Amo, Amas, Amat..............

................or oderint dum metuant* UPDATE IN RED

As I'm lazy and wanted to watch the Formula 1, I didn't bother chasing up a story in the Mail which had all the hallmarks of ruminant produce. Fear not, for 5CC sniffed the same odour and demolishes the story: that Latin is being banished by local councils 'in case they offend immigrants'. The story seems to be lifted from The Telegraph story here.

Now, I've got an interest here, proud as I am of my Latin O Level. The joys of Roman poetry and the sadness at not being able to converse with Centurions in Chester.

  • Salisbury Council has asked staff to avoid the phrases ad hoc, ergo and QED (quod erat demonstrandum),
The fact (not de facto) that they have to explain what QED stands for, rather proves the need for
the this simplification.
  • In instructions to staff, the (Bournemouth) council said: "Not everyone knows Latin. Many readers do not have English as their first language so using Latin can be particularly difficult."
The Plain English Campaign has welcomed the move. It is similar to what has been happening in Courts for quite a few years now with words like plaintiff, affidavit etc (but not et cetera) being replaced. I like Latin and am probably one of those 'self-important' people referred to:
  • However, the Plain English Campaign has congratulated the councils for introducing the bans.

    Marie Clair, its spokesman, said: "If you look at the diversity of all our communities you have got people for whom English is a second language. They might mistake eg for egg and little things like that can confuse people.

    "At the same time it is important to remember that the national literacy level is about 12 years old and the vast majority of people hardly ever use these terms.

    "It is far better to use words people understand. Often people in power are using the words because they want to feel self important. It is not right that voters should suffer because of some official's ego."

Marks off for using the Latin 'ego'.

Some of the poetry by Catullus is pretty racy stuff:

Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa.
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,
nunc in quadriviis et angiportis
glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

Caelius, our Lesbia, that Lesbia,
that same Lesbia, whom Catullus loved
more than himself and more than all his own,
now loiters at the cross-roads and in the backstreets
ready to toss-off the grandsons of the brave Remus.

Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo,
I'll bugger you and stuff your gobs,

*Let them hate as long as they fear.


The sub-editor has launched into action and the headline has changed to add a bit about elitism:

The councils who ban Latin words because they are 'elitist and discriminatory' and confuse immigrants

This is a trick the Mail plays from time to time so that when a link is posted, it looks like the indignant critic is wrong. Anyhow, no further comments have been received but the damage was already done by the original headline.
  • Like most readers of the Daily Mail, I depair at ever getting our country to function for the benefit of the indigenous population who actually pay taxes for this rubbish.

    - ken, london england, 02/11/2008 12:44

  • For anyone living permanently in Britain their first language should be english.
    A language spoken and widely understood worldwide.

    - john b, leeds UK, 2/11/2008 12:17

  • Wouldn't it simply be easier and cheaper if all English, Welsh, Scottish and Northem Irish people were told to get out of the UK?

    - L. G., Berkshire, 2/11/2008 11:09