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Thread: School Mottos

  1. #1
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    School Mottos

    Does anyone have any ideas for mottos for other magical schools, like Beauxbatons or Durmstrang?

    Remember, Hogwarts' school motto is a pretty quirky Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, Latin for "Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon." Do you think the mottos of other magical schools would also be bits of practical (yet fairly obvious and somewhat useless) advice, or is this unique to Hogwarts?

    Any ideas or thoughts? Plus, any motto suggestions translated into Latin (or Greek, or Swahili, or anything like that) would be amazing.

    The only thing I could think of at the moment would be a very antagonistic Hogvartensis Delenda Est, or "Hogwarts Must be Destroyed." Sounds like a Durmstrang battle cry during a Triwizard Tournament!

    Tim the Enchanter

  2. #2
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Are you looking for a specific motto for Durmstrang? Hmm...gotta think of some good mottos for the way you have set up the school.

    Erklings are not our friends=Erkling es non nostrum amicitia
    Never assume anything is correctly translated
    Mittens are warm=Mittens es tepidus


    Once good thing about Catholic school, you pick up a little bit of Latin whether you like it or not. And it could only be useful here.

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    Seventh Year Hufflepuff
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    I didn't know that was actually the motto of the school (I thought it was just some comment in Fantastic Beasts) but I think maybe Durmstrang and Beauxbatons would be a bit more serious. I feel like Hogwarts is the weird kid on the block, as far as schools go.
    Durmstrang's motto, I think, would be something along the lines of "Power is Truth"...goes with the Dark Arts thing. Unfortunately, I haven't had a Latin class in a while, so I can't translate that. And perhaps Beauxbatons could have Savoir pour une vie meilleur? (French for "Knowledge for a Better Life"--although my translation skills might be off. Also, I wasn't sure what Beauxbatons might have...there's not much info about it in the books.)
    Although if you want a silly one for Beauxbatons, I've come up with "Beauty's only wand-deep" as in, "Charm yourself all you like, you're still the same inside." It's also a play on words with the school name, which I'm pretty sure means "Pretty Wands."

  4. #4
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    But I really do wonder how many magic schools would have their mottos written in Latin. Spells might be in Latin because they date back to an eariler date and from J.K.'s own education in classical language, but before the writings of Shakespear, not a lot of people took pride in the English language. That thought of it as crass and a language for the poor, so anyone well educated could speak Latin fluently. It also why there are no classic operas or artistic or musical terms in English. Until Shakespear made the English language a thing of beauty in the eyes of the people, they simply didn't exist.

    Schools in France, Italy, and other European countries may have their motto in their own language. They might have actually taken pride in their own spoken language and, more practically, would what their student to be able to understand their motto.

    Durmstrang, howver, attracts students who speak a variety of different languages, so they might actually have their motto in Latin as well, just to further tie themselves to their magical heritage.

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  5. #5
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    But I really do wonder how many magic schools would have their mottos written in Latin. Spells might be in Latin because they date back to an eariler date and from J.K.'s own education in classical language, but before the writings of Shakespear, not a lot of people took pride in the English language. That thought of it as crass and a language for the poor, so anyone well educated could speak Latin fluently. It also why there are no classic operas or artistic or musical terms in English. Until Shakespear made the English language a thing of beauty in the eyes of the people, they simply didn't exist.

    Schools in France, Italy, and other European countries may have their motto in their own language. They might have actually taken pride in their own spoken language and, more practically, would what their student to be able to understand their motto.

    Durmstrang, howver, attracts students who speak a variety of different languages, so they might actually have their motto in Latin as well, just to further tie themselves to their magical heritage.
    But remember, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang had to have been founded at least 700 years ago (that's how old the Triwizard Tournament is), and that's still during the Middle Ages. I'd think that their mottos would be in Latin, being the scholarly language of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by minnabird
    Durmstrang's motto, I think, would be something along the lines of "Power is Truth"...goes with the Dark Arts thing. Unfortunately, I haven't had a Latin class in a while, so I can't translate that.
    I really like that motto, but I can't translate it either! Oh well...

    Oh, and Molly, your suggestion of "Mittens es tepidus" made me laugh. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that there should be some Latin word somewhere for "Mittens..."

    Now, I have some questions. (Western) European wizardry primarily uses Latin for its spells, and presumably Latin is used for school mottos? But what about the rest of the world? What would be the language of magic, in say, the Middle East? Would it be something common like Arabic or an extinct language like ancient Akkadian, like how Western wizards use Latin? And what about the Far East, in places like China and Japan?

    Tim the Enchanter

  6. #6
    Seventh Year Hufflepuff
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    I really like that motto, but I can't translate it either!
    I can maybe ask a friend who takes Latin if she can translate it. Her class translates Virgil, so presumably she can translate a phrase like that.

    As to your question, I think maybe it would be an ancient, esoteric language, just because that seems to be the way of things. I think the Latin incantations may be a sort of safety, so that a wizard can't accidentally speak an incantation. So, probably a similarly dead language for each country.

    Wow! How mind-boggling. I just realized that spells like Lumos probably aren't standard the world round. Weird to think that other wizarding societies might use a totally different set of incantations for everything.

  7. #7
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Oh, and Molly, your suggestion of "Mittens es tepidus" made me laugh. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that there should be some Latin word somewhere for "Mittens..."
    I tried looking through Latin dictionaries for the word for 'mittens' and 'gloves', but so far no luck. I'm beginning to think the Romans didn't have them, so there just really isn't a word for them. I'm still looking through a few more additions, so I'll keep you posted.

    Just, please, don't make me go to the nuns!!!!

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  8. #8
    Amanda Vega
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    ''Power is truth" translates, basically, to potentia est verum or potentia verum est.
    Tecnically, since Romans had no punctuation, capitalisation, set word order, or spaces, it's be more like verumpotentiaest, but it's your choice [:

    Of course, it being Latin, there are about five thousand different ways to say the same thing.... but there you go; for simplicity that's probably the best you're going to get.

    And no, Molly, I don't believe they had any form of mittens or gloves xD


    Oh, and just so you know in the future, there is a Latin language thread in the Cultural Corner.

  9. #9
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Well, Tim, you should consider youself lucky that there tend to be a fair amount of Latin speakers on the site to help you with your translations (and a few former Catholic schoolgirls as well).

    And no, Molly, I don't believe they had any form of mittens or gloves xD
    Which also brings up another point: What do people do for translations when the Latin language doesn't even have a word for it? What becomes the default modern language? And don't flatter yourself by saying English. Despite being an official language in most political spectrums, it is still seen as a rather coarse language by linguists.


    European wizardry primarily uses Latin for its spells, and presumably Latin is used for school mottos? But what about the rest of the world? What would be the language of magic, in say, the Middle East? Would it be something common like Arabic or an extinct language like ancient Akkadian, like how Western wizards use Latin? And what about the Far East, in places like China and Japan?
    I actually started a bit of a discussion on this same topic on the Japanese Culture thread. I assumed for Eastern Asia, the spells would more than likely be in Chinese. Chinese is seen as a cradle language for Eastern Asia just the same way Latin is for the Western world. I think a could trick for spells in any culture would be to look for the cradle langage of the area, evn if no one speaks it conversationally anymore.

    And I'm sure there are also schools of magic in whichs spells in Latin don't exists, and the caster has to learn the incantation in the original language.

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  10. #10
    Amanda Vega
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    (and a few former Catholic schoolgirls as well).
    Former? Former? -looks at knee socks and plaid skort- Well, three years from now, anyway...


    Actually, there are five major Romance (Latinate) languages currently in use today: FRIPS, which stands for French, Romanian (yes, Romanian...), Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Dialects and more minor languages are not included in that list xD

    English is a really weird language, because it originally came from Germanic languages, but after some historical event (I want to say Hastings?), French began to infiltrate the language, thus bringing Latin into it.
    Basically, words under three syllables in English are usually Germanic. Words three syllables or longer are usually Latinate.
    I say 'usually,' though, because of course there are always exceptions!

    What do people do for translations when the Latin language doesn't even have a word for it? What becomes the default modern language? And don't flatter yourself by saying English. Despite being an official language in most political spectrums, it is still seen as a rather coarse language by linguists.
    Yes, English isn't a very linguistically capable language. Usually, though, why would you want to translate something INTO Latin? It's a dead language! 99.9% of the time, you're translating out of Latin, and there's really no point.

    Historically, though, Latin was the official language of everything, mostly because everyone who was scholarly, at all, knew it. The problem with that, though, is that most people aren't scholarly, and when writing in Latin - especially formal Latin, because there aren't really any written examples of Vulgar Latin (conversational) - there were, obviously, limitations as to vocabulary. This is why you get people writing in Italian and French and German as opposed to Latin, because more people have access to it and it's easier to express an idea.

    I actually started a bit of a discussion on this same topic on the Japanese Culture thread. I assumed for Eastern Asia, the spells would more than likely be in Chinese. Chinese is seen as a cradle language for Eastern Asia just the same way Latin is for the Western world. I think a could trick for spells in any culture would be to look for the cradle language of the area, even if no one speaks it conversationally anymore.
    But wouldn't this imply that at Durmstrang, spells would be taught in Germanic tongues? (etc.) After all, we're forgetting that most of northern and eastern Europe had completely different cradle languages - Swedish, German, Russian, Turkish, Gaelic, even - none of those come from Latin, even if they have possibly been influenced by its worldliness.

    And even then, we have spells which aren't Latinate, either - Jo herself has said that 'Avada Kedavra' is just an ancient form of 'Abracadabra,' twisted slightly. So it stands to reason that there are other spells which aren't Latinate, either - after all, the whole repertoire of magic is something we should never even hope to see!

    I personally think that in some way, the Roman times were the period in which magic was developing the most, within the European sphere, and thus, there are spells which are not Latin, but the majority of them are - because that's when many were invented. After that, maybe people just went along with it because it worked, or something....
    Before then, you have ancient ancient ancient magic using its own spells and such, but if you think about it, a lot of magical lore is post-Roman, anyway. Even Merlin was during King Arthur's time, most notably, and that was post-Roman-invasion-of-Britain. And before then magic was often in rhyme and verse, not set spells in the sense of words but in the sense of enchantments - coming from the word 'chant!'
    There are a lot of ways to justify it, really, if you think on it enough.

    For Asia, of course, the Latin thing would be hard to make work, but you could easily apply the same principle to Chinese or another language - as with Arabic, African langauges, etc.

    You could also say that the magical world has always been more connected, though (figure out how this works on your own!), and that once the Roman magicians figured out that their language was the most accommodating for magic spells, they somehow... magically... shared it with the rest of the wizarding world?

    Although magical help could easily have been involved in the building of the Roman Empire xD





    Okay, I'm reading way too much into all this.


    EDIT: WOW THIS IS LONG.

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