2010-03-27

 

Barbarizing Latin

A journal reviewer of one of our recent papers was upset (judging by the exclamation point) that we mistreated Cicero with our Latin barbarism when we used "corpii" for the plural of "corpus". Here's what the reviewer wrote:

"corpii is not proper latin... corpus, oris, neutral (nominative, plural) makes corporis, corpora, corpore ... corpus, oris (genitive, singulier). Please avoid creating latin barbarisms (poor Cicero) or simply use corpus/corpuses, the English plural form !"

I am not sure how "corpii" got in there since I have always used "corpora" in previous writings---a graduate student did it I'm sure ;-). But I found the comment absolutely fabulous. Reminded me of the famous centurion scene in Life of Brian. But my response to the reviewer was (after polite acknowledgment omitted here):

While it was not our intention to offend Cicero, if Latin were a sacred cow there would be no such thing as French or Portuguese. A world without Brell or Cervantes would be much poorer, but a World without the linguistic anthropophagy of Pessoa and Brazilian tropicalismo would be a tragedy. Indeed, if English isn't the ultimate Latin Barbarism, what is?



"Time is a violent torrent; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place."
Marcus Aurelius

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