February 13, 2011

Multae manus onus levant

Recording also available at iPadio using this link.

Today's saying is Multae manus onus levant. In English: "Many hands lighten the load."

Cooperation is itself a word derived from Latin roots; co-operation literally means "together-working," which is the metaphorical message of today's proverb: Many hands lighten the load. The load is still the same, of course - but the burden on each pair of hands becomes lighter when people are working together. In my online classes, I really benefit from being able to involve the students in the day-to-day operations of the class by having them read and respond to each other's writing. Instead of me being the only audience for their written work, the students read each other's blog posts and webpages; none of what they write is meant for my eyes only. So, I guess you could say in this case that "many eyes improve the writing," Multi oculi litteras excolunt, if you want a literary twist on today's saying: Multae manus onus levant.

In terms of proverb style, notice the nice alliteration at the beginning of the sentence: multae manus. If you wanted to imitate that in English, you might be justified in rendering the phrase "helping hands," which is not a literal translation but one which captures the style of the original. Luckily, though, I was able to get in some alliteration in the second half of the sentence - lighten the load - where Latin had all the alliteration up front. :-)

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

Multae manūs onus levant.


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