|ECCE! IV As Editor|
In this, our latest Issue, an account written by Ken, first of all amused, and then intrigued me. ( I suggest you read it first and then come back, possibly, to this.)
Brainwashed as we all seem to be by the seeming necessity for avoidance of eye contact on public transport, the possibility that someone might actually try to involve one in conversation can fill one with foreboding. When that person is a skateboarder, wearing a funny-looking hat on his head and a scowl on his face, then things are definitely getting from bad to worse.
What follows for our colleague,Ken, however, is a situation that we might all envy. For they converse in Latin! Ken ends by commenting, " We both agreed that Latin was very much a 'living and vibrant language.' "
Some young Latin pupils would beg to differ. "Latin is a language as dead as dead can be. It killed the Ancient Romans and now it's killing me!", they chant triumphantly. And yet it won't lie down!
In the Vatican it is the official language. There are weekly audio current-affair broadcasts and weather reports in Latin from Helsinki on the Net. An annual workshop for spoken Latin is held in Lexington at the University of Kentucky where the emphasis is on the spoken word. Jeanne O'Neill, an Associate Professor of Classics at Davidson stresses, "All participants should (first) be able to read Latin, and feel reasonably secure in their knowledge of basic morphology and syntax." She then goes on to say,"participants can live for an extended period of time in an all-Latin environment, speaking and hearing no language but Latin. "
Professor O'Neill gives credit to the PC as being a valuable help to Latin students "It gives them easy links to cultural and historical information that's interesting, but that they wouldn't explore on their own." she points out.
Don Heath, CEO of the Reston, Va.- based Internet Society states,""There's no question that English dominates the Internet, but at the same time, the Web has an aspect that facilitates the preservation of languages and cultures,It allows people of very diverse geographies to interact in virtual communities. There's no way you could get a critical mass of Latin speakers any other way."
How wonderful it is then that we are part of this "movement". As students from all over the world we "interact in virtual communities" forming bonds of friendship as we study under the benevolent eyes of our tutors, Ginny and Barbara, and help, in a small way, to preserve a language reputedly "as dead as dead can be".
Vale and bene ambula et redambula. (PLAUTUS IV.iii ERG.) Goodbye, and a safe journey to you,
and that brings me back to Ken's rail journey and his interesting fellow-traveller.!!