Monday, 3 November 2008

Another Victory For Ignorance

Latin words have been banned by Bournemouth Council, among others, because they might not be understood by some people. If someone mistakes eg for egg they should be gaffer taped to the nearest floor for safety's sake. Some sixty per cent of English words are derived from Latin. Are Council employees to be restricted to grunts and swear words in their conversations with their employers?
I remember a scouse Principal noting on a minute that since the amount of money involved was very small no futher action would be taken because of "de minimus". So, dear reader, I corrected it to read de minimis (de takes the ablative case [plural in the phrase de minimis non curat lex] and not the subjective or vocative) and unfortunately the cock discovered my correction. As a result, Latin was forbidden on minutes originating within his bailiwick. Ironically, henceforward I was persona non grata .
But Latin is a beautiful language whose study, in addition to the pure intellectual joy one gains by mastering it, offers insights into other European languages. If money is wasted on translation services ( if someone wishes to live in England they must learn English) and if even the most Prescottian chav can text abbreviated nonsense on mobile phones (I didn't know that the majority of their users had opposable thumbs) then time should be found to teach Latin in all schools. Or why don't people turn their tellies off when a soap or a phone-in talent/ donkey parade is on and read a book, learn a skill and think for themselves.

8 comments:

haddock said...

I was recently chatting to a Polish girl about English; she said her language and hers had a lot of common, latin derived, words so that she could make an educated guess as to the meaning of an unknown English word.( How to make head or tail of Wiltshire dialect is another problem though. )

wv= uncifies which looks a bit latin derived

Gallimaufry said...

I knew a very nice Polish girl called Malgorzata which sounds a bit like mangelwurzel so I'm sure that Wiltshire dialect can be guessed at. She told me that Polish sounds like walking through fallen leaves. Very poetic and very true. I wonder what she's doing now.

CherryPie said...

Sounds like another stupid idea to me.

Gallimaufry said...

Mine or theirs? :-)

CherryPie said...

Theirs :-)

Gallimaufry said...

On reflection, I consider my suggestion that people learn to think for themselves is the most dangerous prospect for the professional polical class and others of a common purpose. For the taxpayers would no longer be docile and easily governed. Fancy having to take account of the electorate's wishes?

Liz said...

I am a latin fan and did have a latin book for Christmas last year. Sadly I have not made time to study it.

Gallimaufry said...

If there's one thing tempus (neuter, subjective) does is fugit (fugio, fugere, fugi, fugitum). Try to read the book next year, "in order that the barbarians will not overcome the Britons" as we used to say in Latin lessons.