Monday, March 08, 2010


In the course of time, I’ve picked up a smattering of foreign languages. Some of my education has been deliberate: I studied French and German in high school, with the inevitable result that a sentence like “Faites attention! Tu vas heruntergefallen des escalieren!” makes perfect sense to me.

Add to this several years of Hebrew school and a lot of travel to Asia and Latin America, and you have what could alternatively be called a modest case of the polyglot... or a linguistic clusterfuck. Who else do you know that can translate the Flintstones theme song into French... or the Mr. Ed theme song into four different languages, including Indonesian?

Regrettably, one of the gaps in my education results from a failure to engage in a formal study of Latin. It’s not a gap that creates many problems for me, since my knowledge of Romance languages helps me fill in the Swiss-cheese-like holes in my knowledge base. Nevertheless, it puts me at a disadvantage... especially when guys like my buddy Johnny Tabs gloat over the fact that they studied Latin back in fifth grade. Nanny-nanny boo-frickin’-boo.

Big, fat, hairy deal, says I. ’Cause I’m a quick study when it comes to languages. Here, courtesy of Johnny Tabs, is a Latin poem that any fifth-grade schoolboy should know. Can you translate it?

O Sibili, si ergo
Fortibus es inero
O Nobili, demis trux
Sei vadis indum
Causem dux

Are you smarter than a fifth-grader? Screw Jeff Foxworthy and alla them inquiring minds. I wanna know... so leave your answer in the comments!

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