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Anonymous student evaluation in Latin 102:“God-like and unimprovable . . . Can damage small-minded creatures with a single thought”

From a comment through ‘LiberalGoodman’ on this short article at Captain’s Quarters (the 13th, date 7-05 in ~ 6:42 pm):

This book is another illustration the the truth that “conservative intellectual” is one oxymoron. To be an intellectual, you need to read books, (“liber”, the Latin because that book, is the source of liberal).

Both sentences space dubious, at best, and also the parenthesized declare is demonstrably false. The Latin native for book has naught to do with the English word ‘liberal’.

The noun liber, ‘book’, has a brief i, and is pronounced around ‘lib-ehr’. The many is libri (two syllables), and also most the the develops drop the e. This liber is the root of the word ‘library’.

The adjective liber, ‘free’, has a long i, and is pronounced about ‘leeb-ehr’. The plural is liberi (three syllables), and also the e is retained in every form. This liber is the source of ‘liberal’, ‘illiberal’, ‘liberate’, and also some various other words. Just to confuse things, the plural liberi is a noun definition ‘children’ and also an adjective meaning ‘free’, and there is one more libr- word, libra, ‘balance, set of scales’ (as in the constellation), whose plural is librae. To further confuse things, in Latin publications are masculine, scales room feminine, youngsters are both (if you desire to specify, you need to use a different word), and a human or thing that is free may be any type of gender.

Though assignment the same and therefore alphabetized together, short-i liber and also long-i liber space no more related than ‘nice’ (the English adjective) and also Nice (the French city) or ‘job’ (as in work) and also Job (in the Bible), or ‘salamis’ (from the deli counter) and also Salamis (the island encountering Athens). English does usually spell or capitalize unrelated words differently when they space pronounced differently, i beg your pardon helps.

See more: How Did Religion Change In The Renaissance : The Beginning Of Religious Reform

The seal of my alma mater, St. John’s university (Annapolis), puns on the 4 different interpretations of the 3 words, long-i liber, short-i liber, and also libra:


The motto facio liberos ex liberis libris libraque method ‘I make free people the end of kids with books and also a scale’, through the seven books (libri) representing the seven liberal arts and the scale (libra) the sciences. Since liberi, the many of long-i liber, has two meanings, the motto is fatally ambiguous: it might just as easily mean ‘I make youngsters out of cost-free people’ or ‘children out of children’ or ‘free civilization out of cost-free people’, and I have the right to think the classmates in all three categories.