Re: Languages, "modern" and otherwise

Iain Walker (iainw@SUE.ECON.SU.OZ.AU)
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 10:18:48 +1100

On Wed, 21 Aug 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

> No. Classial Greek and Latin are fully modern languages. Do not be misled by
> the inappropriate use of the term "modern" to refer to languages still acquired
> as native languages today. There is nothing about the structure of Latin or
> Greek that separates them from any language spoken now.

Precisely. Interestingly this question came up in a documentary on the
Vatican screened here in Australia last week. The official language of the
Vatican City State is, of course, Latin, and it's spoken widely and
fluently in the country in vulgar contexts. A couple of priests
(interviewed in Latin, with subtitles) were challenged to prove that
Latin was a "modern" language by translating such terms as "computer",
"cover girl", and so on, into Latin, which of course they did quite

Iain Walker * Dept. of Anthropology * University of Sydney *

"L'homme qui a deux femmes perd son ame;
"L'homme qui a deux maisons perd sa raison"
"mdru ukana hahe na ha nduhuze"