Oops: staff in town halls in Bournemouth, England, NOT banned from using Latin phrases

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bournemouth Town Hall.

Looks like this was actually a false alarm and there's no banning of Latin phrases in Bournemouth:

BOURNEMOUTH council says claims in the national media that it has banned staff from using Latin words are untrue.


The councils were said to have labelled Latin “elitist and discriminatory” because people whose first language was not English would not understand it. It prompted a furious response from many Latin scholars, including Professor Mary Beard of Cambridge University, who said it was the linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing.

But Bournemouth Borough Council has denied issuing any such directive to its staff, adding that there is no intention to do so in the future.


“Inaccurate national reporting has caused a number of our residents to get in touch and ask us if the claims about Bournemouth council banning Latin are true.

“We are pleased to let them know that they are not. We have made it very clear to the media from the outset that no Latin phrases have been banned and there is no intention to do so.”

Mr Smith added that advice given to its staff in 2006 encouraged “plain language and clear information that is easy to understand and appropriate to the audience concerned”.

Si finis bonus est, totum bonum erit.

There's nothing wrong with a simple guideline about using clear language when writing, and in fact that is one of the reasons why constructed or revived languages are often proposed as IALs, because it's almost impossible to carry the slang and idiom one uses in one's native tongue into another language, meaning that phrases like "in two shakes of a lamb's tail" for example have to be translated into the equivalent of "very soon".


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