’s cupboard came from somewhere. Someone made those veggies rolls I so love.

But as I neared the check-out, I realized that these veggie rolls would take time to make. Time that I didn’t necessarily have. I have a journal entry due on Blackboard at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and I still need to read three chapters for that. I still have two chapters due for US History through Its Holidays. And of course I’m probably all kinds of behind on Post-1949 China. I stood there in the store and debated. I really wanted to make veggie rolls. It would make me internet famous, maybe, and also I really wanted crisp, crunch veggie rolls. But I need to finish my history degree.

With a sigh, I put everything back. I figured that since I was doing the responsible thing, I may as well treat myself. Since Mom wasn’t going to be around to judge me, I bought a can of pears to eat straight out of the can. I bought a pre-cooked chicken because I haven’t had meat all by itself in weeks. And I bought a donut.

Because donut.

Because donut.

I was satisfied.

And I still bought veggies for my handsomes.


Sonny was very excited about veggies.


I did not pose him. This is how I found him.


Slinky was less certain about his veggies. It took a superworm to even get him this far.


He came around eventually though.

Mone me, amabo te, si erro   Leave a comment

Well I hope everyone’s holiday went great! Mine went swimmingly. I got stripey socks! I am the only person in the world who enjoys getting socks for Christmas.

After Christmas I picked up the Latin thing again. I have now completed the first chapter of Wheelock’s Latin. This chapter covers the basic concept of conjugation and declension — how Latin modifies each verb and noun, based on:

Person: Who is the subject?

I throw the ball (first)
You throw the ball (second)
He throws the ball (third)

Number: How many people are the subject?

The boy threw the ball (singular)
They threw the ball (plural)

Mood: Is the action happening? Is it hypothetical? Is it an order?

The boy throws the ball (indicative)
The boy must throw the ball (subjunctive)
Throw the ball, boy! (imperative)

Voice: Is the subject doing the action, or is the action being performed to the subject?

The boy throws the ball (active)
The ball was thrown to the boy (passive)

Tense: Present, past, future, imperfect, perfect, future perfect, and pluperfect
Which homygosh did I freak out when I saw that. I remember being worried that pluperfect was going to be complicated the first time I took Latin. Actually I think perfect tense was the most complicated, or maybe it was imperfect. I don’t remember.

The boy throws the ball (present)
The boy threw the ball (past)
The boy will throw the ball (future)
The boy was throwing the ball (imperfect)
The boy has thrown the ball (perfect)
The boy will have thrown the ball (future perfect)
The boy had been throwing the ball (pluperfect)

…Yeah, that’s seven different tenses to conjugate verbs in. That’s in the indicative mood! Later there will be hypotheticals and passives all thrown into this wingwang and it will be be insane. Latin is not a difficult language, but it involves a lot of memorizing charts. You have to just kind of accept that when you become a Latin student.

So this week we only focused on changes on person and number. Everything was in the indicative present mood, except for a few example sentences in the imperative. To be fair, imperative is pretty simple. You take the root word:

Volare (fly)

Chop off the ending bit:


And…actually that’s it. Well you should probably stick an exclamation point on that.


And if you’re ordering multiple things? You just add -te to the end.


And if you want to be a nerd:

Voltate, stulti! (fly, you fools!)

So yeah, this week was pretty simple. Just a lot of basic introduction of concepts. The sample sentences tried to throw in pronouns and conjunctions to throw us off, but yeah.

Labor me vocat (work calls me)
Saepe nihil cogitas (often you are thinking nothing)
Laudas me; culpant me (you praise me, they blame me)
Bis das, si cito das (You give twice, if you give quickly)
Salvete!–Quid videtis? Nihil videmus. (Greetings! What do you see? We see nothing)

Vocabulary that tripped me up:

debeo, debere, debui, debitum, to owe, ought, must — can you believe “data” and “dedicate” have the same root?
servo, servare, servavi, servatum, to preserve, save, keep, guard — I get this mixed up with servio, servire, servivi, servitum, serve, be a slave to
do, dare, dedi, datum, to give, offer — the indicative form is so short that I often mistake it for a pronoun. I need to make an effort to remember this one.

Posted December 30, 2011 by agentksilver in Latin

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