I was very happy to receive the following comment recently from one Br Alexis:
I was passing by when I saw your Latin quote…if you mean to say
“A sinner among sinners, and a madman among the mad…” [yes, that’s right]
I am an expert on Latin, and so, I humbly suggest the correct Latin for that would be
peccator apud pecatores, e insanus apud insanos
since inter, means ‘between’ in the sense of middle between two positions, but apud, means ‘among’ in the sense of human company…/
Glad to take your advice, Brother. I will make the change.
Br Alexis has recently started a webpage here: http://fromrome.wordpress.com/
I have had two replies to this. The first is from John Nolan (who had difficulty opting in the combox):
BTW, I tried to comment on the previous post, but for some reason couldn’t get the page up. ‘Inter’ in Latin can mean both ‘between’ and ‘among’. Examples of the latter would be ‘inter alia’, ‘inter multos’, ‘primus inter pares’, ‘Inter Insigniores’ (Decree of the CDF 1976) and ‘Inter oves locum praesta’ (Dies Irae). ‘Apud’ is also correct, although its primary meaning corresponds to the French ‘chez’ or the German ‘bei’.
The second is from a private emailer:
Re: your motto change. Brother Alexis is right to say that “apud” bears the meaning “amongst” and that “inter” bears the meaning “between” but not so absolutely correct in my view in suggesting the former is more correct than the latter for the purposes what your motto intended to convey.
The fact is that “apud” also bears other meanings, and its primary or more usual meaning is not “amongst” but “at” or “in the presence of”. “Inter” mainly means “between” when two alternatives are posed. It means very comfortably and frequently “amongst” especially when more elements are contemplated, and this is the meaning that was most obvious and understood by me and, I venture to say, others who will have understood very well what you were saying. I will cite you just one example that immediately springs to my mind: The Good Friday hymn “Crux Fidelis Inter Omnes, Arbor una nobilis…..”. A common English rendition of this is “Faithful Cross above all others, one and only noble tree…” In other words, it is properly translated as “Faithful Cross amongst all others”.
In my opinion, “inter” for “amongst” is no less correct than “apud”, (and I am inclined to say it is more correct), and to my sensitive ear is much nicer. It is much smoother and easier-sounding and pronounceable to say “peccatores” after the open ended “in-tah” than to say “p” after “d”; whilst the final “d” of “apud” causes no such problem with the “i” of “insanos”, the final “r” of the “inter” glides the mouth to the open-beginning “in-“ of “insanos” thus: “insanus intah r-insanos”.
Just a view. I love questions of language and can’t resist discussing them.
Given both opinions, I think I will return to my original. Unless there are any other comments to the contrary?