Essential Latin phrases for your next trip to southern Europe…

You never know when a little conversational Latin might come in handy. Some years ago at a lunch party I sat next to a lovely lawyer – the father of a friend of mine – whose only quirk was that halfway through a sentence he would switch from speaking English, into Latin. He would continue in Latin for several minutes before casually resuming English.

Latin not exactly being my second language, I smiled beatifically and used the downtime to chew my food.

Funny Latin phrases

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare. (I think some people in togas are plotting against me.)

What made it even more unusual was that far from this being in a romantic, vine-draped al fresco restaurant in Tuscany … or even a studious, book-lined coffee shop in Oxford or Cambridge … this was on a farm in rural Leicestershire, England.

No wonder the lawyer’s wife drank. She would be on the tipple of sweet vermouth from shortly after breakfast and by tea-time was almost catatonic. I guess her Latin wasn’t much better than mine.

To help you avoid a similar fate, here are some Latin phrases you might find useful on your travels

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