Monday, 10 April 2017

Latin graffiti in Cambridge: "Locus in domos loci populum"

Romani ite domum: Life of Brian
I've written about Google Translate and Latin before (see here); I never thought the day would come when the hapless machine would be used by protestors in Cambridge to get their message across. As reported by the BBC here, a series of new houses has been spraypainted with the words "Locus in domos loci populum."

Strung together, these words are meaningless. The culprit? Google Translate. If you type "local homes for local people" into the search engine, it churns out "Locus in domos loci populum."

I've been trying to think how to turn the phrase into Latin, but haven't yet been able to come up with much. It's hard to get idioms right: English into Latin translation requires some sure-footed sideways thinking.

What still remains interesting is why these protestors felt that Latin - or rather some approximation of it - might be useful as a tool of protest. Who says Latin is dead? 


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