While asking this question where I was asking about building a brand name and motto using Latin, I realized that my choice of name is incorrect.

If you want to go with lux astrum or something similar, I recommend caution. The form astrum as a plural genitive is prone to misinterpretation. Especially some who have studied Latin are likely to mock it as a grammatical error, as the short form of the first and second declension plural genitive ending is not that well known. If people read astrum as singular (as was my first thought), lux astrum does not make sense. Therefore I recommend changing it to lux astrorum ("light of stars") or lux astri ("light of star").

-- Joonas Ilmavirta

The question therefore becomes this: To avoid changing any material already created, is there an acceptable translation for the phrase Lux Astrum, that doesn't stretch too much - i.e. can actually be considered correct form by somebody with complete lack of project-relevant information?

up vote 7 down vote accepted

can actually be considered correct form by somebody with complete lack of project-relevant information?

Those who don’t know Latin are clueless and won’t question your wording.

Those who know some Latin know that this phrase is not “normal” Latin, and will mark it as incorrect.

Those who have a very good knowledge of Latin might try to save the situation by remembering that there could possibly exist a secundary form astrum, instead of the regular astrorum, whence the translation “light of the stars”, or “starlight”. (I am not sure of the actual existence of such a form for the word astrum, but let’s say it doesn’t matter...)

This is it. Ways out? I can think of three of them:

1) Lux asterum does work and means “starlight”. It uses the word aster, -eris instead of astrum, -i. It is rare, but Macrobius used it with the meaning “star” and Plinius used it with the meaning “aster”. Maybe you can superimpose the missing “e” somewhere above/between “t” and “r” in the existing material and call it an original graphic twist.

2) Lucis astrum does work and means “Star of light”, which is very close to the “bright star” you mentioned in your first question. This expression exists and was used in the Middle Ages in reference to the Virgin Mary (source: Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, II.,n. 58, 24: nomen matris, lucis astrum, vel odoris alabastrum...) Of course, it is difficult to transform “x” into “cis”...

3) If J.K.Rowling could get away with riddiculus, and a lot of similar “wrong” Latin expressions, you probably shouldn’t care either...

  • 3
    +1 for pointing out J.K.Rowling's "Latin" – Rafael Apr 2 at 18:21
  • Relevance refers to the brand, not Latin. Someone who knows the idea behind the branding will quickly understand what it is supposed to mean and might go with it. I'm currently between your third option and complete rebranding. Realizing I've been using wrong phrasing kinda bummed me out. – GregKos Apr 2 at 20:12
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    Is this really what this site is for? I mean: doing free consultancy work for a commercial enterprise? – fdb Apr 3 at 13:05
  • @fdb Good question. I wrote up a meta question on this topic for further discussion. I don't know how our users perceive questions with a commercial aspect like this, but I would like to learn. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 3 at 14:08
  • @fdb This is not a commercial enterprise at this time. It's my free time project. If I had founded a company I assume I would have hired a marketer to do the branding for me. But as an amateur who tries to figure this out, isn't SE just the place? Not sure either - I will look into the meta thread. – GregKos Apr 4 at 20:12

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