What is the official language of the European Union?
If children started to learn Latin when they're 3 years old, it wouldn't be such a difficult idea. In 50 years times most of the European civilisation would speak the language and that would spread throughout the other continents where Romance, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic and other European languages are now spoken. The written language wouldn't be a problem and all accents would be accepted as long as they were mutually understandable. In the Middle Ages the cultivated elites all spoke Latin and University students could move to different countries and follow the lessons from the very first day.
(English tranlsation follows/Aistriúchán i mBéarla a leanas)
Admhaím go bhfuil stair an Bhéarla fhadhbach go leor mar theanga a bhruíonn teangacha eile ar leataobh - is mise féin cainteoir teanga Ceiltí agus feicim é seo go han-fhollasach! Ámh, ba í an Laidin ar feadh na n-aoiseanna cnámh droma na hIar-Eorapa, ar a mbunaítear struchtúr uile an Aontais Eorpaigh, agus níor dhrochrud é úsáid a bhaint aisti inniu. Mar a dúirt Caesar, b'fheidir linn an Laidin a athbheochan le focla nua-aimseartha mar a d'athbheodh an Eabhrais. Agus sílim go ndíbreodh an athbheochan cuid mhór an chlaonaidh i gcoinne an Bhéarla.
I agree that the history of English as a language which displaces other ones is rather problematic - I speak a Celtic language and see this most clearly! However, Latin was for centuries the backbone of Western Europe, upon which the whole EU structure is based, and using it today might not be a bad idea. As Caesar said, just like Hebrew Latin too could be revived with modern vocabulary. And it would eliminate much of the "English" bias, I think.
"If children started to learn Latin when they're 3 years old, it wouldn't be such a difficult idea. In 50 years times most of the European civilisation would speak the language and that would spread throughout the other continents where Romance, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic and other European languages are now spoken. The written language wouldn't be a problem and all accents would be accepted as long as they were mutually understandable. In the Middle Ages the cultivated elites all spoke Latin and University students could move to different countries and follow the lessons from the very first day."
Well, if European children were to start learning Latin from birth, and in 50 year's time all Europeans from Scotland to Italy to Finland speak Latin, there would have to be a "Academium Latinum" (I do not know Latin grammar, so excuse me for this) like the French "Academie Française" to keep the language from diverging into seperate dialects for each country's usage (remind anyone of something that happened during/after the Roman Empire?).
But yes, I like the idea of there being a European language, but what about the Germans, the French, the English,...would they like this? It is a great fantasy, but would it ever be a reality in our lifetime? My guess would be no. I would be very pleasantly surprised if it did though, and I would be one of the first Americans to take a Latin class to keep up with you Europeans :-P
Maybe Latin should become the Europish language we have discussed in this forum...or the new Europish would be Latin based.
Latin is so easy to pronounce, but it will have to be updated to accommodate all modern developments. That should not be too difficult seeing as many languages (including English) have a vocabulary with many words of Latin origin.
I would love to see a European "lingua franca".......here in Europe we are now a family of 25 countries...it's so exciting. Merge all our native tongues into this new European language.
It is good to see a lot of positive feed back on the Latin language. Many people think that it could never jump into modern times, yet it already has. Every single little micro-organisim (latin word) has a latin name, plants, animals, and even we have a latin name. Even the diseases are latin, it is the language of Modern and Ancient Science. Yet As I said, and I agree with the Irish speaking person (btw, I am a Scottish Gaelic Speaker), English has had too much control for too long, it was introduced into the Asian and Celtic cultures by force. My grandmother, was beaten in School if she was caught speaking a word of Welsh. Thanks to English, people think my language of Scottish is only a poor dialect of English. Gaelic, my language, is at a worse off state now than it was 20 years ago, because ENGLISH speakers think it is a stupid waste of their time!
When people comment on the fact that the grammar is hard, well, where do you think Spanish, Romanian, Portugese, Italian and French grammar come from? Where do you think have of both the Welsh and English vocabulary come from? Latin. At one point during the twentieth century in Europe and North America, every school pupil had to study latin in order to both improve their own language skills, and to understand what they were saying in Church! Latin combines every language spoken in europe except Irish and Gaelic. Latin is the mother, so why not unify it! re vamp it! It will work!
A little letter to the Irish speaking person.
It is sad isn't it when both of us, who speak very similar celtic languages, to see the lack of motivation of others to try to keep the Celtic tongues surviving. Ireland is smart enough to do something, but my native Scotland is not bothing. I was born in An t-chadh Mòr, which still has a strong Gadhieltachta. Both of our languages are very close, when you write in Irish, I undersatnd 98% of it. If you listen to BBC's Radio Nan Gaidheal, you could understand more than 95% of Gadhlig. Yet, how can we keep it alive. My dreams to see Latin revived is brilliant interms of unifying Europes Lingua, but, I would be most happy to see Scottish live to see 2025. We don't have Immersion Schools, and Gaelic is not offered in the Scottish school system. Everyone goes for French nine times out of ten, and they still must study Latin in order to improve their language skills in English.
Would you please BI-LINGUALLY write a response suggesting how we can keep Scottish from total death, like Manx. Wales has more Welsh speakers than Scotland has Gaelic.
Go raibh maith agut agus Tapath leaibh :P
I would be interested to know whereabouts in Scotland here you live?
I am from Corstorphine, Edinburgh.
Sadly Scottish Gaelic is completely absent here
Hello again Caesar! I totally agree with you and I may say I feel the same. I speak a language which was alive in my family 70 years ago and that nowadays is almost dead: occitan. You are lucky in comparison because the BBC has a special broadcast in gaelic (Radio Nan Gaidheal, as you said) whereas we, in France, the greeeeeaaaaaat country of freedom and tolerance, we only have 30 min per week of occitan TV programmes.
Malaürosament, penso que es ja tròp tard per chamjar que que sia. Los Estats-nacions, responsables de doas guèrras mondialas, an ganhat la batalha contra nòstras petiòtas lengas que pas jamai se son impausadas a dengus. Quau o qué poirà tornar faire viure nòstras lengas e lur tornar donar la dignitat? Pas aquesta Euròpa de tot biais.
Käse germ < Lt caseus
queso sp < Lt caseus
formaggio it < formage Ofr < Lt formaticus
fromage fr < formage ofr < Lt formaticus
queijo pt< caseus
casu sard (alg. dial.) < lt caseus
cas ru < lt caseis
(English translation follows/Aistriúchán i mBéarla a leanas)
A Chaesair a chara,
Bhain mé sult as an léamh do fhreagra, agus cuireann sé áthas orm go bhfeicim comhcheilteach ar na cláracha teachtaireachtaí seo. Chuaigh mé san Idirlíon chuig láithreán na BBC Alba cheana féin, agus is féidir liom cuid is mó na nuachtanna a thuiscint nuair atá mé ag cloisteáil - is cainteoir Ghaeilge Ulaidh mé, amhlaidh b'fhéidir go bhfuil sí níos dluth maidir le Gàidhlig ná na canúintí eile na Gaeilge.
Chun freagra maidir le caoi na dteangacha Ceilteacha a thabairt: tá na teangacha Ceilteacha uile i gcontúirt, cuid acu níos mó ná na cinn eile. B'fhéidir go bhfuil an Bhreatnais sa chaoi is fearr, mar tá ceathrú na ndaoine ansiúd in ann as Breatnais a labhairt le duine. Ach tá siad ansiúd iontach in aice leis an Bhéarla, agus throid siad in aghaidh leis trína haoiseanna. Tá na milliún cainteoirí na Briotánaise sa Fhrainc, ach tá bród ar na Fhrancaigh as a dteanga Laidineach sa tslí nach dtugann siad aitheantas do na teangacha eile sa tír, mar an Bhascais nó an Phroibhinsis. Mar sin de, níl scoileanna nó stáid oifigiúil nó cosaint acu ach sna bliana deireanacha, le cuidiú don Chomisiún na dTeangacha Mionlacha agus Úsáidte Níos Lú.
Ceapaim go bhfuil caoi na Gaeilge níos fearr ná caoi na Gàidhlig, ach caithfidh an dhá theanga cuidiú a fháil! Sílim go mbeadh sé maith dá gcuirfí ar fáil an úsáid na dteangacha os comhair an phobail. Sin é an rud a thug cuidiú sa Bhreatain Bheag: tá fógraí siopaí grosaera a léigheas "Siaredir Cymraeg dyma - Labhraítear Breatnais anseo" agus mar sin de, ceapann na daoine gur maith é úsáid as a dteanga a bhaint. Sílim féin go bhfuil braiteoireacht in Éirinn 's in Albann úsáid as ár dteangacha dhúchais a bhaint mar gheall ar aoiseanna an leatroim agus na ciontachta samhlaithe leo faoin riail Sasanach. Os cionn na scoileanna lán-Ghaelacha, tá dochtúirí, dlídóirí, oibrí phoist, agus gardaí uainn atá in ann Gaeilge nó Gàidhlig a úsáid go furasta. Seo mo smaointe faoi láthair.
I enjoyed reading your response, and I'm glad to see a fellow Celt on this message board. I have visited the BBC Alba website before, and listening to Raidio nan Gaidheal I can understand most of it - my Gaelic is from Ulster, so it's perhaps closer to Gàidhlig than other Irish dialects.
To give a response to your question regarding the state of Celtic languages: all the Celtic tongues are still in danger, some more than others. Welsh is probably best off, with a quarter of the population having it as a first language. There, however, they are very close to English influence and really have fought very hard against it. Breton in France has almost a million speakers, but the French are so proud of their Latin-based tongue as to forsake any recognition of other languages in their country. So Basque and Occitan (Provençal) are only recently (in the last few years) gaining any kind of official status or protection and developing schools, mostly under the aegis of the EU's Commission for Minority and Lesser-Used Languages.
Irish is a bit better of than Gaelic, but both our languages need help! I think making both completely available in public spheres would do the trick. That's what has helped in Wales: grocery stores will say "Siaredir Cymraeg dyma - Welsh spoken here" and then people feel comfortable using their language. I think in Ireland and Scotland there is a reticence to use our native tongues because of the centuries of oppression and guilt associated with them under English rule. Beyond Gaelic-medium schools, we need doctors, lawyers, postal workers and policemen who can readily use Irish or Gaelic. Those are my thoughts right now.
The Welsh are to be applauded for withstanding all those years of attempts by the English to subdue them and stamp out their language. The Welsh people were made of stronger stuff than to allow themelves to be beaten this way and I think to this day there has been a resentment on the part of the English because of the fact that the Welsh have held on so tenaciously to their language and culture. These are often derided by the English, who make a point of deliberately mis- pronouncing the Welsh place names as if it is something to be proud off. This irritates Welsh people very much and the English then wonder why the Welsh are unfriendly towards them sometimes.
You were correct as well in saying that at one time (I think it was right up until the middle of 20th century? not sure.. people were actively punished for speaking their own language....Welsh.
I have had Welsh people at uni tell me that sometimes English people moan when hearing them speak Welsh in their own country! They say that the Welsh should speak English when there are English people present.
I would so love some Welsh people to go into a shop or pub in Sussex or Yorkshire or somewhere and then complain that the local people are speaking English! Just what is the difference?
Dear Criostóir, Go raibh maith agut.
I am very happy to be able to speak to another speaker of a celtic language. I would like to ask though if Irish is your first or second language? What is so interesting which I wish to point out is that in Scotland, those who speak Gaelic, speak it as their first language instead of their second. In Ireland, those who speak Irish as their first language, even on the Gaeltachta, learned Irish, and spoke English first. Enya, is one of the few left who actually was raised speaking Irish at home, and who learned English as her second tongue. What I am pointing at is that Gaelige is a totally re-vamped language, and Gaidhlig is not. Irish was literally dead at one point until the 40's, when it was decided to be brought back into schools, and eventually the Government.
Gaidhlig is still spoken in the Highlands, or Gaidhiltachta, and is still very strong there. For instance, on the Isle of Skye, Isle of Lewis (Where I live), and on the northern sea board, Gaidhlig is still the tongue of 90% of the people. Yet, the percentage of Scotland's population which lives in those areas is about five or six percent. I sort of disagree though with your idea to have more doctors, police, and lawers who speak it, because even though they would be bi-lingual, nine times out of ten, they will be speaking in English. The sad part is that there is a lack of love or motivation my most people to learn Gaelic or Irish. They think it is a waste of time, and it is too old fashioned. People look at it as that it has no potential in the business world.
I keep getting off my point though, I continuously stress that Latin should be Europe's offical language. Latin is the mother of of more than half of the European Language spoken today in both Europe and North America. Italian is the closest to Latin, and many might argue that it is a diaelct of Latin. Over fifty percent of English vocabulary comes from Latin, and all scientific language is also Latin. A someone pointed out earlier, Latin was the backbone of Western Europe for many centuries, and even "Before Christ". Schools in Europe would not be teaching Latin if it didn't help us with our English skills, or the skills of another Romance Language. People keep refering to Latin as the language of the church, yet, Latin was the language of great Literature and Poetry, Politics, Science and Power. Latin was the universal language. English I think has had way too much power. The British forced English down the throats of way to many, resulting in the death of more than 100 languages. The Celtic languages, which I am amazed have made to this century, are near extinction thanks to the cruel attitudes of the British, and the brutal and in humain treatment of Celtic speakers in School and on the streets.
Carpe diem ..... what life is supposed to be all about because you never know...
I am going to barge into this conversation, so I hope that you do not mind.
As a language-lover, it saddens me that the Celtic languages are on the fringes of extinction. Yes, some are doing better than others, but let's face the facts, they are not thriving as well as Romanian or Norwegian.
As for the English comments, I guess they are well-deserved. Since I am what you might call, an "English-American," I kind of have to take what you say about the English with a grain of salt. My grandmother comes from England and I have family there still (and I will be visiting England this September!), so naturally, I am very proud of my family, ancestors and English heritage.
As for Latin is concerned, I think that Europeans would have to be sold on the idea that they should all learn the language. And once again, I like the idea a lot, but convincing a whole group of nations with many languages to teach their populace one language is very hard, especially when you bring national identity into the argument. Like I said before, there are many Europeans who are very proud about their languages (the English, French and Germans are the top three on my list).
When you two (Criostóir and Caesar de Julius) were talking about how it is a shame few Scottish and Irish people speak the respective languages, I kind of have a similar story. No, not one where my ancestors spoke a minority language and were beaten at school if caught speaking it, but the story is more of an American Immigrant experience.
My great grandmother's father was French. But since he died when he was very young, and his parents spoke English, my great grandmother did not speak any French, and therefore could not pass it down to her children.
The same thing happened to the man my great grandmother married (my great grandfather). His mother was Danish, but the only time she would speak Danish to him would be when he got into trouble.
I wish that immigrants who came to America in the past would not have been so keen to lose their native languages and identities in place of their new American ones. I wish more than anything that my great grandmother would have spoken French because she helped raise me, and if she had spoken french, I might have spoken the language too (you never know, it is possible).
Sorry for dragging you all through my own family history. I am not sure how many of you will actually read it, but I was just trying to bring a different type of language-loss story to the table.