meme

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Is there a (semi-)established way to say "meme" in Latin, that you guys have seen in some use?

mĕme mĕmis? mēme? mĕmum mĕmī? mēmum? (all neuter)

EDIT: Someone has informed me they've seen mimēma mimēmatis (n.)...
 
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Laurentius

Civis Illustris
Whatever way anyone might come up with will no doubt sound horrible, better to avoid it completely, I'd rather use it as an indeclinable substantive I think.
 
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Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Based on that it should be mema, mematis.
I wonder how productive clipping actually was as a word formation process in Latin because I can't really think of any examples. If you know English, you will probably think that this process sounds so natural that it has to occur in every language, but it's far more productive in English than in other languages. For example, nobody would ever even think of calling a "telephone" a "phone" in German, where it's always "Telefon."
There are a few examples where German does this as well, but generally speaking, it's rather resilient to clipping and I would expect Latin to act the same way.

Then again, I'm not a great fan of Neo-Latin, anyway, and the conventions for coining neologisms are the main reason why I think it's stupid.
 

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
I agree that English is specially fond of clipping & of abbreviating generally. We so dislike our language that we try to reduce the sum total of syllables wherever possible.
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
I wonder how productive clipping actually was as a word formation process in Latin because I can't really think of any examples. If you know English, you will probably think that this process sounds so natural that it has to occur in every language, but it's far more productive in English than in other languages. For example, nobody would ever even think of calling a "telephone" a "phone" in German, where it's always "Telefon."
There are a few examples where German does this as well, but generally speaking, it's rather resilient to clipping and I would expect Latin to act the same way.

Then again, I'm not a great fan of Neo-Latin, anyway, and the conventions for coining neologisms are the main reason why I think it's stupid.
I agree but mimema sounds way too off, I absolutely hate it. That said if I remember well early Latin has indeed clipped some repetitions in some verbs and I am not sure how comparable it is but perhaps a little yes.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I agree but mimema sounds way too off, I absolutely hate it. That said if I remember well early Latin has indeed clipped some repetitions in some verbs and I am not sure how comparable it is but perhaps a little yes.
As I said, meme, n. indecl. would seem to be the most logical solution to me, but mimema, -tis n. could actually be more in line with what the conventions on neologisms are. @Godmy explained them to me once, but I forgot where it was.
 

Terry S.

Quaestor
Staff member
I agree that English is specially fond of clipping & of abbreviating generally. We so dislike our language that we try to reduce the sum total of syllables wherever possible.
Indeed. I've heard that the common herd in Scotland doesn't say Corona, but just 'rona.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Indeed. I've heard that the common herd in Scotland doesn't say Corona, but just 'rona.
I like how you attribute phenomena to the Scots that happen all around the Anglosphere :)
 

Terry S.

Quaestor
Staff member
Chummy? True. But the Scots don't like pronouncing English words properly whenever they can avoid it. I suppose they're making their own word out an English one.
 

Terry S.

Quaestor
Staff member
My favourite "Scotticisation" of a word is bureau in (the former) Bureau of Employment. That quickly became Burroo, and no matter how many times governments have changed the name of that agency The Burroo has always stuck. It has also given rise to the nickname Brian Burroo for any chap who has been unemployed for decades.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Then again, I'm not a great fan of Neo-Latin, anyway, and the conventions for coining neologisms are the main reason why I think it's stupid.
Whatever way anyone might come up with will no doubt sound horrible, better to avoid it completely, I'd rather use it as an indeclinable substantive I think.
... this might actually be the best choice.
So you find Neo-Latin stupid because people these days don't always use classical grammar to derive new words (e.g. interrēte, with inter- weirdly attached to a noun in order to calque English "Internet"), but then you'd also prefer using non-classical/ancient grammar with an indelinable "meme"? Even the Vulgate almost only uses indeclinables with proper names (filii Adam ~ filii Adae), rarely with a few human nouns (nolite vocari rabbi in Matthew 23:8 as a plural, besides singular vocative rabbi). I mean, I think it's fine if you hate Neo-Latin coinages and words with expanded meanings, and there's certainly no shortage of proper classicists who think that way too (not to mention Late Latin developments as well, like -tiō for abstract nouns, instead of mostly just action nouns; see the advice against the abstract -tiō in Bradley's Arnold...). I'm just asking how come you prefer indecl. meme over mimēma.

I wonder how productive clipping actually was as a word formation process in Latin because I can't really think of any examples.
I can't either. Clipping is just not very Latin (even Late Latin, or Medieval Latin...).

I'm often similarly amused by how much more common clippings are in French than in Spanish, with things like "cata" for "catastrophe", "abdo" for "abdominal" (singular of crunches, the exercise), "le foot" for "le football", and so on. I can't imagine Spanish speakers clipping "una abdominal" to "una abdó" (or "una abdo"). Even our use of "una foto", seemingly a clipped form of "fotografía", is apparently a borrowing of French "une photo" (just like how the other word is from "une photographie" 'a photo(graph)'). Or for that matter, clipping "el teléfono" to "el fono".

I'm reminded of how the Japanese are very fond of shortening compounds to the first one or two "morae" (~syllables) of each component. Like how "remote control" ended up as rimokon, and "air conditioner" as eikon (I know a minority of English speakers says "air-con", but I'm sure just about none says "remo-con", maybe only if they're weebs making fun of Japanese). Also snowboard(ing) > sunouboudo > sunobo, smartphone > sumaatohon > sumaho, American football > amefuto.

People clearly differ in whether they accept clipping in their languages and how they do it.

I agree but mimema sounds way too off, I absolutely hate it. That said if I remember well early Latin has indeed clipped some repetitions in some verbs and I am not sure how comparable it is but perhaps a little yes.
You might be thinking of tetulī ~ tulī and accucurrī ~ accurrī there. I agree they aren't really comparable, except for just a little.
 
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Laurentius

Civis Illustris
Mimema is just too convoluted and too high-register to describe something like a meme, if even feels stupid to use the English mimeme. "Oh look I made a mimeme"... lol. It just doesn't match well and on the contrary the English clipped word has a funny and simple phoneme which goes well with the actual thing. I get the argument about Latin not clipping words but either the indeclinable meme or mema, mematis sound 1000 times better and also I could say that Latin does not have a habit or importing foreign words by looking at their etymology and using the root form, am I wrong?
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Mimema is just too convoluted and too high-register to describe something like a meme, if even feels stupid to use the English mimeme. "Oh look I made a mimeme"... lol. It just doesn't match well and on the contrary the English clipped word has a funny and simple phoneme which goes well with the actual thing.
For what it's worth, it appears Richard Dawkins originally meant something much more serious by it, namely units of culture transmissible from person to person in a matter similar to viruses, as if cultural ideas were living organisms on their own right. He'd later use this sort of metaphor to describe religions, so that effectively, a few of them like Christianity and Islam have "evolved" through similar mechanisms as biological evolution, as the movements have continuously adapted down the centuries.

Regarding the topic at large, I think there's plenty of evidence that what matters is usage and the connotations words have socially, not so much their origin or shape, etc. For example, the use of the adverb "very" in English (from the Old French adjective verai 'truthful', from Latin *vēr-ācus < vērācem) must have sounded pretty disgusting to native English speakers at some point, not too differently from Quebec French or Mexican Spanish speakers today using the English word 'full' for the same meaning (ç'avait l'air full intéressant, parecía full interesante). To the extent mimēma gets accepted by Latin users, it will be a good word or not.

I get the argument about Latin not clipping words but either the indeclinable meme or mema, mematis sound 1000 times better and also I could say that Latin does not have a habit or importing foreign words by looking at their etymology and using the root form, am I wrong?
Hey, Bitmap is the one objecting to using clipping, not me. I happily use interrēte (and interrētiālis), and mēma would also be good "in my books" (using this idiom literally too).
 
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Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I'm just asking how come you prefer indecl. meme over mimēma.
I think I mainly agree with Laurentius here.

Mimema is just too convoluted and too high-register to describe something like a meme, if even feels stupid to use the English mimeme. "Oh look I made a mimeme"... lol. It just doesn't match well and on the contrary the English clipped word has a funny and simple phoneme which goes well with the actual thing. I get the argument about Latin not clipping words but either the indeclinable meme or mema, mematis sound 1000 times better and also I could say that Latin does not have a habit or importing foreign words by looking at their etymology and using the root form, am I wrong?
I think it's fine if you hate Neo-Latin coinages
I should also add that I don't hate new coinages per se. I just think the conventions for coining them are not particularly realistic in a fictional world where Latin is still a living language.

For example, if I applied those conventions to German, words like "Ori Gami" would become "Papierfaltung", or, if the German version is somehow insufficient, you would go for the English version and call it "paperfolding" (I'm equating the role English plays nowadays with what was Ancient Greek back then here). What you do instead is that you just call it "Origami."

Or, if you applied the conventional logic of coining Neo-Latin words to German, a "meme" would be something like an "Ebenbild" or a "Gleichnis". And if that's not good enough, you would go for the Greek word and call it "Mimema". What happens in reality is that the German word for "meme" is just "Meme" (or sometimes spelt 'mem' to mirror the fact that it's just 1 syllable).

This happens in all languages in at least similar ways. There's reason to assume that if Romans were confronted with the word "meme", their first thought wouldn't be to do an etymological analysis and use the Greek word ... nor would their first thought be to translate it and use a word of their own language (unless there's a really fitting one -- but given the cultural connotations around the word 'meme', I highly doubt that). They would either go for meme, n. indecl. or force the word into their own declension, making it mema, -tis n.

It's the same thing with a word like "pizza". I think it's called placenta by the standards of the Vatican, along with some adjective IIRC correctly. I find that rather stupid. The Latin word for "pizza" is pizza, -ae f. Possibly with some adjusted spelling, but that's it.
 
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