02 November 2008

Latin

Elitist and discriminatory

Ya know what? I'm not really interested in greasing the axle of the tumbril for idiots such as the Wuss Wosses and Brandons who in fact inhabit a world that toucheth not mine.

I reach for my musket far more readily for noble commanders who resign over needless deaths of their trusting charges or, as here, idiot ignoramus decisions to ban Latin as elitist.

What utter bilge.

"This includes bona fide, eg (exempli gratia), prima facie, ad lib or ad libitum, etc or et cetera, ie or id est, inter alia, NB or nota bene, per, per se, pro rata, quid pro quo, vis-a-vis, vice versa and even via.

Its list of more verbose alternatives, includes "for this special purpose", in place of ad hoc and "existing condition" or "state of things", instead of status quo.

In instructions to staff, the council said: "Not everyone knows Latin. Many readers do not have English as their first language so using Latin can be particularly difficult."

Of other local authorities to prohibit the use of Latin, Salisbury Council has asked staff to avoid the phrases ad hoc, ergo and QED (quod erat demonstrandum), while Fife Council has also banned ad hoc as well as ex officio.

Professor Mary Beard, a professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge said: "This is absolute bonkers and the linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing. English is and always has been a language full of foreign words. It has never been an ethnically pure language."

I'm too angry to say more.

Thank God I'm not in England now: I'd be striding into these places and spouting as many elitist phrases as I could come up with.

Next you'll hear is that m'lud is chided for using latin.

4 comments :

rwells said...

Busker locuta est; causa finita est.

Sibadd said...

"It is not right that voters should suffer because of some official’s ego." Ego? Sic. But at risk of appearing to defend the inexcusable, almost nothing is ever actually 'banned' (unless you can quote chapter and verse rather than journalistic licence). It's disappointing, but some council 'guidance' on language is reasonable - especially discouragement of the passive voice - the way government folk have long disassociated themselves from the consequences of their actions:
http://tiny.cc/frsnm
Ironically, most Council websites are in five or more languages, seek to help the deaf, blind and dyslexic, and avoid confusion in a complicated world. UK council tax demands arrive with far more information than income tax demands, yet the former are far more unpopular. Why?
This furore reminds me of something Alan Bennett said about the ruination of the St.James Bible. After sharing his anger with the English Prayer Book Society, he finished by saying something like "but do consider that if you're struggling up the stairs of a urine smelling tower block hoping to bring small succour to a desolate soul, the blighting of beautiful prose is the least of your concerns." Is it even remotely likely that *any* of this could stop you, your friends or those you admire being able to write as they like?

rwells said...

Why Can't the English

Simon Baddeley said...

Lovely YouTube extract RWells. Thanks...as also Jeremy Irons with Kiri Takanawa close by. What goes round..."It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him."GBS 1912 Pygmalion. I spoke like HM once (Mum was a deb), toned over the years to RE, while my wife is mining stock from Cannock and proud of it (as am I). My children come from Birmingham and are bi-lingual in many accents (from rap through deep Brummagen to imitating Dad's long A's) - though my daughter turned down her paternal grandfather's suggestion of elocution. "I'm a Brummy grandpa". Corfucius has the blarney and the gift of many tongues and - what I most envy - music. 'I looked over Jordan...' (:)) Rappers keep copies of the OED. Our rich language prospers (not least in the oratory of Obama) with a long tradition of borrowing from many others, and there's a lot less of that contempt that Shaw remarked - up and down.