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I am translating the phrase "Songs of the wild dog" into Latin, and I have the following:

Canti Cantus Canis Feri

For context, this is the title of a music album I am working on. Aside from accuracy in translation, could this phrase mean anything else? I like double-meanings, so it would be a big bonus to me if the translation of the phrase had additional valid interpretations.

14

The regular noun cantus is of the fourth declension, so the genitive would be cantus. Because cantus can also be nominative or accusative plural, and the other two words are also multisignificant, you'd get many neat possibilities, some farther fetched than others:

CANTVS CANIS FERI:

  • Song of the wild dog
  • Wild songs of a dog
  • You sing songs of the wild
  • Strike up songs of the dog (ferio can mean "strike, punish, sacrifice, offer")
  • Beat the dogs of song (alternative accusative plural -is)
  • O, dog, you must sacrifice songs!
  • O, sung dog, you must sacrifice! (participle cantus of cano, nominativus pro vocativo)

Etc. You figure out how all of this is possible!

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  • The vocative of *cantus, -a, -um" would be "cante." Word order is why I stayed away from some of those meanings, though it's technically possible in poetry.
    – cmw
    Mar 24 at 0:27
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    Cantus, -us also an enchantment, a charm.
    – Hugh
    Mar 24 at 6:45
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    @Hugh: The charms of a wild dog, I like it.
    – Cerberus
    Mar 24 at 19:22
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    @Adam: Hah, Google Translate is always wrong in unpredictable ways!
    – Cerberus
    Mar 24 at 19:22
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    @Cerberus: No kidding. Try asking it to translate goatherd into Latin.
    – Joshua
    Mar 24 at 21:24
3

Canti is incorrect. You want cantus. Note that the ending of cantus is long, as it's a 4th declension noun.

Technically, feri could refer to cantus (wild songs) or canis (wild dog), but because of the word order reading it so as a title isn't really natural.

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  • Thanks! I made a novice assumption it was second declension.
    – Adam
    Mar 24 at 14:22
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    @Adam as a heuristic, nouns formed from verbs, describing the action (not the result) and ending in -us are very often fourth declension, e.g. exitus (from exire; exit, outcome, death), volatus (from volare; flight), usus (from uti; use) and many more. Mar 27 at 14:43

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