Jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

By spacebot, in 'English to Latin Translation', Jan 21, 2011.

  1. spacebot New Member


    I'd like help for the above phrase please. The full phrase is "jam tomorrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today" but the shorter version of "jam tomorrow but never jam today" would be fine. (It's from Alice Through the Looking Glass).

    I had a go with some online translators, but obviously they're a poor substitute. Could figure out most of the words, but don't know the grammar to construct the sentence. Also, can't seem to find the Latin word for jam (as in, blackberry jam).

    Jam cras, sed nunc jam...something?

    Any help appreciated.


    EDIT: I've just discovered that the original text was a "mnemonic for remembering the distinction between the Latin words "nunc" and "iam" " - so quite apt :)
  2. Imprecator Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    So you want to translate a nonsensical English interpretation of a Latin mnemonic (for Latin grammar) back into Latin.

    "Confectura cras, sed numquam hodie"
  3. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Cygnea, Gena

    Attached Files:

  4. Decimus Canus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    While it's correct to say that it's a mnemonic for the proper use of iam in Latin it has passed into common use, particularly in left wing politics, as a metaphor for an empty promise. I don't therefore see it as so ridiculous to ask for a Latin version of it. Additionally, there is a published translation of "Through the Looking Glass" - Aliciae Per Speculum Transitus - by Clive Harcourt Carruthers.

    The original line by Lewis Carroll is: "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day."

    Carruthers' version of that is: Pactum est poma cras fore - et poma heri fuisse - sed numquam hodie esse.

    If I were to translate that back without knowing the source I would probably get something like: "The bargain is that there will be fruits tomorrow - and there were fruits yesterday - but there never are today."

    I think Imprector's confectura is closer to jam than poma. You might also use conditura which is a sort of fruit preserve.
  5. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    I learned jam as "at the time of the verb." -- it can't be used in the present tense?
  6. Imprecator Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Of course it can be used in the present tense (even in conjunction with nunc)!

    "For now it pleases me to take up the sacred rites of Diana and put (aside) those of Venus."
    *simplex pro composito

    A more accurate version of that mnemonic would be "nunc today, but never yesterday or tomorrow- iam whenever."
  7. spacebot New Member

    Yes, I do; it's not nonsensical (as pointed out by Decimus Canus).

    Thank you.

    @Decimus Canus - thank you too.

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