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I need assistance in correctly identifying which statement makes sense:

Nostrae Cor Jesu Fons Sapientiae or Nostrae Cor Iesu Fons Sapientiae

There is a debate that the second statement is the correct one but I am not sure. Note that the statement is used in the logo for my institution: Sacred Heart Junior College.

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Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Welcome to the community! What did you want either of those phrases to mean? It will help to know what it is you are trying to convey in Latin.
    – Adam
    Jan 5, 2021 at 1:07
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    There's no grammatical difference between the two statements; the second one just uses an I for the same consonant that is a J in the first. It's really just a stylistic choice.
    – Adam
    Jan 5, 2021 at 1:17
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    @Adam So Jesu and Iesu mean the same thing?
    – azetina
    Jan 5, 2021 at 1:19
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    Yes! :) There is no J in classical Latin, but one was substituted in later to make it easier to distinguish when an I is a consonant or a vowel.
    – Adam
    Jan 5, 2021 at 1:20
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    You can find the meaning on the Wikipedia entry for Sacred Heart College: Our Sacred Heart of Jesus, source of all our wisdom
    – Adam
    Jan 5, 2021 at 1:33

1 Answer 1

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First, as noted in the comments, some people like to use the letter J when writing Latin, others don't (and just write I instead). There's a distinction, as seen in pairs like Julius vs Iulus, but the Romans didn't distinguish them in writing and it seldom creates actual ambiguity. So there's no difference in meaning between the two.

Literally, that meaning is "Heart of Jesus, Font of Our Wisdom". If I were writing this, I would rearrange the words and say Cor Jesu Fons Sapientiae Nostrae, putting "our" next to "wisdom", but this way isn't incorrect: Latin word order is fairly free, so the words can be rearranged to some extent to sound better.

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  • there's an interesting contrast between the i/j distinction and the u/v distinction. In both cases. Only one letter form was used in Classical Latin, and the other developed from it in the Middle Ages. One represents a consonant, and the other a vowel. And yet, solely using v is almost unheard of in modern printed texts, whilst it's easy to find modern printed texts that only use i
    – Tristan
    Jan 5, 2021 at 15:55
  • @Tristan I think the main difference is that modern readers are familiar with I as a vowel, but not with V (so you can still find editions that only use U for both consonant and vowel). But agreed, it's strange how the U/V distinction has caught on more thoroughly than the I/J one.
    – Draconis
    Jan 5, 2021 at 17:36
  • oh yeah, people are obviously more familiar with I as a vowel, but many people are not familiar with use of I as a consonant. So the situation with I/J is reversed from the U/V situation, in the former the one that became the vowel is the original form, in the latter it's the one that became the consonant
    – Tristan
    Jan 6, 2021 at 11:06

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