Formal & informal greetings

By teaques_mondoque, in 'English to Latin Translation', May 14, 2008.

  1. teaques_mondoque New Member

    I started this thread after realizing the unavailability for the proper translation thread for greetings (I've searched the entire forum; believe me!).

    For a start, I'd like to focus more on day-to-day Latin. Greetings, as everybody knows is part of life. Almost everyday we say "Good morning", "Good night", "Welcome", "Goodbye" and many more. I categorize those as 'formal greetings'. I believe the Roman also have 'informal greetings' like us today. For example, today we have something like "Yo!", "Wut's up man?" and some more. I want to know the proper greetings in Latin, formal or informal. Hope somebody will give some examples for those. Thanks in advance.
  2. Fulgor Laculus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Excellent idea! Every member can post those greetings that have become idiomatic for him/her. Here are some greetings I use on a (fairly) daily basis. Some are formal, some informal:

    Mane bonum - Good morning
    Bonam diem (in the feminine since this is a particular day) - Good day
    Bonam noctem - Good night
    Pax tecum - Peace with you - can also function as either Hello or Goodbye (as in Arabic).
    Sodes / Si vis / Si libet / Si placet - Please
    (Te) salvere iubeo - Be well! (either generally or in particular upon receiving a guest)
    Da veniam - Sorry / Excuse me
    Ignosce mihi - Forgive me
    Bene habeas - May it be well for you (used in departures)
    Salve - Hello
    Vale - Goodbye

    Gratias tibi ago - Thank you
    Nihil est (in response) - it is nothing
    or Libet - it is a pleasure

    Iterum obvenimus - We meet again (passing by someone for the second time within a short span of time)
    Di sint tecum - May the Gods be with you (upon somebody's embarking upon a significant task, endeavor or journey).

    Quid agis ? - How are you doing ?
    Bene, et tu ? (in response) - Well, and you ?

    Virtus tibi ac fortitudo - Strength and virtue unto thee (in departing from one who might need such traits; e.g. a soldier)

    I'll update this post if I recall anything else.
  3. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Cygnea, Gena
    A few things you might add:

    quaeso - also means 'please' I believe

    Quid novi? - what's up? Any news?

    quiesce securus/secura, bene somnia - sleep well
  4. LDV Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Here's my contribution:
    (I know some have already been posted)(and I know that there are some other stuff beside greetings)

    Hi! Ave(te)!
    Good morning! Bonum mane!
    Good evening! Bonum vesperum!
    Good night! Bonam noctem! Placidam noctem!
    Till we see again! Ad nos revisendos!
    Good bye. Vale(te)!
    May you be healthy. (Cura) ut valeas!

    How are you?
    Quomodo vales?
    Quomodo te habes?
    Qui vales?
    Quid agis?
    Ut vales?

    Super! Optime!
    Good. Bene
    Very good. Valde bene
    Bad. Male?
    Miserable: Misere
    Very miserable:
    Quod miserrimus

    And you? Et tu?
    Thanks Gratias ago
    I suppose we could leave out ago ,so that it would be more informal.
    Many thanks. Maximas gratias ago
    I am fine:

    Bene valeo.
    Bene me habeo.
    Bene sum.

    at toast: Bene tibi. Bene te.
    answer to thanks: Nil (est).

    Please tell me whether this is correct.
  5. snabbalg New Member

    This was a nice thread. Anyone got more to add?
  6. teaques_mondoque New Member

    So, how do we say "Happy birthday" (including any other associated phrases) in Latin then?
  7. Interficio Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, USA
    Felix Dies Natalis (B-day)
    Felix Dies Patris (fathers)
    Felix Dies Matri (mothers)

    for christmas i guess you can use the first one since it is a day of nativity and birth
  8. LDV Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I think Happy birthday is:

    felix dies natalis (tibi sit) or
    felicem diem natalem (tibi opto)
  9. Interficio Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Virginia, USA
    yeah i realized this late last night unfortunately.
  10. teaques_mondoque New Member

    Need translation for:

    "Have a great day"
    "Have a nice trip"
    "Good luck"
  11. zorander New Member


    What is the difference?

    Also what is your take on the other options here. ... rthday.htm
    Especially the last one based on current birthday greetings in romance languages. "Te faustus omnibus prosequor" (using the Italian 'Ti faccio gli auguri')
  12. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Águas Santas

    I wonder if these formulae have ever been attested by classical authors.
  13. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    For 'what's up?': Quid est rei? or Quid agitur?
  14. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Águas Santas
    :? Quid accidit? must have another meaning...
  15. Chamaeleo New Member

    When answering questions like this, it is vitally important to distinguish between Classical Latin and Neo-Latin. The former is real, and the latter can be summed up as “made-up shit”, if you pardon my vulgarity.

    I don't actually believe that it is possible to accurately answer the question asked. It requested a separation into formal and informal usage, but all the information we have is necessarily skewed towards formal language, because we have writings only — no audio recordings.
  16. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Águas Santas
    Chamaeleo, are you talking about this question? Do you mean that the second sentence is artificial?
  17. Chamaeleo New Member

    I wasn't picking up on any phrase in particular. I've not done the research to be able to say whether those two expressions are attested or not. I just get the feeling that the above lists mix up attested and made-up expressions — the birthday stuff seems dubious to me, for example.

    I'm not totally against Neo-Latin, but I believe that one should be careful with it.

    Edit: added the word “not”.
  18. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Águas Santas
    That's how I feel, too (with respect to both the Neo-Latin and the examples above). One should at least use respectable sources, e.g. Erasmus' Colloquia as for the greetings.
  19. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Well then I wonder what can be said regarding this, using Neo-Latin and also Traupman's publication Conversational Latin, which is full of 'everyday' Latin expressions and has a huge chapter devoted to sundry colloquialisms, obviously made up by him? Anyone has a copy of that in order to make a comment? I guess if people are serious enough to actually speak, they can't do without 'spoken' and 'colloquial' matter; I think it's only logical! Do English speakers speak correct, grammar-observing book-English in complete sentences? Far from it.
  20. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Águas Santas
    I think that essentially we’re discussing Latin idioms. It’s obvious that such formulae as “Good morning” are idiomatic by their nature. It may happen that “good morning” is not used as a greeting in a particular language, so for example in French (where one would use “bonjour”) and as far as I remember in Polish. This is also the case with Latin. And I don’t think that anyone has the right to introduce this idiom in Latin.

    As for other expressions, some of them are certainly amateurish. For example “valde bene” instead of “optime” sounds to me quite innatural (though I dare not judge it). I would accept what is suggested by Erasmus or at least by Traupman, but I would never suggest my own expressions for common use.

    I agree that logic enables us to express ourselves in Latin, but I don’t think we may contribute to Latin idioms.

    On the other hand I think that it’s quite safe to make use of good Latin phrases if they are suggested by an authoritative latinist. By the way, they needn’t have been invented recently. In the Copious… lexicon there are thousands of phrases belonging to classical authors. There are other books, e.g. A Dictionary of Latin Phrases that can be found at google books.

    In short, I think that when learning Latin one should behave very humbly until he achieves a great level. :D

    By the way, I can ask the administrator of linguaeterna about the sources of the phrase-book. But he may not know it if it was compiled by the site originator (who is dead).

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