August 11, 2013

Latin in Modern Media


Resurrexit vere
A dead language is alive and kicking online and on the airwaves
July 27, 2013

WHEN Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February he used Latin, giving a scoop to Giovanna Chirri, the only journalist present who understood his words. That was a timely reminder of Latin’s unlikely survival—and revival—as a living language. Radio Bremen, a German station, has broadcast a weekly news roundup called Nuntii Latini Septimanales since 2001. Finland’s YLE Radio 1 has run a similar show since 1989, with listeners in over 80 countries.

Twitter’s 140-character epigraphs and aphorisms are ideal for Latin: five words can often say more than ten English ones, notes David Butterfield, a Latinist at the University of Cambridge.

Like Google, Facebook offers users a Latin-language setting, replete with “Mihi placet” for “like” and “Quid in animo tuo est?” for “What’s on your mind?” Farther up the slopes of Parnassus is Schola, a Latin-only social-networking site created in 2008; Ephemeris, an online Latin newspaper started by a Polish journalist in 2004, has contributors in Colombia, Germany, Chile and America.

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