Magazine article Word Ways

Poetry in Latinglish

Magazine article Word Ways

Poetry in Latinglish

Article excerpt

Remember back in Latin class when you had to recite the four principal parts of a Latin verb? Now, for the regular verbs, the pattern was easy enough to grasp and remember: am[intersection] am~re, amav [club], am~tum. All the regular verbs had a stem, and the suffixes you appended to them were predictable: [intersection], -are, -av [club], -~tum. However, do you also recall that for some irregular verbs the forms were highly irregular and unpredictable? You found yourself laboriously memorizing such oddities as sum, esse, fu [club], futurum and fer [intersection], ferre, tul [club], latum.

Well, bearing that in mind, one can create Latinglish poetry. The rules are simple. Each line contains four and only words which must end in -[intersection], -ere, -[club], and -um. When it is read aloud, according to the rules of Latin pronunciation, it must sound like English being Latinized, and actually convey meaning in a form of terse, telegraphic speech. The stems of first two words used may be identical or different.

As a first example, here is a familiar poem in Latinglish. On the left it is written as Latin would be. On the right side it is transcribed into a more readable English orthography. Some notes about the liberties I had to take with Latin pronunciation to make American English sounds:

 prevocalic v has a w sound, as in "way" prevocalic I
has a y sound as in "yes" prevocalic ci has a sh sound as in
"shop" a followed by a doubled consonant has the short u sound
as in "tub." o followed by a doubled consonant has the aw
sound as in "law" ai is used for the long I sound as in
"high" ae is used for the short a sound as in "hat"
 Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Tuincl [intersection] tuinclere tain [club] starrum, Vanndr
[intersection]  vanndere uatiu. … 
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