Back to Index

LANGUAGE: The language battles



WAIS Engineers are not narrow specialists, as this message from Michel May demonstrates:

"Caesar was of a patrician family, being descended from Aeneas and reputedlly the goddess Venus, a matter he used politically. He was universally acclaimed as a polished orator. The Commentarii de bello Gallico and the De bello civili have sometimes been attacked as self-serving, but not so far as I know on the grounds of vulgarity. How he spoke to his troops may have been another matter.

On the eh-umm question, a Chinese filler is "ni ge" (approximately) and a Japanese one is "anoooo..."

Vulgar Latin was the language of soldiers, and presumably Caesar used it when he spoke to his troops. There are languages in which such a language split occurs. In Arabic, a polished speaker would use classical Arabic, but he would use the local dialect in common speech. this can be a political issue. In Greece, the generals tried to impose classical Greek, but the people used demotic Greek. Following protests, a compromise version was adopted, leaving school children thorougly confused. Can Harry Papassoteriou tell us the present situation?

In Shakespeare only the common folk speak ordinary English. The rest speak a beautiful poetic language. I would like to see Shakespeare rewritten in the common language, cuss words, ums etc. included. The plays would lose thewir poetic charm but be closer to the truth. The same is true of the Spanish plays of the Golden Age.

Che, I wonder what the situation in Argentina is. Would a politician address port workers in lunfardo and then give a speech in congress in normal idioma nacional, or would he speak good Spanish?

Ronald Hilton - 4/12/01


Webmaster