National Motto(e)s

Navis volitans mihi anguillis plena est
Created with The Keep Calm-O-Matic

Do you know your country’s national motto?

Not all countries have them. Many are in Latin and other ancient languages, and most are a bit bland and include things like freedom, liberty, unity, strength, work, progress, God, etc.

Here are some more interesting ones:

Isle of Man (Latin): Quocunque Ieceris Stabit (Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand) – refers to the triskelion on the flag.

– Luxembourg (Luxembourgish): Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn (We wish to remain what we are)

– Moldova (Romanian): Limba noastră-i o comoară (Our Language is a Treasure)

– Somalia: Go forward, and never backward

– South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Latin): Leo terram propriam protegat (Let the lion protect his own land)

– Switzerland (Latin): Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno (One for all, all for on)

– Turks and Caicos Islands: Beautiful By Nature, Clean By Choice

You can see a list of them on Wikipedia, and here’s an infographic with a selection of them:

From The Translation Company blog

If you were asked to think of a new motto for your country, perhaps one that reflects how you feel about the country, what would you suggest?

Here’s a few I came up with:

Nid yn bwrw glaw trwy’r amser (Not Always Raining – the English version comes from Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels)
Mae dreigiau yma (Here Be Dragons)
Gwlad Gydgordiol (Harmonious Country)

Perfer et Obdura (Keep Calm and Carry On) [source]
Let’s Not Make a Fuss
Ignosce mihi! (Sorry!)
Terra antiqua (The Antique Terror, or possibly the Old Land)
Navis volitans mihi anguillis plena est (My hovercraft is full of eels)

3 thoughts on “National Motto(e)s

  1. I note that both Wikipedia and your heading spell the plural of ‘motto’ as ‘mottos’. I believe that this is American spelling: in English English, it should be ‘mottoes’.
    Anyway, I’m pleased that my country’s motto is translated correctly: I have so often seen it rendered as ‘Wherever you throw it, I stand’.

  2. I have to say, the motto of Turks and Caicos Islands is my favorite. A lot of motto(e)s are outright megalomaniac.

    Also there is some irony in the motto of Moldova, since they can’t decide whether their language is Moldovan or Romanian.

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