[lg policy] 'Latin' Motto Engraved On New Moorestown Library Building Translates To ‘We Second Guess All’

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 8 15:11:59 UTC 2014

Motto Engraved On New Moorestown Library Building Translates To ‘We Second
Guess All’
*October 7, 2014 9:32 AM*
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*MOORESTOWN, N.J. (CBS)* — A motto mistake has left one library in South
Jersey scrambling to explain.

What they thought was inscribed on the building
wasn’t, and that led to a lot of red faces.

“Nos Secundus Coniecto Omnia”

It’s a powerful-sounding Latin statement that is fit for higher learning

That is until you translate the expression.

Should Be: “We Confirm All Things Twice.”
Translates To: “We Second Guess All.”

After nearly a decade of building the brand new multi-million dollar
Moorestown Township Library, the architect
and town leadership wanted a medallion on the walls to represent all that
hard work.

They thought they came up with: “We Confirm Things Twice.”

But with that mantra, residents started doing a little Google translating
and they came up with “We Second Guess All.”

Next to it, the date in Roman numerals says “1653” when it should say
“1853,” when the Friends of the Library Group were formed.

Moorestown residents say their town is not about ignoring problems, but
about confronting and fixing them.

And that’s exactly what the architect who designed the medallions said he
going to do for free.

Architect Rick Ragan is in charge of the project. His firm isn’t solid on
what the fix is, but he offered an option.

“We will pay to remove the entire medallion and reset a new one,” Ragan

At Eyewitness News, we “confirm things twice” and contacted the University
of Pennsylvania’s foremost authority on the language who added another
wrinkle, saying quote:

“It’s not real Latin, but a kind of pseudo-Latin called “dog Latin” in
which you just translate each individual English word into a Latin
equivalent, without worrying whether the result makes sense or not,” said
Joseph Farrell, professor
of classical studies at UPenn.

The bottom line: good intentions lost in translation.



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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