That's Life

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by 888Author, May 2, 2013.

  1. 888Author Member

    English - UK
    When a person is experiencing a hardship, or a downturn on their luck, they would normally say something like - "That's Life", or "Such is Life." How do you say that in Latin?

    Thank you.
  2. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    One could say, quite literally, talis est vita humana, or talis est vita nostra.

    With slightly more extravagant literary finesse, why not quote Virgil?

    sunt lacrimae rerum, or mentem mortalia tangunt; or indeed quote the whole hexameter line from which these come:

    sunt lacrimae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt.

    But this might be considered a bit too grave for the contexts in which (in my experience) "That's life" is usually used in colloquial and idiomatic English. What is the level of tone that you are looking for?

  3. 888Author Member

    English - UK
    I hope the following illustration helps:

    A man is offering sympathy to an older friend (who is a philosophy professor) on the death of his wife. The professor is trying to sound upbeat as he responds. He says "Such is Life," or "That's Life" in Latin.
  4. ablativ Senior Member

    Sic transit vita nostra? (In the style of: Sic transit gloria mundi)
  5. 888Author Member

    English - UK
    I don't quite understand... is the translation - Sic transit vita nostra or Sic transit gloria mundi?
  6. ablativ Senior Member

    'sic transit vita nostra' is my attempt to translate "such is life" in the given context (death of someone's wife).

    'sic transit gloria mundi' is a historic and famous saying. I just took over the style of that saying in my translation. OK?
  7. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Greetings once more

    I now assume this is a fictitious context.

    The world-weary ανδ self-deprecatory Prof. would confine himself to "talis est vita".

  8. 888Author Member

    English - UK
    Hi there,
    Thank you for responding again. Yes, the context is fictitious. Is "talis est vita" the most direct translation for 'such is life?' I'd also gotten another term "Sic Vivitur" by someone else. Is that also another way of saying 'such in life?' Thanks again...
  9. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Greetings once again.

    sic vivitur is indeed idiomatic Latin. But in the context of a recent bereavement, this would have to be hugely sardonic on the part of the widowed professor, as it means, literally, "thus it is lived".

    Now if your character is generally given to cynical or sarcastic throwaway remarks, it could have fine point. But you must be the judge of that. My original impression was that you were looking for a phrase apt for a man more world-weary than bitter.

    In that case, talis est vita would have a faintly, but in the context perhaps not inappropriately, pathetic ring to it: he'd be mouthing almost ritualistically a fragment of language, without precise focus on what the words actually mean. This would make him credibly human and fallible.

  10. 888Author Member

    English - UK
    I am picturing an emotional individual... this person lost his wife six years ago and has a personal shrine set up in her memory in a small room in his house. Both characters are in this special room as the dialogue takes place. Is talis est vita still the correct phrase in this context?
  11. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Greetings once more.

    Thank you for the further contextual explanation.

    In that case, talis est vita [nostra] would betray a certain wry (and suitably 'professorial') melancholy, particularly as nostra would both generalise (to the mortal human condition) and personalise ('such is my / our life'], embracing in thought the idea that in some sense, his late wife still 'lives' with him.

  12. 888Author Member

    English - UK
    I thank you all for your kind assistance!!
  13. autrex2811

    autrex2811 Banned

    Toluca, México
    Español-castellano, son lo mismo
    Eso sí lo entiendo, que la gloria del mundo así se pasa.
  14. RaeChan Senior Member

    UK, British English
    'haec est rerum humanarum condicio' (such is the way of the world) or 'sic vita hominum est' (such is life)
    - from C. Meissner's Latin Phrasebook, which is pretty good.

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