The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48286   Message #731282
Posted By: Wilfried Schaum
17-Jun-02 - 02:47 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Latin form of Old MacDonald's Farm
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Latin form of Old MacDonald's Farm
Lectoribus benevolis salutem!

A short critique of the Macdonald versions:
Macdonaldus senex fundum habuit ... et in hoc fundo nonnullas boves domesticas habuit ...
Sounds pretty classic, but is too long to fit the tune. Considering the original "a cow", the other translation should be preferred:
et in hoc fundo habuit bovem (or vaccam)
Wrong/correct forms et in hoc fundo habuit carnem canem
et in hoc fundo habuit galenas. (chicken) gallinas, better sg. gallinam
et in hoc fundo habuit anetras. (duck) anates, better sg. anatem
et in hoc fundo, habuit porkem porcum
et in hoc fundo, habuit vinem vinum
Allow me to discuss some grammatical and technical problems.
Considering the number of syllables allowed by the tune, the translations into Latin should be kept as short as possible. Albeit Latin prefers habere, possidere for the substantial possession, the dativus possessivus is not ruled out. In this case we should recur to it. For the sake of brevity I shouldn't object to leave out the habuit in the first line and define the past by a fuit in the second one:
Macdonaldo seni rus ...
Et in rure fuit bos ...
(Rus, not only the land in general, but also a defined part of land; the same as fundus or villa: a farm)
... Et in rure fuit canis
... Et in rure fuit gallina
... Et in rure fuit anas
... Et in rure fuit sus
I still remember the English version my English master taught us at school which we sung with joy. To enliven the Latin lessons one can use the Latin version, too; I think my alternate version will make it easier for the children.

If you want to hear the weekly news in Latin, switch to:, a service of Radio Finland.
A Web periodical in Latin you'll find at

Since Winnie ille Puh was mentioned, let me tell you about some more translations in my shelves: Tristitia salve : fabula amatoria / Francisca Sagana. E Gallico in Latinam sermonem conversa ab Alexandro Lenardo. - Paris: Julliard, 1963. (Here we find "Aqua vitae modo Scotorum praeparata"; a name which needs longer to be pronounced than the fluid to be gulped)
You have guessed it: Bonjour tristesse / par Francoise Sagan
And naturally not to be forgotten: this jolly fierce fighter from the shores of Gaul. In 1973 the first volume Asterix le Gaulois was translated into Latin: Asterix Gallus, published in Stuttgart by Ehapa Verlag. The book is a runner and has a lot of reprints, the last one in 2001.
My Latin version of Pinocchio has vanished mysteriously; maybe it shows up again in one of my daughters' dens.
There also is a Latin version of Haegar terribilis; I don't know whether this Danish Viking cartoon is known in America.

Valete Wilfried