Education: Hic, Haec, Hoax

Stumping the backwoods during one of his presidential campaigns, Andrew Jackson decided to impress his bumpkin constituents with his scholarship, let fly in bear-shaped tones with all the Latin he knew: "E pluribus unum, my friends, sine qua non, ne plus ultra, multo in parvo!" Applause resounded for miles; Jackson not only won the election, but also got an honorary LL.D. Or so says Allen Walker Read, associate professor of English at Columbia University, who tucked tongue in cheek and presented choice samples of fractured Latin in an address to the Linguistic Society of America.

In 1832, recounts Read, a Canadian sheriff...

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