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Latin for the Illiterati: Exorcizing the Ghosts of a Dead Language [Paperback]

by Jon R. Stone
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Latin for the Illiterati, Second Edition: A Modern Guide to an Ancient Language Latin for the Illiterati, Second Edition: A Modern Guide to an Ancient Language 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

June 27, 1996 0415917751 978-0415917759 First Edition
Latin for the Illiterati is everyperson's reference to common Latin words and phrases. With over 6,000 entries--including 300 abbreviations--this volume will accompany every reader, student and scholar through their lifelong reading journey.

Editorial Reviews Review

Born of Jon R. Stone's quest to deal productively with his own ignorance of Latin, Latin for the Illiterati is a superb Latin phrase dictionary that fills an important reference niche. Stone's compendium of nearly 6,000 Latin words, phrases, and abbreviations takes the onus off reading erudite texts, reduces one's fear of appearing stupid, and reintroduces the joy of thousands of well-turned phrases. Organized alphabetically within the categories of verbi (common words and expressions), dicti (common phrases and familiar sayings), and abbreviations, the dictionary offers instant Latin phrase translation gratification. Also, the English-Latin index increases the usefulness and versatility tremendously, since it enables you to find the Latin you want for your own pithy purposes, allowing you to insert impressive bon mots willy nilly. When you want to make a statement of strength, writing "invictus maneo" has it all over "I remain unconquered." And if your audience doesn't understand, well let them get Stone's guide to Latin and join the literate world. --Stephanie Gold

From Library Journal

Stone (A Guide to the End of the World, Garland, 1993) has penned one of those rare reference resources that is both highly affordable and highly useful. The first two sections provide translations of common Latin words, expressions, phrases, and sayings (many from Virgil, the Bible, Horace, and St. Aquinas) along with their more commonly held meanings (e.g., "ibid: in the same place [in a book]"). While many resources supply similar information, most notably C.O. Mawson's Dictionary of Foreign Terms (1979) and the Oxford Latin Dictionary (Clarendon, 1994), few sources also include such a range of sayings and phrases, in this case well over 5000. In addition, the last section of Stone's work is a real boon to reference librarians. Showing that verba volant, scripta manent ("spoken words fly away, written ones remain"), Stone includes a listing of common abbreviations and their meanings (e.g., "a.m., ante meridiem: before noon"), the calendar year, the calendar month, the days of the week, the seven hills of Rome, an English-Latin index, a pronunciation guide, and Roman numerals up to MM (2000). This handy little reference work should be a welcome addition to all types of libraries. Highly recommended.?Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., Va.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; First Edition edition (June 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415917751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415917759
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,604,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Title Says It All December 6, 1999
This is a book which might well bore the serious student of Latin for whom it was not written. It serves well those who have never studied Latin: here you can find those maddening phrases which appear in literature, tombstone epitaphs, legal documents, medical records, etc. Anyone who reads will find this book a ~sine qua non~.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cui Bono? April 6, 2001
"Latin forms an integral part of our daily lives," says Dr. Jon R. Stone, "and its use is foundational to our major branches of knowledge from law and medicine to literature and commerce." _Latin for the Illiterati: Exorcizing the Ghosts of a Dead Language_ is a personal reading list of terms that the author encountered in his days as a graduate student. As such, it is a good reference book to keep on hand for looking up basic Latin words or Latinate expressions. Compared to Dr. Eugene Ehrlich's _Amo, Amas, Amat and More_ and _Veni, Vidi, Vici_, this book is not as humorous. Further, Dr. Stone has taken the excellent _Cassell's Latin-English/English-Latin Dictionary_ as a guide and added his own parenthetical translations.

_Latin for the Illiterati_ is like a phrase book, except it is for a "dead" language. If one wants to learn Latin, then _Wheelock's Latin_ is the best. The essential reference book for the Latin language is the _Oxford Latin Dictionary_ [OLD]. However, Dr. Stone's handbook is quite comprehensive: 6,000 entries, with 300 abbreviations; geographical place names, colors, calendar months and days, and Roman numerals (written out); an English-Latin index, (which is not as useful as the Latin-English section); and a quite good guide to Latin pronunciation. (It really is "weenie," "weedie," weekie.")

The Latin-English section has two parts, with listings in alphabetical order: "common words and expressions" and "common phrases and sayings." I recommend this book for people who read books on philosophy or religion; for crossword puzzle fanatics; and for those whose work or worship includes the use of Latin.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Terse Reference September 23, 1999
By A Customer
No explinations or verb conjugations in this book. Just tons of latin phrases and their meanings. Short book with A LOT of information. Not a Latin training guide by any means. Entirely a reference. But after reading through this book I feel like I have a much better understanding of the _English_ language. I'm amazed at the how many Latin terms and phrases are already familiar to me.
This book gives you an understanding of Latin and English roots in a very short time. You won't be writing any Latin though. Unless a simple "Et tu Brute?" will suffice.
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