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Having set the challenge to put "strummin' on the old banjo." into 
Latin, I thought I should myself at least try - I give my thoughts so 
far below:

ROGER MILLS wrote:
> Mark J. Reed wrote:
> 
>> On 9/6/07, Andreas Johansson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > My Sw/Lat dictionary has _fidicula pelliculata_ for "banjo". I'll leave
>> > "strumming on" to someone with a clue wrt stringed instruments ...
>>
>> That's tough.  The verb "strum" didn't exist in English until the late
>> 18th cent, and is probably onomotopoeiac in origin.   So I'm not sure
>> where one would look for a Latin word of similar meaning... one might
>> have to settle for "pluck" vel sim instead.
>>
> "Fidicula pelliculata" is an awful lot of sylalalables......

That's true! and it's going to make it impossible to get a Latin 
rendition that will fit the same rhythm as "strummin' on the old banjo."

In any case, it does seem an odd translation. "Fidicula" means a small 
stringed instrument of the lute or cithern type. The noun itself would 
seem to me, then, a fair rendering of 'banjo' (unless one needs to 
define the instrument more precisely). But I don't understand why it's 
given the epithet "pelliculata" - that's the perfect passive participle 
of the verb _pellicare_ = 'to cover with skin'. I haven't noticed my 
son's banjo being covered with skins     :)

> "Lute" is 
> similar-- Span. laúd, Ital. liuto etc. is from Arab. (al ud or 
> somesuch) but must have a Late Latin equivalent.

Yes, I think it must, but I haven't so far been able to track it down.

> How about some verb associated with "playing" the harp, which Latins 
> must have had... Hmm, where does "plectrum" come from?

 From Greek πλῆκτρον (plêktron) meaning 'a small stick or quill for 
striking [the strings on an instrument]' - it is derived from the stem 
/ple:k/ which signified 'striking' or 'smiting'

But as I understand it, 'strumming' does not involve the use of a 
plectrum. My dictionary defines 'strum' thus:
"to sound the strings of a guitar, etc., with a sweep of the hand; to 
play in this way (rather than plucking individual strings).'

_pulsare_ might be a suitable verb - and "fidiculam pulsando" has the 
right number of syllables. Unfortunately, altho the three heavy syllable 
of "pulsando" make a nice match for "old banjo", the -am at the end of 
"fidiculam" is awkward. This heavy syllable is not a good equivalent of 
the unstressed English 'the' - also, the prose word stress of 'fidicula' 
is on the second syllable -di- and, in this instance, that would not be 
good. We need something corresponding in rhythm to "strummin'" and, 
sadly, 'fidi-' /fI'dI/ does not.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

-- 
Ray
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Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
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[WELSH PROVERB]