Sepe uorat gnarus canis id quod seruat auarus

Sup all?

It’s raining. The gardening is on hold although *big* plans are now afoot (for a relatively small garden).

I have been (among other things) an automation engineer (until I suddenly and recently wasn’t), and perhaps unsuprisingly given this nugget not only do I like languages, but I also like building and automating things.

One plan that I have is to automate my greenhouse. This ticks a lot of geek boxes for me – especially now I don’t do robots ‘n stuff anymore.

However, the greenhouse is currently used as a woodshed, necessitating that I build a new wood shed before I can decant the wood from the greenhouse into the new wood shed. Unfortunately, the obvious place for the woodshed contains a shed which has more or less collapsed and needs to …

You get the picture.

Big plans … I shall probably dedicate, a secret hidden section on Surface languages to this project.

But I digress, and so, my friends if you are now suitably relaxed and sitting comfortably, it is time to parse some Latin.

Or, attempt to parse some Latin.

I admit, that prima facie, or at first blush, I don’t know what …

Sepe uorat gnarus canis id quod seruat auarus

… means.

Normally I have an idea and play with parsing because it appeals to my inner geek, but this meaning might in fact elude me.

So let’s parse this sentence and see what’s occurring.

Sepe. OK. I’m initially assuming that it is a contraction of saepe meaning often.

gnarus, a, um (having knowledge of, knowing of, acquainted with a thing)

canis, is (dog) is a third declension noun.

Let us decline canis …

canis, canis, canem, canis, cani, cane

canes, canes, canes, cranium, canibus, canibus

or something like that;)

I did that from memory. No guarantees.

By the way, this is why canis becomes canem in

cave canem (beware of the dog)

A noun following the verb in Latin (normally) takes the accusative case.

One of the reasons that I find Croatian and Croatian grammar so neat, is that all the same issues arise as with Latin but in real-time (so to speak).

While writing this my subconscious must have been buzzing along because I have now remembered, that which I had forgotten:

in Latin there was no distinction between the letters V and U (or for that matter between the letters I and J).

This is why the Latin sentence looked so strange (to me).

Uorat could be written as vorat, and having realising this I wandered over to the bookcase, and extracted my Lewis & short:-

voro, vorare, voravi, voratus (to swallow)

vorat (he swallows)

gnarus looks like a nominative to me, so declining canis earlier was not strictly necessary and this gives us (or me) the clue that gnarus canis is a nominative.

Sepe vorat granus canis often the known dog swallows …

id quod (it that)

Seruat and auaras become servat and avarus respectively when the same U to V substitution is made.

servo, servare, servavi, servatus. (protect, store, keep, guard, preserve, save)

servat is a third person singular meaning ‘he serves/protects’ etc.

avarus (miser, mean or greedy person) and is in the nominative case in the sentence, with the consequence that it is likely to be the subject.

id quod servat avaras ‘it that protects the mean person’.

And so my final translation of, Sepe uorat gnarus canis id quod seruat auarus or Sepe vorat gnarus canis id quod servat avarus becomes:-

Frequently the known dog swallows what the mean person protects.

The archaic English equivalent is :

Cats eat what hussies spare.

and which admittedly I have never heard anyone use.

Spare is used in the sense of remain or save, and hussy is well, an archaic term for a ‘lewd or brazen woman’.

I’ve never heard anyone say ‘hussie’ for realsis either.

Nuff said.

The meaning of both sayings is that what someone tries to save through meanness is likely to be wasted anyway – either by a cat or dog (or a wolf if you are Croatian).

Here is the Croatian equivalent (found on wikiquote), which involves a vuk (wolf) :

I brojne ovce vuk jede, kamoli nebrojene.

This is nothing like our previous examples, but conveys the same somewhat anxious sentiment:-

The wolf eats numerous sheep, (and I’m now guessing) let alone the uncounted (ones).

Besos and baci.


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