Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Dead Language

Latin is often referred to as a "dead" language. No society or culture speaks it regularly anymore, except the medical community. Generally speaking, the medical community is not large enough for its use of Latin to change it into a "living" language - plus, the medical community only uses specific words, they do not communicate in Latin.

All languages are "living" in that they continue changing, developing with the cultures and people who speak them. Latin's rigidity had a lot to do with its death. Take crepitation, for instance - the Latin word for "crackling." Doesn't... doesn't really say "crackling," does it? Latin was always a scholastic language and it is best relegated to the medical community, but regardless of how it is used from now on, Latin will never "recover" and become a living language. It has been absorbed into many languages around the world however, by its common usage in Medicine, so - in a very real way - Latin will never completely die, either.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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