Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Have you ever heard Latin spoken?

by Rick Blechta

Like Marianne I took Latin for three years in high school. We had a very good teacher, but he really couldn’t speak Latin in a conversational sense and it certainly had no real fluidity when he did something like read to our class. The result was that Latin really did seem like a dead language to me.

At the height of the Roman empire, it was the most spoken language on the planet. How something like that could die out is pretty mind boggling.

But the Romans were nothing else if not organized and left behind lots of tutorial as to how their language was spoken, most likely to help all those they conquered become part of their empire.

And thanks to the internet, you can hear it spoken probably pretty closely to what you might have heard in the Roman forum itself.

So this is for Marianne first and foremost, but also for all you former Latin scholars out there:


I don’t know about you, but it somehow sounds more Germanic than I would have expected. Certainly it has great force. No wonder the Romans loved debate and declamation.

And my New Years resolution is not to study Latin, but I wholeheartedly will support Marianne in her scholarly pursuit!

7 comments:

Sybil Johnson said...

Thanks for that. Very interesting. Sounds very much like Italian to me, which makes sense of course.

Rick Blechta said...

Someone in the YouTube comments for the video say it sounds very much like Dutch. After listening to some Dutch, I would have to agree.

But yes, there is a definite Italian feel to many of the words, too.

Sybil Johnson said...

Dutch, interesting. I have a friend who is a native Dutch speaker, but I haven't heard her speak the language very much so I don't have a feel for it.

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Fascinating! I love it. Thanks so much, Rick. It sounds a tad like Klingon to me ;) If I am honest, one of the reasons I liked Latin was because we didn't have to speak it – if you see what I mean? But how interesting and so unlike how I've ever heard it spoken or imagined it. Thanks again for sharing this and for your good wishes, Rick, and I'll let you know how I get on!

Donis Casey said...

I took Latin in high school and college as well as German and loved both of them. They have done me well over the ensuing decades. I can figure out the meaning of just about any new-to-me English word since most have Latin or Germanic roots. Now I need to learn Greek!

Aline Templeton said...

I once learned a section of Latin poetry for a verse competition. I loved it at the time and I can still say most of it now!

Rick Blechta said...

I've watched nearly a dozen videos of Latin being spoken the past few days. All I can say is that it sounds familiar and very alien at the same time, which I find to be a very odd response. Some of it is almost understandable, and yet it could be Klingon in its “foreignness”.

See what you stirred up, Marianne?

Thanks!