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In response to comment by [deleted] on REQ: Latin translation for HPMOR
Comment author: JoshuaZ 22 August 2011 03:12:18PM *  5 points [-]

quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur?

Nitpick: "quidquid" meaning whatever is one word not two words. While ancient Latin didn't have spacing between words, we can see that in this sort of context it was intended as a single word because Latin allows a lot of word order rearrangement and "quidquid" didn't get split up (as I understand that). "Quid" means "what" but "quidquid" means "whatever" or "anything".

And there's a disclaimer necessary here that I haven't taken Latin in a decade so I could be wrong but I don't think I am.

Comment author: Cerberus 03 September 2011 02:22:19PM 1 point [-]

I think I agree that quidquid cannot normally be split up; but is that reason enough to say it must be one word? The particle -que cannot normally be split up either, but it is split up occasionally in poetry, if I remember correctly. I think what constitutes a word and what doesn't is ultimately an unreclaimable quagmire, though in this case I'd certainly prefer quidquid over quid quid too.

Comment author: NihilCredo 25 August 2011 08:33:23PM *  4 points [-]

I would be tempted to go with just "Nullus soter soteri", a more poetic construction that in English would be closer to "no saviour for the saviour", leaving verb 'est / there is' as implicit. This would also line up nicely with the following lines.

edit: also "salvator" seems a better match to the "rescuer" meaning of "saviour" than "soter".

Comment author: Cerberus 03 September 2011 02:14:32PM 1 point [-]

I vote for salvator, though I am not an expert in Mediaeval Latin. In classical Latin, at least, the Greek would be tacky. Both words sound rather Christian, but soter even more so than salvator.

I think modo is an improvement over solum.

Nihilitas sounds much weaker than nihil: I'd prefer the latter. We shouldn't think English: the -ness part doesn't need to be carried over. Then again, it is possible that nihilitas was a favourite word of 13th-century literature.

Comment author: Spurlock 18 July 2011 05:11:48PM 2 points [-]

Yes, but while this works in principle, there are a number of ways in which this process can fail in humans. Suffice to say, it takes a lot of knowledge and practice to be able to do this in a trustworthy way, and we don't have any real data showing that even veteran "rationalists" actually do this more effectively.

Comment author: Cerberus 19 July 2011 12:20:49AM 0 points [-]

Oh, it is certainly not a real solution—I doubt whether there is any. But it helps to some degree, in many cases.

Comment author: Cerberus 17 July 2011 11:46:15AM *  1 point [-]

The classical way to deal with this problem is critical thinking: whenever you seem to arrive at a certain conclusion, do your utmost to defend the opposite conclusion (or some other proposition entirely). If this is at all possible, you must admit that you simply do not know the answer (yet).