A.D. Godley's Motor Bus

By Decimus Canus, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Decimus Canus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    This is a poem by A.D. Godley written around the time of the introduction of motorised bus services into Oxford. "Motor bus" is treated as a Latin phrase and fully declined. Apart from the humour in the poem the rhyming scheme shows clearly how scholars at that time made no concessions at all to the restored classical pronunciation but simply pronounced Latin words as though they were English. The Corn and The High are the names still used by people at the University for Cornmarket Street and the High Street.

    MOTOR BUS

    What is this that roareth thus?
    Can it be a Motor Bus?
    Yes, the smell and hideous hum
    Indicat Motorem Bum!
    Implet in the Corn and High
    Terror me Motoris Bi:
    Bo Motori clamitabo
    Ne Motore caedar a Bo--
    Dative be or Ablative
    So thou only let us live:
    Whither shall thy victims flee?
    Spare us, spare us, Motor Be!
    Thus I sang; and still and still anigh
    Came in hordes Motores Bi,
    Et complebat omne forum
    Copia Motorum Borum.
    How shall wretches live like us
    Cincti Bis Motoribus?
    Domine, defende nos
    Contra hos Motores Bos!

    -- A.D. Godley
    Dantius likes this.
  2. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    Location:
    BC
    :D

    Could such pronunciation really be the standard? :shifty:
  3. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    That's a totally unwarranted assumption. The pseudo-Latin in the poem is supposed to be pronounced as in English because the poem is in English.
  4. Nikolaos schmikolaos

    • Censor
    This is off-topic, but...

    I seem to have completely lost my ability to pronounce Latin words, or anything that resembles a Latin word, as if it were English. On a particular online first-person shooter in which I go by "Interficiam", I am surprised at how many people call me "Inter-fish-im" or "Inter-fishy-im", and that no one to this day has pronounced it with a hard C. The soft-C pronunciation never even occurred to me.

    Also, I was dismayed to see someone named "Meus Domus", but I digress.
  5. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
    Continuing the offtopic (uideant moderatores!). I’ve introduced a topic about current pronunciation of Latin at Schola lately (I think of reviving a similar thread of ours, Pronunciation decisions, which is essentially an interesting offtopic), and I was offered the following link:
    http://www.memoriapress.com/articles/Bennett.html
    Bennett condemns the idea of using the classical pronunciation in education. Actually the opusculum is a bit dated (a hundred years old).
  6. Eden New Member

    I think that poem is funny, actually

    Aside from that, off topic as it is, I wouldn't pronounce interficiam like you described, but then I am not a native English speaker anyway.
  7. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
    :hysteric:
    What about curriculum vitae or at least formulae? (Mind the ō: fōrmulae!) The other day I discovered that vide in an English text is to be pronounced as ['vaıdı]. :)
  8. Portia New Member

    Location:
    United States
    Same here, and I've only been taking Latin for a year and a half. Heck, I've even looked at some English words and pronounced them in my head the Latin way. I'm starting to think I ought to quit Latin before it's too late, ha. Though I think I'm safe; I usually don't venture to pronounce anything the Latin way outloud due to my cursed American Midwestern accent. -_-

    Let's just say, that poem, though I hesitate to call it such, was painful to read. And it wasn't just the "rhymes," either. :p
  9. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    Location:
    BC
    Is this the gender mismatch we are laughing at or am I missing something else? :shifty:
  10. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
    Indeed.

    Like in a novel by Dubrovin: when an accountant had been asked to tell something funny, he said, ‘Once my debit and credit did not match…’ He could not go on because of the laughter.
  11. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    Location:
    BC
    Neither can I :hysteric:
  12. Alatius Member

    Location:
    Upsaliae
    If the verb is indĭco indĭcāre, which seems likely, I see nothing odd with this.
  13. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
    What about Latin u pronounced as [ʌ]?
  14. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    So his argument, if we boil it down, is essentially: It's difficult so why bother?
  15. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
    Exactly. :)
  16. Nikolaos schmikolaos

    • Censor
    ...
    ...
    ...

    Isn't that how you are supposed to study a language?
  17. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    Location:
    BC
    rofl. Surely, you are mistaken :p
  18. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Richard Dawkins has referenced this thread, which is something, I suppose.
    Godmy and Pacifica like this.
  19. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I know this thread is old and the original participants for the most part no longer around, but I still want to give my two cents. I'm not sure the English-like pronunciation of Latin and pseudo-Latin words in that poem truly reflects the norm of how English-speaking Latinists pronounced Latin at the time. The poem is obviously humorous, so it could be that the English-like pronunciation was meant to be part of the humor, possibly even mocking such people as truly pronounced Latin that way. I like the poem, BTW, for what it is (humor).
  20. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    We've been here before. I don't think there's room for much doubt, given the evidence.

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