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July 25, 2017 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Can you identify/translate this (likely contemporary/invented) Latin phrase? Quod continue sugen / Et nome signum / Me anones ad me

Further context: This is from a mock-stained glass triptych featuring Argentine pop cultural icons (Diego Maradona, Eva Perón, and Enrique Santos Discépolo) as saints. You can see it in context here.
posted by dr. boludo to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Et nome signum

It appears to be ET NOMENSiGNUM in the photo, which I guess could be either et nomen signum or et nomens ignum.
posted by zamboni at 8:28 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]

Google Translate gives some variations depending on how you plug it in:

"Quod continue sugen Et nome signum Me anones ad me" = "The name of the child will continue to sign me anon"

"Quod continue sugen / Et nome signum / Me anones ad me" = "That continue play / And the name of the signal / me me anon"

Not sure what that means, but maybe it will do until a Latin scholar shows up.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 9:43 AM on July 25

Obligatory disclaimer that I only took high school Latin (AP, but still) and haven't exactly stayed in practice or anything. So I could be totally, completely off base with any or all of this.

"Quod continue sugen" baffles me a bit. According to at least one online dictionary, "continue" is a Latin adverb meaning what it sounds like, though it's not a form I think I've ever encountered. "Sugen" might be a form of the verb "to suck" (alternately, and perhaps more likely the intended meaning: "to imbibe"), but "-n" is not a valid Latin verb ending. I can't find a noun that would match, though, so most likely the ending is supposed to be "-nt" (third person plural) or "-ns" (present participle). Dropping either consonant would be normal for Spanish, as far as I know.

So, for that part, I dunno, "because they will continuously drink"? Or maybe "because they are constantly drinking".

"Et nomen signum" makes more sense for the middle of the tryptich. "Signum" meaning "sign" is a plausible thing to put on your wall. In which case it might be a double-nominative with an implied form of "esse" in there? So, something like "the name will be the sign" or "the name is the sign"?

"Nomens" isn't a Latin word, so "nomens ignum" is probably not it.

Then we get to "me anones ad me". The only thing I can find for any kind of variation on "anones" would be the restharrow flower, which??? Except "anones" is not a valid declension of that word. I might try to regroup the letters as "mea non es ad me", but there's a very clear space indicating that "me" stands alone as a word. I could also be tempted to regroup them as "me an ones ad me", but "ones" doesn't seem to fit any Latin words either, unless we assume that the translator meant "oneres" but forgot to add the stem when declining the word. Which is possible and might make the full sentence make more sense? Usually when you start applying that logic, things get squirrely fast, but I can't come up with a plausible translation that includes the damned flowers, so maybe we'll try that one as well, I guess. "An" meaning "or" usually shows up in the context of questions and would then reframe our understanding of "quod" to be more of an interrogative pronoun like "who". I'm still getting stuck on that dangling "me" that doesn't seem to go with anything else, too, since there's no verb that would take an accusative other than maybe "sugen(s/t)" above.

So, yeah, the whole thing kind of falls apart at the end.

Probably the most likely explanation is that the phrase is dog Latin. If it were English-derived dog Latin, I could hazard some guesses, but Spanish-derived dog Latin is something I have absolutely no experience with. If anybody has a guess at what Spanish words "sugen" and "anones" might be Latin-esque forms of, maybe I could give a better guess...

Just to throw shit at the wall: "Because the flowers are always drinking me and the name is a sign to me." Why not?

But maybe it's more likely that each phrase stands alone, so there might be some embedded references to the person depicted, with the person's name/identity implied in the phrase. That could give us some clues to what was intended.

Let's try that:

"Diego Maradona, because you always suck." (Maybe jokingly, since he was apparently an amazing player?) Or, perhaps more likely, "Diego Maradona, because you constantly dribble." (Maybe a mistranslation of some Spanish word for "dribble" -> "drink" -> "sugo". Wikipedia says he was very well known for his dribbling skills.)

"Eva Peron and the name (which?) is a banner." (Kind of self-explanatory, if you take "the name is a banner" as sort of an idiom for either "the famous name" or "the name (which) is a rallying cry".

I'm still having trouble with Enrique Santos Discépolo's panel, though. Unless... unless maybe "anones" was supposed to be "annon es?" In which case it might be "Couldn't you be myself to me?" The first "me" could just be a reflexive functioning as an intensifier, so you could elide it out as "Couldn't you be near to me?" or "Aren't you near me?" Like, as an indication that the band or the club owner, whoever put the banners up, feels a kinship with him as a fellow musician.

It would be interesting to hear from someone who speaks Spanish and also knows Latin, especially if there are any Argentines on Metafilter who know a bit of Latin. The more I think about this, the more strongly I suspect that the banner slogans are cultural idioms that have been rendered as Spanish-flavoured dog Latin.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:21 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]

I studied both Latin and Spanish throughout high school and college, and I have to agree with tobascodagama's analysis. I can't see a way to construe a meaningful English translation from the Latin text. However, I'm not nearly fluent enough to make a guess at what a native Spanish speaker might be trying to say here. A couple of further observations on tobascodagama's points:

I would guess at "sugen" as a 3rd person plural verb rather than a present participle based on the fact that the Spanish 3rd person plural uses '-n' where Latin uses '-nt', while the Spanish participial form would end in '-ndo.' Dropping that final T would be a much more likely mistake. Assuming 'sugen' is intended as a plural verb, 'quod' would have to be a conjunction ('because/until'), rather than a pronoun ('what/which/that'), because the pronoun 'quod' is explicitly singular. So that would make the first part something like "Because they continually take in..."

Another thought on 'sugen': could it be a misspelling of 'surgen' (they will rise)? "Until they [will] rise" seems like a possibility, but I'm not quite sure how to take 'continue' in this context - 'continuously/incessantly/uninterruptedly' seem like bad fits, and the only other option I'm seeing is 'one following after the other,' which doesn't make sense to me, but might make more sense in Spanish.

I'd guess that "et nomen signum" is "and the name of the sign" - this Latin is shaky enough that I wouldn't expect an understood verb; generally the weaker a translation is, the more hyperliteral it becomes. Further evidence for this: typing 'del signo' into Google Translate spits out 'signum' as the Latin translation. The problem is that I have no idea how to fit this phrase into the context of the sentence: "Because they continuously take in and the name of the sign..." is nonsensical. "Until they rise and [in?] the name of the sign..." could make sense, but we still need to deal with the end of the sentence.

"Me anones ad me" is where I'm really hitting a brick wall. 'Ad me' is a straightforward prepositional phrase (I'm not sure it's correct Latin, but the meaning is perfectly clear). But that first 'me' could be a reflexive pronoun or a direct object pronoun, and 'anones' could be a direct object or a 2nd person singular verb. Based on what we've worked out about the other words, I'm inclined to treat 'anones' as a verb - the ending would make it 2nd person singular - so it might translate along the lines of "you [will?] ______ myself to me." The big problem here is that I have no way of guessing what 'anones' might mean, because as it is written here, it doesn't seem to be a Latin word at all (and Wictionary's closest guesses were mainly in English and French). I like tobascodagama's theory that it's meant to read "annon es", but I don't think that translation meshes with the rest of the phrase, and if he's right that each window is meant to be read alone, then I would have no idea what window #1 is saying.
posted by Daughter of Time at 3:35 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]

tobascodegama is definitely on the right track! Given that range of possibilities, I'm pretty confident that the Maradona one is dog Latin for a famous phrase he uttered during the 2010 World Cup, when he faced a lot of critics who were dubious of his ability to coach. After Argentina did well in the early rounds, he invited "all those who doubted...they can suck it, and they can keep on sucking it" (que la sigan mamando).

Which means probably the Evita and E.S. Discépolo ones are also dog Latin translations of famous phrases of theirs - I'l have to dig deeper on that ground!
posted by dr. boludo at 6:58 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]

Could Evita's be aiming at this possibly?: "I know that you will take up my name, and will carry it as your flag/banner" (number 1 here)

Discépolo: My best guess here is that it's his catchphrase "A mí no me la vas a contar?!" (the second, unnecessary first-person pronoun for emphasis is mostly what I'm going on here) -- it's from his radio broadcasts where he, very pro-Perón, has arguments with an anti-Peronist character he invented called Mordisquito (text with a few examples here). A good translation of the context/connotation might be something like "There's no way you are going to try to tell/convince me of that nonsense!"

Are these plausible guesses at what the translator may have been attempting? From what I know of the group in question, it's very likely that the responsible party doesn't have a rigorous Latin education, and is almost certainly a native Argentine Spanish speaker and a big fan of all three of the figures depicted.
posted by dr. boludo at 7:17 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]

Ah, yes, the first panel has to be "because they keep sucking". Nice! And the second one has to be a reference to that Evita quote.

Discépolo: My best guess here is that it's his catchphrase "A mí no me la vas a contar?!" (the second, unnecessary first-person pronoun for emphasis is mostly what I'm going on here)

Ahhh, that's pretty compelling. Latin sometimes does the double-pronoun thing for emphasis as well, but in this case it might just be coincidental as the translator attempted to render a version of his catchphrase. "Anones" is still kind of a mystery, unless it's a word borrowed from Lunfardo, which his songs apparently used a lot of? There's no word for "tell" that comes even close to it, so it's probably not literally the same phrase.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:52 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]

I think you've got it. The "anones" bit still seems weird-- I don't know what it could be in Latin or Spanish-- but the phrase you found fits the others, at least. Could it be MEA NON ES(A) AD ME?
posted by zompist at 8:55 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]

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