Trying to translate this phrase for the opening of a rather tongue-in-cheek slideshow.

It's supposed to be a general question, more passive. Not as in what does the listener/reader like about Latin, but 'what is there/exists which is pleasing/likable about it?'.

I'm fairly unfamiliar with placeo (and latin in general sometimes) would it look like:

  1. Quid de lingua latina placendum est?
  2. Quid de lingua latina placet?
  3. Quid placens de lingua latina est/exsistat?

Any help/input would be very much appreciated!

1 Answer 1


Well, for example, in Martial we have this:

quod tibi non placeat, Maeciliane, quid est? ("What is there to displease you Maecilianus?")

So, based on this you can write:

Quid est quod tibi de linqua Latina placeat?

However, when talking about liking something, often the word soleo is used.

Concerning the word order:

There are different orders in which the words could come. The word order in Martial is a little strange because he is writing in verse and if he put the quid est at the beginning, which would be colloquial, then the sentence would not scan very well.

I put de lingua Latina where I did because that is more or less normal for the type of sentence that it is. For example, you certainly could make it read quid est de lingua Latina quod tibi placeat or quid est quod de lingua Latina tibi placeat, but that is a more English-like word order, especially the former. A Roman would most likely keep quid est quod together as a unit. For example:

quid est quod de voluntate caelestium dubitare possimus? --Cicero

I don't know exactly why Romans tend to order things this way. I am just kind of following their style in my composition.

  • 1
    Can you comment on that word order? I think de lingua Latina should go outside the relative clause: "What is there about Latin that..." Also, you might want another dative here, like alicui or nobis etc.
    – cmw
    Oct 22, 2023 at 0:47
  • @cmw I don't see why that should be necessary. For example: da pellere luctus, nec tibi de tantis placeat me fluctibus unum litus. (Statius) Do you mean replace tibi with nobis? It already says "What is there to displease you about the Latin language?" How does nobis add to that? Oct 22, 2023 at 11:41
  • @cmw I elaborated on the word order Oct 22, 2023 at 14:06

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