Thursday, March 03, 2005

Omnium Finis Immenet

Some of you might have noticed the words "Omnium Finis Imminet" flash briefly and mysteriously on the screen right after Law and Order this evening (or somewhere else entirely). I thought the Rapturecons might have been signaling The End (or possibly some secret plan to execute a coup d'etat). But it turns out is was only viral advertising for a television movie on NBC called Revelations about, you guessed it, the end of the world. I formerly thought this was viral advertising for the Tom Cruise vehicle "War of the Worlds" but I was wrong about that.

It is somehow comforting that some things can easily be explained by crass commercialism without resorting to conspiracy theories about a nefarious political plot.

UPDATE: How embarrassing. All that Latin in college and I forgot to give a translation. Anyone can guess, based on cognates, what it means. Roughly translated, it means "The end of all is coming." With greater specifically, I have to fall back on the old dictionary. 'Omnium' is the plural noun form of 'omnis', which has a specific meaning of 'all the world'. Because 'omnium' is in the genetive case, the contextual meaning is 'of all the world'. 'Finis' is familiar to anyone who watches foreign films; it is the noun meaning 'the end'. 'Imminet' is the present tense third person form of the verb 'immineo', meaning 'to loom', 'to threaten', or 'to be imminent'. So, putting everything in context, the translation is 'The end of the world is imminent'. But then, you had probably already guessed that.

You could render it a bit more prosaically as, "The end of the world threatens" or "The end of the world looms". Personally, I would have opted for 'Omnium fini propinquet', producing the more evocative "The end of the world draws near" or "The end of the world is nigh". Note that the dative case required for the proper sense of the verb 'propinquo' renders 'fini' in a somewhat more familiar form. The trade off is that the cognate of 'propinquo' in english 'propinquent', meaning 'near at hand', is much less familiar than the cognates of 'Immineo'. I can certainly see why that choice was made.

It is good to know, however, that some Latin major out there found employment in writing that sentence correctly. The tempation to add an 'n' to the 'imminet' must have been overwhelming among the studio execs. Good to see proper declention prevailed. The result would have been a disasterously illogical subject/verb disagreement that one person in 100,000, myself included, would have been tremendously cheesed about.

BTW, since you're here anyway, why don't you see what you can do to help our troops who keep the End at bay?


At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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