New Latin State Mottos

Dani Bostick at McSweeney's Internet Tendencies brings us a list of proposed state mottos that are more realistic and descriptive than their existing mottos. They aren't always as flattering as those state governments would prefer.

California
Ubi secedere possumus?
“When can we secede?”

Michigan
Nos paenitet aquam atram habere
“We are sorry we have poisonous water”

New Mexico
Nolite pittas super tectos iacere
“Don’t throw pizzas on our roofs”

I wondered how the Latin held up in translation, since some of the English words were never used in ancient Rome, so I ran a few of the mottos through Google Translate. North Carolina's motto is supposed to mean “No barbecue without vinegar.” Google Translate rendered it as "Nothing reigns on smoking without acid." Okay then. Pennsylvania's motto came out a hot mess, while Ohio's, Alaska's, and Utah's translated perfectly. I'm sure Bostick did the best she could with what she had to work with. Read all the new state mottos in Latin at McSweeney's.  -via Metafilter


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Brother is a Latin scholar. He frequently has been asked to translate mottoes into Latin. Most of them turn out as well as North Carolina's. I forgive them.
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