Something Ergo Sum?
February 7, 2010 7:28 AM   Subscribe

My High School Latin Is Failing Me-Filter: What would a good translation of "I eat brains, therefore I am?" that keeps as close to the shortness of "cognito ergo sum" as possible?
posted by The Whelk to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's "cogito ergo sum".

"mentes edo ergo sum", or something. It isn't going to work very well; "I eat brains" isn't going to be one word, and the pithiness of the quote consists of its balance, one verb implying another, different verb (and a notably different, irregular verb, even!).
posted by Casuistry at 7:34 AM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd go with "zombio ergo sum."
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:03 AM on February 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


YANALS, but i think you can use
"cerebr[i!a] edo ergo sum"
too. The last letter will depend on what gender cerebrum is this century..
posted by 3mendo at 8:08 AM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think: Cerebros edo.
Mentes is more "minds".
If you wanted to get a bit stronger, you could go with:
Cerebros voro ("I devour brains.")
posted by feelinggood at 8:11 AM on February 7, 2010


Right, obviously - cerebra.
posted by feelinggood at 8:12 AM on February 7, 2010


Cerebrum is neuter. Whether you can say cerebra or not, though, depends on whether cerebrum is a mass noun in Latin or not. Just because we say "brains" when we're talking about food in English, as opposed to "a brain," doesn't mean it works in Latin. If it's treated as a kind of stuff like meat, rice, bread, cartilage,etc., then it's cerebrum edo. (I'm not sure, and my dictionary is not helping here.)

The Latin equivalent of "eat" has some odd contracted forms that are the same as "be," though edo - "I eat" isn't one of them. So you can get Cerebrum est ergo est - "He eats brain therefore he exists" and Esse cerebrum ergo esse - "To eat brains, and so, exist."
posted by nangar at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Cerebrum", though, is a more technical term, more or less, and isn't nearly as common as "brain" is in English -- it would be not unlike saying "I eat cerebrums, therefore I am". I agree that "mens" isn't a happy solution either, though.
posted by Casuistry at 11:55 AM on February 7, 2010


The Latin equivalent of "eat" has some odd contracted forms that are the same as "be," though edo - "I eat" isn't one of them.

Sure it is. If you have evidence to the contrary, I am eager to see it.

"Cerebrum", though, is a more technical term, more or less

It's used pretty widely to mean brain or top of the head, esp. in descriptions of battle, so I'd think it would be okay here.

You can get a sort of joke here in that it is also used as part of some vegetables. And then as to cerebrum Iovis - well, go here and check it out.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:58 PM on February 7, 2010


(The Latin equivalent of "eat" has some odd contracted forms that are the same as "be," though edo - "I eat" isn't one of them.

(Sorry, on second thought, think I misread what you meant. Though I'm not quite sure why you brought it up at all. Edo is fine, why discuss anything else?)
posted by IndigoJones at 1:01 PM on February 7, 2010


The point, I think, is that it's sort of a nifty pun to have esse mean "to eat" and "to be" in the same sentence.

That doesn't make it better as an all-around translation for the OP's phrase, of course. But it might be useful if the goal is to be clever in a forehead-slapping sort of way — and if you ask me that's a pretty likely goal for people who are making zombie jokes in dead languages.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:16 PM on February 7, 2010


I'm not quite sure why you brought it up

Because I thought the OP might think it was funny. If it's irrelevant he can just ignore it.

But - cerebrum iovis - "Jupiter brains" - a translation of a term for sausage, apparently. So it is singular, cerebrum not cerebra.

Thanks IndigoJones.
posted by nangar at 2:18 PM on February 7, 2010


you people have no idea how happy this thread is making me.
posted by The Whelk at 4:21 PM on February 7, 2010


I googled cerebrum and cerebra to check usage. I don't know why I didn't do this yesterday.

Cerebra gets lots of hits from Latin medical texts referring to more than one brain, plus a few I can't make out.

Cerebrum coctum - "cooked brains" - gets a decent number of hits. (Cerebra cocta, zero.)

So pretty definitely "brains" as food is singular. "I eat brains" is cerebrum edo.
posted by nangar at 8:24 AM on February 8, 2010


The point, I think, is that it's sort of a nifty pun to have esse mean "to eat" and "to be" in the same sentence.

Along those lines, there is also (con)sumo, to eat (right?).
posted by grobstein at 2:05 PM on February 8, 2010


« Older My girlfriend is thinking abou...   |  My fiance has male answer synd... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.