Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Nihil illegitimae carborundum...

Councils ban use of Latin terms.

I'll admit this right now: I'm an elitist. Oddly, I think people should strive to better themselves with no upper limit to this endeavour, and the people who have succeeded more in this regard should be respected and heeded for their greater experience. I also believe that if you come across a term you don't understand, you should go look it up, or ask someone you think would know. Laziness in this regard is rewarded with continued ignorance. Your fate is in your own hands.

This having been said, however, the headline is misleading. The councils in question are not seeking to ban the Latin phrases in question - I don't know what kind of repercussions might await someone using one of them, but the quotes given in the article seem to make quite clear that it is an advisory step, not a prohibitive one.

I'm all in favour of reducing jargon, particularly in those media which are likely to have a wide and varied audience. But come on, are you seriously telling me that the majority of people get confused by "e.g." - or don't understand "via"? That seems somewhat unlikely to me, somehow.

The only bright side I see to this is that it might prevent people from saying "icksetra" instead of "et cetera", which, what with my being an elitist bastard, really annoys me.

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