mardi 8 mai 2012

The living dead

"Jippus in horto ambulabat. Omnium taedebat. Ecce autem! foramen in saepe factum conspexit, non ita magnum. Mirabatur Jippus quid rerum trans saepem appareret. Regia domus? Murus? An heros? Humi subsidens per foramen spectavit. Quidnam conspexit? Nasum pusillum, osculum, ocellos duos caesios. Ecce puellam, non maiorem Jippo. ‘Quid est tibi nomen?’ rogavit Jippus. ‘Jannica sum,’ puella dixit."

*Translation: Jip was walking in the garden. He was tired of everything. But look, what did he see there? A small whole in the hedge. What can be at the other side of the hedge? Jip thought. A palace? A fence? A hero? He sat on the ground and looked through the whole. What did he see? A small nose. A small mouth. And two grey eyes. There was a girl, not taller than Jip. "What is your name?"  asked Jip. "Janneke", said the girl.

This is a phrase in Latin, one of the 'dead' languages we know in the world. Jippus et Jannica is a parody on the Dutch book: 'Jip en Janneke', which has been a popular book by children for many years. The Dutch book is written by Annie M.G. Schmidt, the Latin version is a translation.

Is Latin a dead language?

Latin is not spoken any more, but many of us still learn this language in High School. Many languages in Europe are a derivative of Latin, and it is still widely used in biomedics and the creation of new words. Even though English derives from a Germanic Language, around sixty per cent of the language comes from Latin. The roman languages like Italian, Spanish and French derive directly from Latin, and therefore they are easier to learn when studying Latin first. Latin is intensively grammatical, so looking at grammar in your native language is therefore highly recommended. The largest institution that is still writing and even speaking in Latin is the catholic church. You often still see motto's in Latin, and Wikipedia even has 70,000 articles written on the Latin page

Cicero, Plato, Shakespeare and many other 'fathers' of the past have written their books and plays in Latin. Even though they are dead, we are still learning the wise ideas and words they wrote. More and more students are taking the Latin exam, and seem interested in this language. They learn about the history of Rome and the understanding of Western civilization, sociology, culture and philosophy. Learning Latin helps them also to expand their vocabulary and has a positive result on their test results in general.

Having this all said: what do you think? Is Latin dead or alive?

Source: Athenaeum-Polak & v Gennep