Phrases used in Knightmare

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Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Canadanne » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:58 pm

I have a few questions and musings that all fit under this general subject line, so I'm posting them together! Feel free to discuss any others you're curious about.

Can anyone guess what Hordriss' expression "Akram vici" (or however it's spelt) is supposed to mean? It sounds like maybe Latin or Sanskrit but doesn't make much sense in either language, and even if it's just a made-up phrase with no real-world translation, I can't figure out the intended significance of it. These are all the uses I'm aware of:
-- He tells Helen he'll provide her with something to wear, then gestures toward the Eyeshield while saying "Akram vici". It's not clear whether he's doing something magical or just speaking in another language.
-- When Ben summons him using the TRICK spell, he kind of growls to himself "Akram vici! One has been tricked!" almost like it's an expression of anger/disbelief.
-- He uses it as part of an incantation ("Akram vici revelanti") to make Frightknight trophies appear for Julie & Barry's teams. When Dunstan wins, he just says "Revelanti" (presumably a "Reveal" command) to do the same thing.
What kind of phrase makes sense in all of these contexts?? He uses a similar incantation, "Akram vite", to make the sewer vehicle move in Dunstan's quest - in this case the second word is probably from the French meaning "fast", or possibly related to the Latin word for "life". Most of his magical commands have an obvious root in Latin or whatever, but I'm really stumped as to where this "Akram" comes from.

Also, what's the origin of "Caras carom" and does it have a literal translation? He uses that to express a range of emotions including frustration, horror and delight.

For a while I wondered why "Elf boots" is used to convey surprise or annoyance, until it occurred to me that Tolkien's elves don't actually wear boots, unlike the other races ("the Elf had no boots, but wore only light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow"). The ones we see in Knightmare are likewise either barefoot or just wearing light shoes. So it could be that "elf boots" represent something unexpected or unbelievable, in the same vein as "horse feathers" and similar phrases. :) (Compare with "Elf gems" which apparently signifies something delightful, I presume in reference to those highly-prized elvenstones.)

And finally... does anyone know if the "Ooooh, naaasty" catchphrase was borrowed from Leslie Phillips in The Navy Lark (consciously or otherwise)? It may just be coincidence, but their delivery is so similar, I'm wondering if Hugo Myatt was a fan!

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Pooka » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:12 pm

I'm going to transliterate "acram" /ækræm/ with a C rather than a K, as I think that has more possibilities in Latin.

"Vici" on its own is "overcome" in Latin (as in "victory", I assume) and "Acram" is "acre".

I believe that perhaps "acram vici" is some sort of dog-Latin for "a large amount/scale of victory", or possibly "a large power has been overcome". It's not grammatically correct - Google translates "acram vici" as "acre village", which isn't probably what he means.

In terms of "acram vite" (considering that "vite" on its own is "vine" as a noun), I'm going to assume that this is a contraction of "vitale" - vitality - and that he was, essentially, giving the boat 'life' insofar as making it move. Other than that, I'm at a loss.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Norgate was making it up...
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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Picklemyfav » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:10 pm

is root and fern a phrase used by elves to show surprise and shock or is it an elf version of swearing? someone told me off for saying root and fern once and told me it was swearing in elvish........ is that true?
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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Pooka » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:32 pm

Picklemyfav wrote:is root and fern a phrase used by elves to show surprise and shock or is it an elf version of swearing?
I think that the phrase used by Pickle is "rook and fen!" - a rook is a scavenging bird similar to a crow, and a fen is a type of wetland; there are some famous ones in the East of England.

I think it's a reasonable assumption that Pickle is just using nature-related words as an exclamation of surprise. It also rhymes with "glen", as in "there's something stirring in this...".
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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Canadanne » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:50 pm

I noted the same possible Latin translations for "Acram vici", but it just didn't seem to make any sense in context except for the trophy spell? (EDIT: Oh, I see how it could also refer to *his* power being overcome with the TRICK spell... but not really how it relates to the Eyeshield?)

Pickle's phrase is "root and fen", to which he sometimes adds a rhyming line such as "tree and glen". He does use it to express surprise, concern, frustration etc, but considering he is saying it in front of children, I doubt it's actual swearing. :P Oakley comes out with similar expressions like "bark and trunk".

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Canadanne » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:39 pm

Pooka wrote:"Vici" on its own is "overcome" in Latin (as in "victory", I assume) and "Acram" is "acre".

I believe that perhaps "acram vici" is some sort of dog-Latin for "a large amount/scale of victory", or possibly "a large power has been overcome".
Canadanne wrote:I noted the same possible Latin translations for "Acram vici", but it just didn't seem to make any sense in context except for the trophy spell? (EDIT: Oh, I see how it could also refer to *his* power being overcome with the TRICK spell... but not really how it relates to the Eyeshield?)
...I suppose the big thing that's overcome by the Eyeshield could be the problem of not being able to see?

And the big thing being animated with "Acram vite" would be the platform they're standing on. Or maybe it just means "a large amount of speed/vitality".

It does kiiiiiinda work as an explanation, if you squint hard enough... though heaven knows if that's what Tim/Clifford had in mind!

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Drassil » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:38 pm

In Ancient Greek, akros refers to a pinnacle or extreme. Hordriss clearly enjoyed sounding arcane but was never a purist, and may have been mixing Greek and Latin (as hybrid words such as television do).

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Canadanne » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:49 pm

Drassil wrote:In Ancient Greek, akros refers to a pinnacle or extreme. Hordriss clearly enjoyed sounding arcane but was never a purist, and may have been mixing Greek and Latin (as hybrid words such as television do).
I think "acram" can also mean a headland in Latin. Either way, it fits with the idea of it representing "something big".

Thanks for contributing to this thread, you guys - I wasn't sure if anyone would respond!

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by HobGoblin » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:45 pm

I imagine these phrases were used because they sound good - trying to decipher them is probably a dangerous rabbit hole to climb into. However...

Perhaps worth noting that Akram means 'most generous' in Arabic. Makes sense when Hordriss is giving something - be it the eye shield, trophies, life etc. It could be used sarcastically when he's tricked...
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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Canadanne » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:56 pm

It seems that in Sanskrit, "akram" is a verb meaning "go to" and "vici" is a noun that can mean "hell", but I somehow doubt that's what Hordriss was saying...!

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Mystara » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:04 am

Of course, it could just be random sounding magical words that occurred to/were heard by Clifford/Tim.
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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Drassil » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:53 pm

I think we all realise that's closest to the truth, but it is fun for some of us to speculate about a hidden meaning. Sometimes it is there. For example, the Hand of Atrab, the supposed magic gauntlet in Series 6: forum member Fury once pointed out that 'atrab' means 'grasp' in Creole. I personally would find it hard to dismiss that as random.

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Mystara » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:21 pm

Oh I agree, it's fun to look for a hidden meaning.
But I think it's important to consider how likely each theory is, at the same time. It's human nature to look for patterns in things where none exist.
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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by Canadanne » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:40 pm

I was just curious as to why he kept using this particular phrase, especially in that first scene introducing the Eyeshield, where there isn't any clear reason for him to be saying it. (It would make sense if he was casting a spell to make the shield appear, or something. But it's already there, and they didn't add any magical sound effects or graphics to imply that he made something happen.) So I was wondering about the intent more than any literal meaning. The words themselves may well be random, though names and spells in Knightmare do tend to have a basis in existing languages.

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Re: Phrases used in Knightmare

Post by pjmlfc05 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 5:33 pm

Mystara wrote:Of course, it could just be random sounding magical words that occurred to/were heard by Clifford/Tim.
I think this would be closer to the truth and would be most likely!
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