Short Note: Discworld, Jingo

The promised Harry Potter review will appear as soon as I've had time to do it, but in the meantime, here's a quick note on one of Terry Pratchett's many, many uses of Latin (or 'Latatian' on the Discworld).

In Jingo, a prince from Klatch is presented with an honorary degree by Unseen University, which is named as Doctorum Adamus cum Flabello Dulci. This, we are told means 'Doctor of Sweet Fanny Adams'. (Note to non-Brits: this is a rather rude way of saying 'nothing at all').

Unfortunately, Doctorum Adamus cum Flabello Dulci actually means 'Adam of Doctors with Fanny Sweet'. It should have said Doctor (Docturus if you want to sound more Latin without actually using Latin) Adami Flabelli Dulcis. And flabellum actually means a small fan (as opposed to the English slang meaning, which is more X-rated).

However, the idea of this being a name for honorary degrees does have a certain appeal to those of us who've slogged our way through writing a thesis!

My camel, which I rode for an hour or so, from my holiday to Tunisia last year. Because, er, there are some camels in Jingo. And I just really like this picture!


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  2. Shouldn't it rather be "Doctor Adami..." then, which is the nominative sing. in Latin?
    Anyway, thanks for the explanation from a non-Brit. =)

  3. Yes, that's true, it should, though since it's not technically Latin, 'docturus' actually sounds more like Latin than the real Latin!

  4. As someone only just recently starting through the many books of Discworld, and having just come across this, finding out what the HELL this meant is quite helpful. many thanks. :)

  5. This is sort of a meta running joke that Terry has throughout the series; he apologises for the 'Dog Latin' throughout the series at some point, because he knows that there are scientists and people that actually know Latin who have read his books. Dog Latin is a debased form of Latin used in phrases or jargon for humorous effect, or occasionally, because the translator doesn't know any better.

    Hope this isn't coming off as condescending, I'm just assuming you didn't know this because you didn't mention it.


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