Latin - "We had all hated learning it, but basked in what it had done for us"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Respublica Benini, olim nomine Dahomey cognita, est civitas Africae occidentalis. Brevem oram maritimam habet: Sinum Benini. Terrae vicinae sunt Togum (in occasum), Nigeria (in orientem), Burcina Faso, et Niger (in septentrionem).

That's an interesting way to put it. Just about everyone you ask that studied Latin for a while in school will say either 1) I loved it and wished I had learned more, or 2) I hated it but now appreciate it and wish I had learned more. This journalist says that:
For myself, as a journalist who has had to work in Francophone Africa and France herself, who has also had the good fortune to be based as a correspondent in Rome for a year, and who has worked extensively in central and Latin America, Latin quite literally saved my life.
? He doesn't detail as to how Latin quite literally saved his life. Was it through being able to understand a lot of French or Italian thanks to the study of Latin alone? Nevertheless:
But what this improbable debate on the floor of a British newsroom concluded was that Latin had given us logic that extended beyond language. Not only had it explained language construction in its most basic form – the declining of verbs, the qualifying words, plurals and the rest – but it had given us routes to problem-solving in arenas beyond language.
Besides the obvious advantage of knowing the etymology of words thanks to Latin, one other reason that studying it is so beneficial is that it is now almost completely culturally neutral and now lacking in dialects, unlike something like Spanish with a large number of regional variants that kind of get in the way of of a focus on etymology alone. The lack of fluent speakers also means that any Latin spoken is necessarily slow, making it more of an academic subject than a living language.

IALs are more or less the same too in this respect, which is why some like Interlingua like to advertise themselves as a modern version of Latin. That's one reason why I don't see it as wise to replace words like hic with aqui in Interlingua, because that makes it seem more like a modified Spanish (or other language) and less like a culturally neutral descendent of Latin.


Unknown said...

"[Latin...] explained language construction in its most basic form – the declining of verbs, the qualifying words, plurals and the rest [...]"

This is hardly surprising. This happens not due to some inherent property of the Latin language, but due to the fact that the grammar tradition in most European languages (including English) is based on grammatical terminology and conceptual framework coined to dissect the Latin language itself.

That is why Latin fits so well with that metalinguistical terminology; in fact, it is the metalinguistical terminology (inappropriately adopted to analyse European languages different from Latin) that fits well with Latin due to the historical origins of that terminology.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP