Saturday, March 19, 2011

On the revival of Latin

On the revival of Latin, by Hillaire Belloc, at Michael Gilleland's website.

His main theme is the need for a common language. "The necessity of some common language is seen in the fantastic attempts to create one artificially. You will find enthusiasts for stuff like Esperanto, which is about as much like a human language as a jig-saw puzzle is like a living face." He was writing just before the internationalisation of English. He does not mention at all the importance of Latin to philosophers, namely that the philosophical language of thought - its vocabulary and to a large extent its syntax - is essentially Latin.

His characterisation of what we now call The West is interesting. "There is one unmistakable thing which, in spite of a badly diseased and divided social state, is still in the main the common descendant of the old Christian culture. Its dress, its manner of living, its main social ideas are the same".

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