Monday, December 27, 2010

dico, dico, dico

If you're looking for something to read over the holidays, you could do worse than this article (by Juliette Harrisson), looking at the use of Latin in pop culture. She manages to squeeze in references to Monty Python, Harry Potter, Buffy, Terry Pratchett, Yes Minister, The West Wing, Mel Gibson and others into a very interesting and readable piece. Here's a sample paragraph: is because Latin is more familiar to audiences that it is frequently chosen over other ancient languages when spells or magical incantations are required. This is partly because Latin is so close to a number of modern European languages, so the spells sound ‘right’ – petrificus totalus, for example, ‘petrifies’ someone ‘totally’. Latin is sufficiently old and mysterious and, at the same time, sufficiently recognisable to make an effective magic spell that sounds plausible, yet out of the ordinary.

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