As the Latin saying goes tempus fugit (time flies), especially during the summer and here we are starting another school year. I remember, as a student, feeling the excitement and anticipation of what is to come, while setting up my new notebooks and folders for each class to start the year with a tabula rasa (clean slate), so to speak. Today, I see that same eagerness in my son, who started fourth grade this week, again tempus fugit. As we sat down to cover his new textbooks after the second day of school or rather to stretch on the “booksocks” (I am not sure exactly when book covers went from paper to strategically designed pillow cases) and he was showing me the table of contents, talking about the topics discussed and flipping through the pages, I was reminded of how early Latin becomes part of our everyday experience and yet most of us never know. Of course, we all know some Latin, it’s at the root of roughly 55-60% of the words that we use. While no one has to know Latin to learn the meaning of vocabulary words (there are dictionaries for that), it certainly gives you a greater appreciation and understanding of our language and makes it much easier. However, while we were looking through the science text, it wasn’t the words that I was noticing; it was the abbreviations and notes at the ends of sections, which I was coincidentally teaching the next day. So I pointed to the “e.g.” after an explanation of external stimulus and said, “You know that’s Latin.” We talked about it for a few minutes, I gave the meaning, which I’m sure he promptly forgot, and we went back to our sock stretching. The next day, I handed a list of six or seven common text abbreviations to my new Latin students and one said, “Hey, now I actually know what that means.” So, here is a little Latin lesson so that you will not just glance over the “ect..” or “i.e” in your textbook, cookbook, or how-to guide but will, “actually know what that means.”
N.B. (nota bene) – “Note well,” pay special attention to something.
e.g. (exempli gratiâ) – “for the sake of example,” indicates an example is given.
i.e. (id est) – “that is,” clarification, indicates the specifics
etc. (et cetera) – “And the rest of the things,” the continuation of a list
a.m. (ante meridiem) – “before midday,” morning
p.m (post meridiem) – “after midday,” afternoon
Enjoy and have a great rest of the year.