felix dies Nativitatis

Lysandra

Canis
Salve!
Is this the proper translation of 'Merry Christmas'?
felix dies Nativitatis
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Salve!

This is the kind of thing for which we don't really have any evidence in authentic Latin, so we're left guessing somewhat.

I've usually seen (in modern use, that is) this sort of expression in the accusative, because vobis/tibi opto, "I wish you..." is implied. So felicem Nativitatis diem (vobis/tibi opto) or why not even more simply felicem Nativitatem (vobis/tibi opto).

Now I suppose one could still defend the nominative by saying they're implying tibi/vobis sit...

Edit: Actually, I wonder how it is in modern inflected languages. How is it in Czech, for example, Godmy ? Or in Russian, Quasus ? Do you express "Merry Christmas" or "Happy birthday" as nouns in the accusative? :)
 

Imperfacundus

Reprobatissimus
in russian, something similar to the 'accusative' version is possible.
it involves the genitive, because this particular verb requires it, but the construction is the same... «[jelayu vam] schastlivogo rojdestva» -- "[I wish you] a happy nativity."

The other way of saying it translates as "with the nativity!" -- «s rojdestvom!»
I've always wondered about that... I figure "be" is implied.
---

Meanwhile, Georgian doesn't seem to ever leave out the verb, but rather often the noun. No, I don't know why :D
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
Actually, I wonder how it is in modern inflected languages.
In these cases there appear plurals which often have the same form in nom. and acc. pl., but judging by the 'feeling', it is obvious an accusative is meant in Czech always.
The same applies to German. It's Frohe or Fröhliche Weihnachten, accusative as can be seen from herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag. Or Guten Morgen, for that matter.

In Polish it's in the genitive, because Poles love the genitive, and the fact that the understood verb życzyć takes that case gives them the opportunity to pile them on: Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
Russians are used to borrowing things from Ukraine. As when 'borrow' is used in linguistics, this tends to mean that they have no intention of giving them back if they can help it.
 
The same applies to German. It's Frohe or Fröhliche Weihnachten, accusative as can be seen from herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag. Or Guten Morgen, for that matter.
And the implied verb is wünschen, or so it feels to me, i.e. "(I wish you) merry Christmas / cordial luck-wishes to your birthday / a good morning / ...".
 
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