Conspectus rerum Latinus

About a month ago, I discovered that the current holders of the rotating EU presidency, the Finns, were intending to issue a weekly newsletter in Latin. An interesting choice, one might say; a bloody annoying choice, according to the Germans, who have tabled a question to the Council on how much this service is costing the European tax payer.

It struck me though that it would be of marginally more practical value to publish the news in Esperanto — there are at least some people in every EU country who use it on a regular basis — while still making the same symbolic statement, i.e. that the language issue in Europe is far from solved, and that some kind of neutral, over-arching second language might be an idea worth consideration.

So I set about doing it. And to cut a long story short, the translation team is about 10 strong, the Esperanto-Asocio de Finnlando are on board, our website‘s set up, we’ve got permission from the presidency people to translate and re-publish their stuff, and they’ve even given us a plug in their latest newsletter.

We’re now trying to get journalists who wrote about the appearance of the Latin news interested in the Esperanto version. We’ll see what results we get.

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6 komentoj to “Conspectus rerum Latinus”

  1. Tim Morley Says:

    Well, so far we’ve had a brief mention in the Dutch daily Spits (page 8, right column), and reported sightings in Metro, Telegraaf, and NRC Next (three more Dutch newspapers).

    There’s also been a piece in the Esperanto news-sheet Libera Folio.

    Hopefully more soon…

  2. Tim Morley Says:

    Ooh, an article at Dutch news site nu.nl has brought nearly a thousand visitors to the Conspectus site. I should have put adverts up for something or other… 😉

  3. zooplah Says:

    Well, I think it’s great that this is happening. Maybe you guys can get some awareness going. With this and Nitobe being publicized, it looks good for European citizens to get informed about it, and Esperanto Day might get some people interested in it. Who knows?

  4. David Sanftenberg Says:

    Esperanto is an artificial language invented by a Spaniard, with no real history of common use to speak of. Latin has a solid base of vocabulary due to its history as a scientific tongue, and Latin speakers are not quite so rare as you might think. All high-school children in Italy take five years of Latin, and one needs only seek out the nearest Catholic church to find a person with at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language, or a classics department at a university to find an expert.

    You clearly have an agenda to push, and that is fine; you are entitled to your own opinions sir; you are not, however, entitled to your own facts.

  5. timsk Says:

    Hello David, and thanks for your interest and comment.

    I can see from your own blog that you’re passionate about Latin, and good for you, I say. It’s a fine language representing centuries of history and culture, as well as being intimately linked to many other modern European languages.

    You are probably right that Latin speakers — or at least people with a passive understanding of the language — are more numerous than I (slightly uncharitably) supposed when writing the above blog post. I stand corrected on that point.

    As for my agenda, such as it is, I aim to inform Esperantists about the EU, and inform the EU about Esperanto and the role it may be able to play in facilitating communication between this mass of people who don’t yet have an easy way to talk to each other.

    Speaking of making up facts as you go along though, I have to take issue with, well, most of your claims about Esperanto. “Invented by a Spaniard”?? Even a tiniest minimum of research is better than plucking ‘facts’ from thin air. As for its history of common use, it’s true that there’s never been a town or a country where Esperanto is a dominant or even widely spoken language. However, over the last century-and-a-bit, the language has been in daily use by people all over the world — within families, at clubs, at organised events, in prose, in poetry, in magazines, in letters (and now of course in emails and websites), by travellers, and more. (In terms of daily use for actual communication, rather than passive reading or ritualised use, I would bet that it’s considerably more widely used than Latin). This history has pushed and pulled and stretched the language, occasionally to near breaking point, but the result is that it didn’t break, and now there are events on just about every day of the year where the language of choice is Esperanto.

    Certainly Latin has a longer history behind it, but to deny that Esperanto has any history is a little disingenuous.

  6. Mi Says:

    Re original post: “marginally” being the operative word.

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