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Thread: All the Latin in Ulysses

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    All the Latin in Ulysses

    James Joyce was a talented linguist. I have read quotes of German (I think), Italian, Spanish and French; no Irish, slightly surprisingly, but lots of Latin. As it happens, I have been trying to learn Latin for the past few months. I took Latin at school, but entirely failed to master the grammar. I still scraped a C in my O level, but that was only because I memorised about ten pages of translation of the Aeneid. I wish when I started reading this book I had started copying down all the Latin quotes. Then I could try working out what it all means. It seems pretty complex Latin.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I am not able to recognize Irish but maybe Joyce saved it for "Finnegans Wake" which dives still more into Irish traditions. At least so I was told.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Irish is a pretty sounding language. Irish schoolchildren in the south learn it, but it is not used in conversation much. The only time I remember hearing it spoken was when I was on a site visit to their national television studios. There were some folk musicians in the waiting room speaking it. f think Enya might have sang in it. I have actually heard more people speak Gaelic, which is a very similar language. I walked into a pub in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides and everyone was speaking it. Walked straight back out again. I heard someone speak it on the west coast of Scotland. Gaelic does not have many speakers however. My problem with those languages is the spelling. Siobhan is pronounced Shevorn, while Niamh is pronounced Nyeve - why?
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User Poetaster's Avatar
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    Joyce was culturally a catholic, I don't remember any of the Latin from Ulysses - I read it ages ago, but I can't imagine much of it would not be Medieval/Church Latin. There isn't really a massive amount of difference between Church Latin and Classical, just the vocabulary and generally less rigid grammar. Can you post some examples?
    'So - this is where we stand. Win all, lose all,
    we have come to this: the crisis of our lives'

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    As examples, there is a line on p555: ‘Per deam Partulam et Perundam nunc est bibendum!’
    There are also a couple of sentences of German on that page: ‘Deine Kuh Trübsal melkest Du. Nun Trinkst Du die süsse Milch des Euters.’

    On p527 there is a juicier bit of Latin: ‘Talis ac tanta depravatio hujus seculi, O quirtes, ut matres familiarum nostrae lascivas cujuslibet semiviri libici titillationes testibus ponderosis atque excelsis erectionibus centurionum Romanorum magnopere anteponunt.’

    I think I even found a bit of Irish on p613: ‘sgenl inn ban bata coisde gan capall.’
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    If you need any help with the German, here we are, kev. I hope it is possible to relate the metaphorical milking and drinking the milk of the cows to the context.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I thought Euters meant udder, but I did not know what Trübsal meant.

    I looked up the Irish phrase using google translate. It means skenl inn ban a walking stick without a horse. So it does not even make sense when it is translated.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Yes, "Euter", here in the possessive case, means "udder". And "Trübsal"= "melancholy"."You were milking your cow`s melancholy. Now you are drinking the sweet milk of her udder."
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I thought Trübsal was the cow's name. We'd give cows names like Buttercup or Lily back before farming was industrialised.

    So that's two phrases translated, although they still do not make literal sense. Only about 300 to go.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    You are right, kev. It was an oversight, sorry. The exact translation is:"You were milking your cow Melancholy. Now you are drinking the sweet milk of her udder."
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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