A.D. Godley's Motor Bus

Decimus Canus

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
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
:D

Decimus Canus dixit:
Yes, the smell and hideous hum
Indicat Motorem Bum!
Could such pronunciation really be the standard? :shifty:
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Decimus Canus dixit:
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.
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.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
This is off-topic, but...

Imber Ranae dixit:
The pseudo-Latin in the poem is supposed to be pronounced as in English because the poem is in English.
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.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
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).
 

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.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
Also, I was dismayed to see someone named "Meus Domus", but I digress.
:hysteric:
Nikolaos dixit:
I seem to have completely lost my ability to pronounce Latin words, or anything that resembles a Latin word, as if it were English.
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]. :)
 

Portia

New Member
Nikolaos dixit:
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.
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
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
Nikolaos dixit:
Also, I was dismayed to see someone named "Meus Domus", but I digress.
Is this the gender mismatch we are laughing at or am I missing something else? :shifty:
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Akela dixit:
Nikolaos dixit:
Also, I was dismayed to see someone named "Meus Domus", but I digress.
Is this the gender mismatch we are laughing at or am I missing something else? :shifty:
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.
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
Quasus dixit:
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.
Neither can I :hysteric:
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Quasus dixit:
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).
So his argument, if we boil it down, is essentially: It's difficult so why bother?
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Bennett dixit:
It is safe to say that only those who have devoted long and patient attention to the subject, and who practice frequent oral reading, can pronounce Latin with accuracy according to the Roman method.
...
...
...

Isn't that how you are supposed to study a language?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
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).
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

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