Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ne Ardua Terreant

I think it was the first week of JC, that I asked Ms. May Flanagan, what the school motto meant. She was slightly taken aback I guess, at realizing how could I possibly not know the meaning and still be in her presence.

She squinted her eyes, as she used to, when she wasn't sure what the kids were up to, and said, "Oh my child, how could you not know? Off course it means, no task is too difficult".

And there we had it, right from the horse's mouth.

A few weeks back, I saw Google Translator also had an option for Latin and the first thing that came to my mind was...none other than our favourite School Motto.

So I punched it in and voila, Google had a totally different translation:

Not really sure of doubting Ms. Flanagan, I tried different combinations and here are the results:

Ne Ardua Terreant Do not be alarmed by steep
ne Ardua Terreant It is hard not to frighten
ne ardua Terreant difficult not to frighten
ne ardua terreant Do not be afraid of the difficult
NE ARDUA TERREANT NOT hard to frighten

Stumbling further I found that the root for "ardua" was "arduus" literally meaning "steep", but meaning "difficult" in the second connotation. So grammatically speaking "ardua" being the Nominative, Accusative as well as the Vocative case for "arduus" means DIFFICULT.

"ne" was easy as it simply meant NOT,

while "terreant" is the third-person plural present active subjunctive of "terreō", which means "I FRIGHTEN, TERRIFY, ALARM" in the first connotation and "I DETER BY TERROR, SCARE (AWAY)" in the second.

So I guess "Ne Ardua Terreant" really means "Don't be afraid of difficulties / hardships / struggle etc" or simply put "WORK HARD"

There must be a story behind this mix-up; Let's hope I find the facts.

On a lighter and brighter note, I seriously hope my research is all crap and the meaning we learnt all those years ago was the correct one...would someone care to demystify this enigma ?

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