Obviously, it's a trap. It's not a trap. It's a scam.

Kevin Killiany

New Member
Context, so the question makes sense:
Rise from Dirt, third novel in my young adult science fiction series, Dirt and Stars, is about to go to copyedit.
Set in an alternate history, where the Civil Rights Movement didn't start until after the all-white Space Service had colonized the moon and Mars, the series follows young people of different races and circumstances navigating the social upheaval.
It was established in book 2, Life on Dirt, that it amuses Mrs. Abreu, a retired attorney, to throw Latin phrases at Jael, a 16-year-old black girl who took Latin for two years and is now challenging the Space Service for admission to their academy. I've recently discovered that the person who volunteered as my Latin resource for several conversations in that novel does not in fact know Latin. He was just feeding the phrases I gave him into some sort of automated academic Latin translator.
So I've already perpetrated unwitting crimes against Latin.
I found a friend of a friend, a classics instructor, who does know Latin. I showed him this one (and only) bit of Latin in Rise from Dirt and asked for his help. He kept it for a week, then returned it untouched with a note advising me to "look to Plautus and Terence for insights on Latin colloquialisms."

Here's the conversation:
“You’re going to apply to Space Service Boot Camp,” Mrs. Abreu said ...
“No.”
She looked at me sharply. “Why not?”
[Obviously, it’s a trap],” I answered in Latin. ....
[It’s not a trap],” she snapped. “[It’s a scam].”
“What do you mean it’s a scam?”
[Obviously],” she echoed, “they have deliberately refrained from any racial screening in order to attract as many non-white applicants as possible.”
“Like I said, [a trap]...”
She pivoted her chair away from the work table and motored over ...
“They don’t want to capture you. What would they do with you? ... Think.”
I thought.
[It’s a scam]” I conceded a minute later.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I've recently discovered that the person who volunteered as my Latin resource for several conversations in that novel does not in fact know Latin. He was just feeding the phrases I gave him into some sort of automated academic Latin translator.
Oh my God.

Here's a possible version:

“You’re going to apply to Space Service Boot Camp,” Mrs. Abreu said ...
“No.”
She looked at me sharply. “Why not?”
Patet laqueum esse,” I answered in Latin. ....
Non laqueus est,” she snapped. “Fraus est.”
“What do you mean it’s a scam?”
Hoc patet,” she echoed, “they have deliberately refrained from any racial screening in order to attract as many non-white applicants as possible.”
“Like I said, laqueus...”
She pivoted her chair away from the work table and motored over ...
“They don’t want to capture you. What would they do with you? ... Think.”
I thought.
Fraus est” I conceded a minute later.

My first idea for "trap" was to use insidiae, but given the reference to "capturing" I thought maybe that wouldn't work so well. What do my colleagues think of laqueus?
 

Kevin Killiany

New Member
Here's a possible version:
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. (And I look forward to seeing what ideas others may have.)

And "Oh my God," indeed. I become paralyzed with horror when I think about what I may have said in Life on Dirt, in which there are several exchanges, because I trusted a charlatan. Fortunately very few people have read it -- I'm new to the young adult market -- and, since the characters both comment on how bad their Latin is, there's a chance readers will assume whatever gibberish they spout was intended as humor. One can hope.
 
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