Friday, October 25, 2019

They know Latin! Run Away; They Know Latin!

[Originally posted at my Patreon over a year ago.]
[Things worth knowing:
-- Sunset (unicorn in human form) has seen her entire high school turn on her.
-- Sunny is a character from her homeland who is her one supporter.
-- Magic can be accessed via music.]
- ~ ´  * ⁂ * `  ~ -
If the fluently obscene and incisively profane Latin echoing through the hallways were any indication, something had gone very badly with Sunny and it hadn't finished yet.  Just before Sunset turned what she was reasonably confident was the last corner, the Latin abruptly stopped.
Sunset was worried that something had happened to Sunny, but when she did round the corner she saw several students, all uninjured, being restrained by teachers and other staff.  Sunny Skies herself was being held against a wall of lockers, glaring at the other restrained students with a disturbingly cold stare.
Sunset briefly wondered if Sunny were capable, emotionally, of killing someone, but shook the thought from her head.  Right now Sunny, her only friend, was in need of a friend herself. Sunset's pace had slowed because she was now surrounded by teachers in an area that was under the highest level of supervision the school staff ever managed.
Sunny's right arm caught Sunset's attention.  Sunny was, for lack of a better word, slapping her hand against the lockers behind her.  It wasn't particularly hard or loud, but it was unusual and definitely not a tic Sunny had displayed before.
It was almost as if Sunny were trying to tap out in some combat sport, but didn't realize you had to do it in a way that the other person would actually notice, for example tapping them instead of the wall behind you.
There was something strange about it though.  Some sort of pattern or--
It was music.
The teachers were forgotten as Sunset sprinted to reach Sunny.  Sunset had no idea what kind of magic an angry Pegasus in human form might use, but she was pretty sure Sunny wasn't trying to pony up, something she'd previously shown only abstract academic interest in, just to take a flight around the campus.
If she succeeded in summoning magic things could get very bad very fast.
When Sunset reached Sunny she said, "Stand down," because she wasn't in the right frame of mind to think of anything more interesting or clever than that.
Sunny responded with an angry, "Istae verpae et te calumniantur, et--"
"Maledicant," Sunset said with the kind of calm that one could only show if they were faking it and well practiced in doing so.  The word itself should have been able to go unspoken.  Of course let them say what they would, after all, it wasn't like anything good came from trying to stop the hateful, hurtful, and infuriating words others spewed about her.  Regardless, Sunset attempted to continue on, "Simpliciter--"
Sunny was unconvinced. Sunset didn't have words to describe the degree to which Sunny was unconvinced.  Her right hand sped its rhythm, taping faster and louder on the locker, and she snarled, "Istam merdam paedica!"
That . . . was physically impossible.  And not just because the merda was figurative.  Still, in situations like these connotations were often more important than denotations and Sunset let it pass without comment.
Instead she stepped closer to Sunny, gently took Sunny's right arm in her left hand (to stop her from trying to pony up) and looked Sunny in the eyes before speaking again.
The teacher restraining Sunny, for his part, seemed entirely content to ignore all of this and relegate his attention and effort only to making sure Sunny didn't bolt.  Since Sunset was now blocking the most viable escape route, he barely seemed to notice what was going on.  He had a hand on Sunny's left shoulder, lightly pinning her to the locker, but that was the extend of his involvement.
Sunset was clearly on her own here.
"Defervesce," Calm down, "quia tu libebit," because it will be pleasing to me.
Sunny tried to shout, "Sed-!-"
"Non!" Sunset said unintentionally loudly.  It was just short of a shout and not the sort of thing Ideally suited for communicating with someone when one was practically nose to nose with. She took a moment, calmed herself, and lowered her volume.  "Noli dicire 'sed'," Don't say 'But'.  "Nolo ex tu succensere," I don't want your rage.
Sunny wasn't ready to give up, but she also wasn't struggling or trying to tap some other part of her body in time to a beat that might let her sprout wings.
Sunset caressed Sunny's cheek, there'd be Hell to pay with the rumor mill, but the important thing was that Sunny wouldn't misinterpret the gesture as amorous, so using physical displays of affection to calm Sunny was definitely on the table.
"Noli incipere operare qua vindice meo me nolente," Sunset said, Don't be my champion/savior/defender without my consent, white knighting helped no one, after all. "Nolo illud,"  I don't want this, Sunset said, using the hand she'd touched Sunny's cheek with to gesture to the teachers finally getting students calmed down and breaking up the gawkers. "Ego nolo illud," she said, I don't want this.
She caressed Sunny's cheek again.  All else aside, it was nice to have an Equestrian around just for the physical contact.  Humans seemed to think it needed to be reserved for romance and sex.  "Ne volo illud," she said one last time. I do not want this.
"Esse mihi amicam, carissimam, volo," Sunset said: I want my dearest friend with me.
Sunny let out a long breath, then visibly calmed.  "Mea culpa," she said: My bad.  "Hanc rem me paenitet, " I regret this matter.  "Mihine ignosces?," Will you forgive me?
"Ita vero," Sunset said, yes/of course, "sed rei similī aliquem iterum nefacies," but you will never do anything like this again.  True, she had no idea what had happened before she turned the corner, and she didn't have a way to gauge the potential damage that might be caused by unleashing Equestrian magic under these circumstances, but the situation was, both in broad strokes and in specific details, unacceptable.
"Iustum est," That's fair, Sunny said.
"Coercitora adveniēns, . ." Sunny said, it wasn't even close to a complete sentence.  Still, a gesture indicated that Sunset should turn, and when she did she saw Vice Principal Luna.  Thus the words make sense.
"Do you have any idea how much trouble you're in?" Luna asked Sunny.
Sunny said, "Εν νω εχω--"
And Sunset decided to end that little trip to another language right then and there.  "Nescis. Non informationem habes."
Sunny was from another world that ran on the literal magics of Harmony and Friendship, with occasional assists from other happy cheery abstract concepts like Love and the like.
Nothing there could possibly have prepared Sunny for high school punishments.
"Before I descend into the dark recesses of my psyche to determine whether I want to maintain my record of professionalism or simply give up and scream profanity at my students, I do have a question for both of you," Luna said.
Sunset said, "Sagitta," at the same time Sunny said, "Τοξευου."
"You two are aware that we have a Classics Club, right?" Luna asked.  "You know: a place where your mastery of the three great languages --Greek, Latin, and profanity-- would be met with praise and adulation."
Sunset shrugged, Sunny, for her part, seemed mildly interested.
"Miss Skies, please go to my office," Luna said to Sunny.  Sunny started walking, and --when she'd made it a fair distance away-- Luna said, "Thank you for what you did today," to Sunset.
Sunset shrugged again. "I just talked."
"You took a fellow student from a state of poly-lingual bloodlust to a safe and normal place," Luna said.  "That's not nothing."
Sunset decided not to note that Sunny only became poly-lingual again after the bloodlust had passed. Instead she shared something else that was on her mind:
"It's not much, either," she said.
"Given that the school seems to be coming apart," Luna said.  "I'll take what I can get."
After a pause Luna said, "I'll need to go talk to Miss Skies now, I'd like you to be there to . . . take her off my hands when the meeting is finished."
"Produc, magistra," Sunset said; "produc."
Lead on, teacher; lead on.
- ~ ´  * ⁂ * `  ~ -
As it often the case, this is part of a larger story.  As is often the case, it's the only part of that story that's actually written.
The Equestria Girls Holiday Special makes a point of completely isolating Sunset when it comes to in-person friends and allies.  (Magical pen pals are exempt.)  That means that one of the major questions raised by it is "What if just one person had been there (physically been there) for Sunset?"  The answer depends a great deal on who that person is.
Moving on to other notes . . .
Sunny is asexual aromantic, Sunset knows, and Sunny knows that Sunset knows, so there's no risk of "I'm trying to comfort you, my friend, using physical contact" being misinterpreted as, "I'm coming onto you."
They're from the species that invented nuzzling so physical contact is a big deal socially.
Sunny's spent her entire life biting back on her anger because of propriety, decorum, and political concerns.
It suddenly hit her that, since she was in another world where no one knows her ("Sunny Skies" is a pseudonym; only a handful of people know that she's only human temporarily and a once and future pony by birth and choice) she could, for once in her life, let loose with what she really thought and tell people who hurt those she cares about exactly what she thinks of them.
It didn't take long before she surrendered all control to letting the pent up anger, rage, and frustration flow outward.  There wasn't actually a physical altercation between students (teachers did have to hold students back to keep it that way), but if the teachers had been about 30 seconds slower to show up there would have been violence because the posturing stage had ended.
I didn't do a sufficient job of showing that, while Sunny calmed over the course of the Latin, she was still ready to restart the fray right until Sunset's last, "I don't want this," and accompanying "I want" statement.
Sunny has a lot of bottled up negative emotions and they've just tasted freedom for the first time in forever.  She's volatile at the moment.
- ~ ´  * ⁂ * `  ~ -
"Istae verpae et te calumniantur, et--"
Those dicks are both slandering you and--
"Maledicant, simpliciter--"
Let them speak ill, just--
Let them evil-speak, just--
"Istam merdam paedica!"
Fuck that shit! (in the butt)
Why "butt-fuck"?
The Latin for "fuck, in general" was profane but not particularly derogatory.  Instead the Romans had a thing about penetration.  (So too did the ancient Greeks we have records of) and so the options for getting "Fuck that shit! to have the right connotations are:
a) (butt-)fuck that shit! Or
b) Give head to that shit!
b) Get head from that shit!
I feel that the second loses something in translation.
The original thing was way off.  The Romans and the ancient Greeks whose attitudes we know about had a thing about the ways cis dudes could be sexually penetrated.  Short version: "penetrating = good, being penetrated = bad."  As such "Give head to that shit" would only ever be used to render the English "Get fucked by that shit" which is absolutely nothing like the intended meaning of "Fuck that shit."
Calm down/ Simmer down / Stop boiling over
"quia tu libebit,"
because it will please me.
Sunset is in to/for mode and mentally changed the aspect to make that work better, hence her rendering it as "because it will be pleasing to me."
"Sed -!-"
But -!-
Add the "exclamation cut off" hyphen to the punctuation marks we need alongside the the exclamation comma, the question versions of both, the trailing off question ( . ? . ) and the reverse comma (which would end the ambiguities that are allegedly the cause of the Oxford Comma Wars.)
Noli dicire 'sed',
No "but",
Literally: Do not wish to say 'But'.
Nolo ex tu succensere
I don't want [flames on the side of your face anger] from you
"Noli incipere operare qua vindice meo me nolente,"
Don't start to work as my defender when I don't want that.
Don't go bein' my white knight when I want it not.
Don't be become a champion of mine without my consent.
"Nolo illud,"
I don't want this
"Ego nolo illud,"
I don't want this.
Directly stating the "I" is emphatic because it is implied by the verb conjugation and thus usually left out.
"Ne volo illud,"
I do not want this.
Nolo is what happened to "ne volo" when it was allowed to grow and change for centuries.  To separate them out again is to go full on archaic (possibly breaking the rules and bylaws of grammar) for the purpose of emphasis.
"Esse mihi amicam, carissimam, volo,"
I want my dearest friend with me.
Literally: I want my friend, most dear, to be for me.
Someone once said that you don't translate Latin into English, you translate Latin into English-Latin.  (Or maybe Latin-English.  The point is, not English-English.)  I bring that up because "to be for me" is most definitely not English-English.
It's a weird statement anyway, mind you.  "I want you to verb for me," isn't that strange, but when the verb in question is "to be" the weirdness kicks in, pretty much regardless of how you end up phrasing it.
The idea is that what she wants Sunny to do for her is nothing more (or less) than exist.  Angry shouting matches are not something she wants Sunny to do for her.  Where the "with" from the English translation comes from is that if Sunny is existing for Sunset, she'll naturally (Sunset thinks) be doing it around Sunset (be it physically or some other measure of proximity) and thus with Sunset.
"Mea culpa,"
My bad.
"Huius rei me paenitet,"
I regret this matter.
Literally: It causes me to repent of this thing.
(No, the "it" doesn't stand for anything.  impersonal verbs are like that.)
"Mihine ignosces?"
Will you forgive me?
Literally: To me --this is a "yes" or "no" question by the way-- will you give forgiveness?
"Ita vero,"
of course/yes verily/yuparoonie
Literally: So true.
Originally I planned to have "yuparoonie" as a translation in the story proper.
Some people might be interested to know that Latin doesn't have a word for "yes".  Instead they used "ita vero" which, as I noted, literally translates to "so true".  So, from now on, whenever people talk about how this or that language doesn't have word for "no", you can contribute the knowledge "Latin didn't have a word for 'yes'."  (Please exercise discretion when determining whether or not you should make that contribution.)
"sed rei similī aliquem iterum nefacies."
but you will never do anything like this again.
"Iustum est,"
That's fair,
Literally: Fairness is.
"Coercitora adveniēns, . ."
Enforcer arriving, . . 
This is known as an ablative absolute.  In English we use nominative for our absolutes.  Absolutes are free from entanglement and exist in themselves, they're grammatically disconnected from the rest of the sentence forcing you to figure out (usually from context) how they fit.
English absolutes include things like the "Arms akimbo" in "Arms akimbo, they came stalking down the stairs."  You can figure out what that means ("With [their] arms akimbo, they came stalking down the stairs")  but from a grammatical and structural standpoint it's disconnected.
Before we get to other things, I just looked up the definition of akimbo and had to change how they came down the stairs.  Why does it mean "flung about haphazardly" with anything other than the arms, but "in a specific reserved, haughty, and judgmental stance" when discussing the arms?  This is sub-optimal.
I was playing fast and loose with punctuation when I wrote that.  That phrase should end with a comma, but since the rest of the sentence wasn't there I made up a modified ellipsis starting with a comma instead of the first period. 
"Εν νω εχω--"
I have in mind.
This is idiom significant to me because it's one of the few non-English things I will spontaneously think.  As such it's basically the one part of learning Latin and ancient Greek that was an unambiguous success.
There were, however, a lot of things surrounding the learning that I would not trade for anything.  Almost a decade of my life would have been lost in a black hole of depression without the support I got from the embattled (and eventually defeated) USM Classics Program.
I don't think it's likely to happen, but if Jeannine showed up at my door saying, "I need your help, we'll probably die, we have to go now," I think that I probably would get involved in that thriller and/or action movie.  I'd have questions, of course, but they could be asked on the way.
(Not that I have anything against Peter, I just feel like if someone comes knocking at my door needing help in some kind of life or death battle between good and evil, Jeannine is the more likely candidate.)
"Nescis. Non informationem habes."
You don't know.  You have no idea.
Shoot (with an arrow), in Latin
Shoot (with an arrow), in Greek
"Produc, magistra; produc."
Lead forth, teacher; lead forth.
"Produc" is one of those weird words.  It's supposed to be "produce" (pro-du-kay), and we all know it's supposed to be "produce", and the Romans knew it too, but "produc" is an option too for some reason.  Likewise true if you chop the "pro" off.
- ~ ´  * ⁂ * `  ~ -
Normally when I think of angry Latin conversations I think of Jacob and Shin from Life After and the arguments they have in my head of which, I'm pretty sure, none have been written.

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