Bice asked me to translate "striving for boredom" into Latin. I'm slowly teaching myself Latin in my spare time, and am still very much a beginner. I couldn't just translate it off the cuff, so here's what I did.

First, I looked up to strive and boredom in my Latin dictionary. It offers contendere for to strive and lassitudofor boredom. Then I looked up for.

For has a lot of meanings. Does it refer to advantage, duration, price, being in lieu of something, a purpose or what? I figured "purpose" looked about right and of the two suggestions I picked ad, guessing that in wasn't quite right. I confirmed this by looking up the synonym towards.

The dictionary quite helpfully tells me that ad expects to be followed by an accusative. So, I flipped to the back of the dictionary where it explains how to turn a noun from the way it appears in the dictionary (i.e. the nominative case) into the accusative case.

Guess what? Latin turns out to be pretty complicated! The forms of a noun don't changed based on gender, as I had guessed, but on "declension", a made up category of grammar even sillier than gender. I knew lassitudo was feminine, but not which declension it was. The dictionary didn't give examples of feminine words ending with –do so I resorted to the Internet. Googling for "lassitudo declension" quickly shewed it to be in declinatio tertia.

"Let's see nominative, vocative, accusative—ah! lassitudonēs looks right". Except that lassitudonēs means "boredoms". This prompted a short philosophical tangent whereby Bice and I discussed whether one could have multiple boredoms. Results were inconclusive. Lassitudem looks to be right.

So far, we have ______ ad lassitudem. Time to learn verbs!

This is where I got really confused. Is striving is a gerund? I don't think so. It would be if the motto were "Striving is great", but in this case someone is actually striving.

Tense was less tricky. It's not past, it's not future, pluperfect or future perfect. It's not passive or subjunctive either, although I don't think these are tenses. Present seems to be the only sensible choice, and the examples in the dictionary helped verify this. Contendereends with –ere (not –ēre!), so it looks like it's in the third conjugation.

Latin verbs, like German ones, really seem to need a person. Cogito means I think. Bice and I decided that "We're striving" was the meaning we intended, so I went for third person. Contendo, contendis, contendit!

A quick Google for "contendit ad" showed that others have used similar constructs, notably contendit ad perfectionem, so at least it's not an original mistake.

So, that leaves us with contendit ad lassitudem. Not this blogger's motto, honestly!