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Q: Latin translation ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Latin translation
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: dianee-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 10 Jul 2002 16:43 PDT
Expires: 09 Aug 2002 16:43 PDT
Question ID: 38331
What would the following statement read like if translated into Latin?
 "We think therefore we can."
Subject: Re: Latin translation
Answered By: rmn-ga on 10 Jul 2002 17:25 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello dianee,

"We think therefore we can" translates into Latin as "Cogitamus igitur
possumus." (Pronounced co-geet-aa-mus ig-ee-tur poss-umm-us).
Allow me to explain my translation:

Vocabulary Used:
Cogito, Cogitare (v) - To think
Igitur (conj.) - Therefore
Possum, Posse (v) - I can, I am able to

Due to the fact that Latin is an inflected language (the forms of the
nouns and verbs change depending on the "person" you are speaking to
(for example, 1st person singular, 3rd person plural)), there is no
need to include the word "Nos" (Latin for "we") in the translation.

As there are no readily available sources for perfect English to Latin
Translation on the Internet, I picked up the most readily available
reference, the "Ecce Romani I" Textbook.

"Ecce Romani Student Book I", 2nd Edition. (C)1995 Longman Publishing
Group, White Plains, NY.

Hope this helps, and feel free to ask for any clarification necessary,


Request for Answer Clarification by dianee-ga on 14 Jul 2002 16:44 PDT
Dear rmn-ga:
Thanks for your answer.  The word igitur?  Can you explain why this is
preferred rather than "ergo".   We intend there to be an association
with "Cogito ergo sum" so how accurate or inaccurate is it to say
"Cogitamus ergo possumus."
It is unfortunate that the word "possumus" is Latin for "I can".  Not
a very positive association to be used as a byline, is it.

Clarification of Answer by rmn-ga on 17 Jul 2002 18:53 PDT
Both "igitur" and "ergo" can be used interchangeably; they both mean
the same thing, and the translation of the sentence remains the same. 
Sorry about they delay, I just returned home from a trip.
dianee-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Latin translation
From: rick_o-ga on 10 Jul 2002 17:50 PDT
Assuming this is intended to parallel Descartes' famous statement
("cogito ergo sum" - I think therefore I am), the construction would
be: "Cogitamus ergo possumus."
Subject: Re: Latin translation
From: betdud-ga on 29 Oct 2002 21:00 PST
It's not important to this question, but just for future reference you
should know that the argument is better translated as "I am thinking,
therefore I am". It is a subtle point, but philosophically very
important. If Descartes had stated only "I think, therefore..." then
it would be an insufficient proof of existence.

Just thought you might like to know :0)

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