Monday, 21 May 2012

No decorum in the forum

I don't speak Latin.

I felt I had to clarify that point before I proceeded any further. Sure, as an archaeologist I can translate the odd Roman inscription (but it's all fairly formulaic stuff and very different from having a conversation with a dead Roman - if that were in anyway possible). In fact, to be honest, I don't really speak any other language (alive or dead) all that well. Ok I have a passing acquaintance with German, and I can order drinks in Russian, French and Italian (and at a push Spanish and Greek) and, some could (plausibly) argue that, in any case, my English isn't all that great (thanks for that Comprehensive school education), but I digress....

..the reason I mentioned my failings in ancient languages is that, although I only know a bit of Latin, I feel (unnaturally) angry whenever I hear 'borrowed' (stolen / hijacked) words being mangled (mashed / squished) into English (worse when those actually doing the mangling are from the political / banking / teaching elite - the sporting world does it as well, to be fair, but then my expectations here are never very high in the first place).

Today, for example, I've heard individuals discussing, on both radio and TV, the various consortiums vying for access to the Olympic stadiums once 2012 has come to an end. Apparently internet forums are rife with speculation. Am I the only one shouting 'Stadia', 'Consortia', 'Fora' at the radio like a man with an ancient and rather grammar-based form of tourettes (or worse like someone who is six olives short of a dinner party)? 

I know this is not Latin "as she was spoke", but I feel suitably disturbed enough to write an open letter to those in authority:

"Dear British Olympic Committee. 

Having heard the discussions this morning concerning which consortiums are planning to buy the various Olympic stadiums, I must add to the debate currently raging like bacteriums across all the internet forums and say that I hope the gymnasiums do not get recycled as aquariums, crematoriums or souvenir selling emporiums (otherwise I shall come down to the Olympic auditoriums and bash together all your craniums), for these should all stay as stadiums and gymnasiums for at least the next few millenniums".

Now excuse me, I feel I need a lie down.

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