Loquerisne latine?

How about a news report from Germany in Latin?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mike Morrow says:

    Very clever! I liked the discussion of the Tridentine Mass near the end, but it helps a bit when one can understand the subtitles. (I had to remember my verbum introductorium to leave this comment.)

  2. Mike Morrow says:

    I meant to also say that I’ve never liked the way non-church Latin (used in the report) is pronounced in Germanic countries…I hate the “C” always pronounced like “K”.

  3. Pedantic Classicist says:

    Latein Boomt!!

    Why, yes! Yes it does. ;)

  4. albinus1 says:

    It’s good to see Fr. Kramer again, if only in the video. When I was in Rome in 2005 doing Fr. Reggie’s summer program, Fr. Kramer and the FSSP were using San Gregorio dei Muratori, a well-hidden and somewhat run-down little Church near the Piazza Nicosia. (It almost felt like going to a liturgical speakeasy, it was so hidden. It was almost impossible to tell from the outside that there was a church there. I almost expected to have knock on the door, see a small grille slid back and a pair of eyes check me out, and hear a voice from within intone, “Adjutorium nostrum in nomine!”, to which I would have to respond, “Qui fecit caelum et terram!” before I would be admitted. ;-) ) Then when I was last in Rome, in 2008, they had moved up in the world, to Santa Trinita dei Pellegrini. Much more spacious, more prominent, and more accessible. Of course, that was after Summorum Pontificum.

  5. albinus1 says:

    Mike Morrow: How about real Germanic Latin, i.e. the traditional German pronunciation of Latin? I’ve had to use that for some choral singing I’ve done. Essentially Latin pronounced as German: C’s are pronounced like TS, QU is pronounced KV, final -d is voiceless, etc. — e.g., “quidquid” is pronounced “kvitkvit”.

  6. Joseph says:

    I loved the new latin substantivum, pulvinus inflatilis. There are a lot of those around, or so it seems.

  7. asperges says:

    Fascinating, but I find the German accented Latin difficult although I learned classical Latin whose pronunciation in Europe is not that dissimilar.

    Finnish Radio on short wave used to (and probably still does) do Latin news bulletins. They are similarly extremely hard to attune to until you “get” the accent. The French find our pronunciation of Latin difficult: I used to theirs (until you put it the “extra” syllables – et in (a) saecula..), so just as a Texan finds Glaswegian English difficult, or Northern to Southern English, it’s not quite as easy as one might think. We are so used to reading Latin that hearing it spoken in conversation still needs that extra effort. Floreat, neverthless!

  8. Wouldn’t it be nice if Vatican Radio did a regular news bulletin in Latin? Radio Finland has being doing it for decades, and Radio Bremen (Germany) also has short bulletins in Latin. If even state media has a reason promoting Latin, why isn’t Radio Vatican doing anything?

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Love this. If I were still teaching Latin, I would use it. I think Radio Vaticana should have bulletins in Latin. Ah, for the old days. So simple, and I like the Classical pronunciations, rather than the Church Latin, I must add. I taught Classical rather than Church Latin. Also, I would much rather hear Latin with a German accent than a French one.

  10. Mariana says:

    The latest Finnish news in Latin


    for example:

  11. Mariana says:

    Sorry…. for example:

    Naufragium pericolusissimum
    Idibus Ianuariis (13.1.), qui erat dies Veneris, ante oram Italiae calamitas maritima periculosissima accidit, cum navis circumvagans Italiana nomine Costa Concordia propter litus Tusciae ad scopulos allisa est. Quo facto latus eius male afflictum est et navis tantopere declinari coepit, ut non multum abesset, quin tota aquis submergeretur.

  12. Vatican Radio’s German service has a fellow who translates some of their news into Latin each week:

    There’s even a podcast in the classical pronunciation (with a heavy German accent):

    I wonder why they couldn’t find an Italian to read the news instead of a German. Germans seem to have great difficulty with certain sounds, especially R and E. And I wonder why they chose the classical pronunciation instead of the Italianate, which is the norm in the Church.

  13. Ambrose Jnr says:

    This is indeed a wonderful gloria tv clip!

    Is the best way forward for the priesthood not to make intensive Latin compulsory during the years of philosophy at seminary (9 hours of lectures a week for 2 years) in Rome and the Vatican…and then have the years of theology in Latin only: Latin lectures, Latin textbooks and Latin exams about all theological subjects…

  14. Supertradmum says:

    Ambrose Jnr,

    That was the cast for seminarians in Rome in my generation. My friends had to take classes at the Gregoriana and Angelicum in Latin. I have funny stories told to me about those days, but it was an excellent discipline.

  15. Supertradmum says:

    oops case not cast
    I am in desperate need for new glasses…and I type too fast

  16. Elizabeth D says:

    I have had no Latin studies, but so cool. If there was a Catholic Cable TV service there could be a channel like this.

  17. Andrew says:

    Mihi sufficit cum cane meo loqui latine quotidie nam nemo alius vult mecum hic sermone romano confabulari. Ceteri aselli bipedes libentissime garriunt DE lingua latina, solummodo autem anglice.

  18. Denis Crnkovic says:

    The use of various pronunciation schemes for Latin – whether the so-called “classical” pronuncation (a nineteenth century theoretical reconstruction of how Cicero [Kikero?] might have spoken his speeches), the standard Italianate version of the Roman Church or the northern and central European version with its quaint “ts” for “c” before front vowels – is the functional equivalent of the different pronunciations of modern English throughout the world. While we might prefer, say, the Oxbridge accent to the Appalachian, or vice versa, we have to recognize that accents are a fixture of language by their very nature. It is worth it to respect the sound of a language as it occurs in its environs and its cultural milieux.

    The German subtitles for the Latin text in the report, while helpful, perpetuate the myth of the priest “turning his back on the people” during Mass. While the Latin states that the priest celebrates “ad orientem versus”, the German reads “Der Pater spricht zum Altar gewandt mit dem Rücken zum Volk und auf Latein.” Tsk, tsk.

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed this report. It’s nice to see that the Latin revival that occurred in schools and colleges a decade ago is making its way into the popular arena.

  19. Mariana says:


    Et canis dicet?

  20. Mike Morrow says:

    Denis wrote: “The use of various pronunciation schemes for Latin – whether the so-called “classical” pronuncation … is the functional equivalent of the different pronunciations of modern English throughout the world.”

    That argument fails today, and for the past several centuries, because there is no place that spoken Latin is a “popular” (in the sense of everyday “vulgar” usage) language, learned by children naturally, used in commerce, and undergoing all the natural modification that “living” languages see. Outside of the Church, Latin is strictly an academic undertaking where the spoken language may be idiosyncratic by virtue of its rarity of exercise. The disparate spoken versions are maintained by academia, not by popular use. There exists not even the smallest approximate analogy to English or other living language.

    In countries where academia-preserved spoken Latin varies from the Church version, the clergy have not used that academy Latin in Church.

    It seems only logical and rational that any informed study of Latin that anticipates speaking the language would adopt the usage of its source (Italy), and the usage in the only environment where it has been maintained since antiquity (the Church).

  21. Denis Crnkovic says:

    I used the phrase “functional equivalent” to indicate that the various practices of pronunciation in the two languages, English and Latin, work in similar ways in that a given group by custom or choice resorts to accepted rules of phonemic usage, i.e. the consistent pronunciation patterns that peoples in various milieus adopt. The comparison is not meant to be one of a living vs. a “dead” language, but one that more easily shows how languages function overall. It is particularly applicable in a diglossic sense as well: it is not appropriate for beginning students of Classical Latin to ignore the classical pronunciation, any more than it is appropriate for learners of English to use, say, the language of the Londoners born within the sound of the Bow Bells as the standard for a BBC broadcast. Nor can one realistically argue that if Latin is mainly the purview of academics who “merely read Latin as a scholarly exercise,” that the academics have no say in how the language is to be presented aloud. Indeed, one does a significant disservice to Ovid and Vergil if one ignores the complex of pronunciation rules that apply to Classical Latin verse (elisions, length, cola, etc.) Beautiful asThe Aeneid may sound if read overcast with modern Italian phonemics, it is both less authentic and less beautiful than what would have come from Vergil’s tongue (cf. Maurice Baring’s astonishment at modern Greeks reading Homer – a curious anachronism). The professors who have reconstructed classical pronunciation and those peoples who have had a long and distinguished history of pronouncing Latin in certain “national” ways have no less claim to their own “dialects” of Latin than the Romans. As for speaking Latin in everyday situations, using it as tool of communication in our contemporary lives, those same questions that confront “proper” usage in any language arise. This I where Mr Morrow’s real issue lies, I think. If Latin is to retain (restore?) its dignity as a living and dynamic language what shall be the norms of that language? The existence of a stronger tradition of Latin usage in Rome does not, I suggest , make it automatically “most suited” for all areas of Latin usage. Certainly the pronunciation used by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church can lay no claim to asserting its standards on non-ecclesiastical Latin usage (any more than the Queen’s English should be asserted in California schools as the standard because English comes from England.) As for a standardizing norm from Rome for ecclesiastical pronunciation of Latin, I don’t see the need for it in those areas where there are a long-standing and historically dignified differences, as in northern and central Europe, or in some Francophone areas (where “c” before front vowels is pronounced like “s” – v. early recordings of the Solesmes monks chanting). There are limits to variation, of course, but one needs to get used to local usage, no matter how much it might seem strange or annoying (I for one still have a hard time getting accustomed to the American “u” in words like sanctus – pr. sahnk- toooos – very far up and front in the mouth, lips not rounded enough so that the diphthong overtakes the purity of the [u] phoneme).

  22. Aegidius says:

    Denis, Supertradmum, thank you. I wonder whether Mike Morrow et al. would rather stop the Pope from addressing his audiences in e.g. English, Italian, as he obviously cannot hide his German origin. He will never pronounce Italian according to “the usage of its source (Italy)”, the same for English.
    Why not simply enjoy the Latin news broadcast – or starting something better yourself?

  23. mpolo says:

    @Mike Morrow: German ecclesiastical usage is the same as German school Latin. G is always hard and C before e,i,ae,oe,y is TS. Perhaps most frustrating, oe = ö. If you sing the Salve Regina or the Mass parts here, everyone will be using this pronunciation, except for perhaps religious who were trained outside of the country. All this notwithstanding Pius X’s request that all Catholics use the Roman pronunciation in Mass.

    There is a very slow tendency to back off from “school Latin” in academia and introduce some of the elements of the reconstructed Latin (such as hard C throughout, or as in the video, pronouncing ae as a long I sound), but this is far from consistently applied. This usage has not showed up in the Church, as far as I can see.

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