@Pontifex now in Latin

His Holiness now has a Twitter account also in Latin.


No tweets yet.  I have argued HERE that a tweet is pipatum.  “I tweet” is pipio.

BTW… I missed last Tuesday’s @Pontifex tweet.  Let’s do it tomorrow, Friday, the other day the Roman Curia is open in the evening.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Father, now that he is tweeting in Latin, will you tweet in Latin?

  2. Tristan says:

    But does he tweet in Hungarian?

  3. Petros 92 says:


  4. asperges says:

    My Collins dictionary doesn’t cover that verb, but given that the noun looks like a back formation, I presume the infinitive is pipiare? [apparently it is: I found a reference elsewhere]. Otherwise pipio, -ere, pipsi, piptum sounded logical but slightly improbable.

  5. His Holiness’ Latin Twitter account @Pontifex_ln has gone from 820 followers around 9 AM this morning to 2500 about an hour ago.
    Please, friends, if you care about Latin, make sure to “Follow” this account too; it is of course NOT the same account as his regular one @Pontifex.

    @asperges: you’ll find pipiare in the imperfect indicative in one of Catullus’ most famous poems, the “Sparrow” poem, #3, when he writes that his girlfriend’s pet sparrow ad solam Dominam usque pipiabat “… kept on tweeting for his mistress alone.”

  6. chonak says:

    It would have been good to use the standard ISO two-character code for languages and call the account “pontifex_la”.

  7. Andrew says:

    Fr. Z:

    Tua pace:

    There is “pipilare” or possibly “pipiare” (sparrow). There is “pipire” (chicks). There is “pipare” (chickens). And there is also “pipiare” which sounds similar but it means “to weep”.

    That said, Latin should be embellished with new words, as Pope John XXIII said, “verbis cum linguae latinae indole et colore proprio convenientibus” (words that are consistent with Latin’s nature and color). Which means, first of all, having recourse, if needed, to later Latinity, up to the seventh century or so. Then, having recourse to Ecclesiastical usage. Then, if need be, looking for possible solutions in Greek. One might also need to consult modern romance languages, such as Italian, Spanish, French. But never just simply introduce some vernacular silliness such as this anglicanism (tweet) not even if translated into “pipiare”. That wouldn’t be kosher at all (cum indole et colore sermonis romani conveniens). Because that is not how a roman would think or express himself. He would hardly relate a short message to the chirping of a chick.

    And by the way, how do they say “tweet” in Italian or Spanish? Surprise: they say “tweet”. Literally! So do the Slovaks and the Hungarians. Why should the Latin then be “pipare”?

    Another thing to consider: years ago we all listened to “records”. Nobody listens to “records” now. We used to “beep” each other. I used to hear my Hispanic coworkers say: “bipea me” (beep me). Let’s wait and see if anybody “tweets” twenty years from now.

    In the meantime, if we have to talk about tweeting in Latin, we can use descriptive language: it will do just fine. I can say “send me a tweet” by saying something like “mittas mihi nuntium vulgo “tweet” apellatum.” But “pipia me”? Phlease! Nequaquam!

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