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Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by fragilistic, May 2, 2007.

  1. fragilistic Junior Member

    USA, English
    I just started learning Latin six months ago, so I don't really know what this means: nolite te bastardes carborundorum. There is no context, it's from a book I'm reading, and the main character found it written on the wall of her room. I know the the first word is the plural imperative of nolo, nolle, nolui. The last word maybe is genitive. Anyway, I was wondering what this translated to. Does anyone know?
     
  2. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    "Carborundum," which should be the root of "Carborundorum" doesn't exist in Latin as far as I know. "Nolite" would be "Don't [plural)." "Te bastardes" would be "you bastard," in the vocative.

    The plural "nolite" can't modify "te," which is a singular, so the phrase by itself doesn't make sense.

    Don't [plural], "you bastard" (singular), of carborundum(s) [The Latin plural would be "-a" for neuter, but no matter here.]

    It doesn't make any sense.
     
  3. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    This should help you.

    The phrase is not correct Latin, so it doesn't make much sense to translate it. However, it is intended to mean "Don't let the bastards wear you down," carborundorum being an artificial gerund of carbon and corundum.
     
  4. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Tu bastarde (no s) would be you bastard in the vocative.

    Jazyk
     
  5. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA

    Good point.
     
  6. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Yes, but looking at the translation, that's not what was meant. Both "te" and "bastardes" are meant to be accusative objects being independent from each other.

    Don't let (Nolite) the bastards (bastardes) wear you (te) down.

    I'm not sure why the gerund was used. :confused: I don't see any need for it. "Nolite" is followed by an infinitive, as far as I know.
     
  7. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Oh, I just think we could pitch that sentence in the wastebasket. Anyway, if you want accusative, then it should be te bastardum/vos bastardos.

    Jazyk
     
  8. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I just realized I was a male chauvinist pig :rolleyes:. Here are the other possibilities for accusative:

    te bastardam/vos bastardas. I didn't incluse neuter because I don't think there's any logic in that, but if anyone feels excluded, I'll gladly edit my post. :D

    Jazyk
     
  9. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    If I understood the meaning of the sentence correctly, the writer intended to use two independent accusatives:

    te - accusative singular (Don't let the bastards you ...)
    bastardes - accusative plural (Don't let the bastards you ...)

    Anyway, this is going to be nonsense, because the sentence per se doesn't make any sense. ;)
     
  10. uninspireded New Member

    England
    It means "Don't let the bastards grind you down". The Handmaid's Tale, right? :)
     
  11. fragilistic Junior Member

    USA, English
    Yeah, it is from the Handmaid's Tale. It's an interesting book.
    Thanks everybody for the help!
     
  12. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    That's at least what it is supposed to mean. The words in Latin don't make much sense, though. ;)
     
  13. xkillthescenex New Member

    England
    I believe the novel you are reading is Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' as I myself am studying it.
    If you read on in the novel, Offred actually finds out what it means for you :]
    'Don't let the bastards grind you down'
    It does not translate directly from latin. As the Commander says :]
     
  14. laxchickie New Member

    American English
    it's probably confusing to translate because it is mack-latin
     
  15. Myrcenary New Member

    Louisville, KY
    English
    It's a quote from the book "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. The play on Latin words is kind of a sardonic bit. The commander goes into how it isn't correct Latin and how it's only funny if you actually know Latin. So the phrase is intended to be a play on "Don't let the bastards grind you down", but we're left with the feeling, (not knowing Latin), that there's a little more bawdiness to it in this form.

    Oops...sorry...I just repeated what xkillthescenex said, basically. Sorry for the redundancy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009

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