I think you are my new hero.

By Maz, in 'English to Latin Translation', Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Maz New Member

    I think you are my new hero.

    Will be used for a tattoo. It was the first ever sentence said to me by my now partner and it led to a most amazing relationship. We want to mark my 50th birthday with a discreet tattoo of that exact line on myself. I am male, my partner is female.


    With thanks.
  2. syntaxianus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I propose

    tu mihi videris meum exemplar novum

    You seem to me (= I think you [to be]) my new hero (lit. standard to imitate).
  3. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    This isn't wrong per se, but exemplar means more like "model" (like someone whose behaviour you seek to copy).

    If you want more like "hero" in the Classical sense (like someone who accomplishes amazing things), then use tu mihi videris meus heros novus.
  4. syntaxianus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes indeed. If at a first meeting this is said, is it more likely that you mean "you are my new champion (vindex) or hero (heros) or defender (defensor) or leader (dux)" or that you mean "I admire you and want to be like you, to imitate you and copy your virtues"? I thought it must have been the latter option.
  5. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Depends how they met. Maybe he caught her as she was falling or something. ;)
    syntaxianus likes this.
  6. Maz New Member

    I said some harsh truths to people who she also felt needed to hear them, but alas she felt unable to say them herself.

    I’ve done the catching her from falling since that day, in a sense.
    Last edited by Maz, Jan 5, 2019
  7. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Then I think heros would be the more appropriate word, unless she meant that aspired to learn to say the hard truths herself, and you were her model in this, as it were.
  8. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    Hard to say, it's tempting, but then... it's a Greek word. This phrase sounds like something quotidian and natural every Roman no matter the education and social stratum could say (ergo presumably using ordinary Latin only). Maybe exemplar is good...
  9. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada

    A dangerous road to go down, trying to excise Graecisms from Latin, much like the Académie française, and probably just about as ultimately successful ;) :p
  10. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    But there is a strong evidence that l'Académie goes against the popular usage, which is exactly the case I'm making against this word, exactly in that spirit, not the other way around. It's the usual thing translators to Latin do: no idea what word to choose, let's call up a [look-alike] graecism... don't take it personally, but it's a lazy practice :p

    I don't say this word wouldn't work (I haven't done the research), but have you given it a thought before suggesting it lightly? I mean, do you think Romans talked like that? I know we emulate only classical Latin, not everyday popular Latin, but I'm making the case that even Cicero, when talking to his... great great great uncle (I have no idea existed) would use some natural Roman phrase instead of this [rather obvious hybrid].
    Last edited by Godmy, Jan 5, 2019
  11. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    I think if there was some "natural Latin phrase" for this concept, we'd know about it. As it is, we don't seem to have a single Latin-derived word that really means the equivalent of heros. Probably the Romans, if they wanted to convey that concept, would have said vir fortissimus or vir summa virtute or such.
  12. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    One could also make the argument that when we hear the word "hero", we tend to think of a superhero in a comic book or a movie, and that the closest equivalent for the Romans by far would be the heros in Greek epic.
  13. syntaxianus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Would even the ancient Greeks ever say "You are my new heros" in the sense intended here? I'm leaning toward vindex, since it is not an issue of an all-around exemplar, but rather one of a person bravely stepping in and defending something dear to the other party.
  14. Iáson Cívis Illústris

    • Civis Illustris
    I agree for the most part with Syntaxianus. English 'hero' has the associations of a particularly morally upright individual who saves other people from harm. Latin hērōs derives from ἥρως, which in Greek means a demigod, mythical warrior, or the deified dead (the three being roughly equivalent). In most cases (according to L&S) it preserves this sense.

    On the other hand, Cicero does sometimes use it of illustrious people of the present and past (L&S II). However, there are several problems with assuming that this makes it appropriate: (a) this is not attested for other authors; (b) this is presumably a metaphorical extension that may always be marked in speech (ie. ironic, or cultured reference) (c) the sense is still not equivalent to the English: the point at question seems to be these figures' glory, fame, or virtue rather than because they save other people.

    So Syntaxianus' vindex or dēfēnsor seem sensible.
    Godmy likes this.
  15. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    Thanks all for the discussion! As I said before (and it still applies), unlike Iáson or perhaps syntaxianus, I haven't really done my "homework"/the research concerning either the phrase or the usage of the word hērōs itself which I presumed would have rather the meaning [only] that Iáson mentioned.

    When I talked about "quotidian and natural phrase every Roman would use" I didn't mean exactly with those words, it could have been any phrase using any words, nouns, verbs, adjectives... but however with the same meaning. Translators and lexicologists (and legixocraphers) never really care as much about the meanings of individual words, but meanings and sentiments of arbitrary long units (which can however be as short as one word) = that is: it's never about translating words, but about translating thoughts so they sound natural in the target language. So I merely suggested there might be a phrase we don't know about (because we haven't done the research that could take up a long time and perhaps yield some results) which expresses exactly the same thought, no matter the wording and no matter the superficial (dis)similarity to the English phrase & in that spirit I doubted the Greek word would save it - that always feels to me as a too easy way out.

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