Grave Language: The Epitaph of Pope Gregory V

There have been great popes in the history of the papacy, men who have influenced countless people, both during and after their lives, with their words, deeds and faith. Gregory V was not one of them. Born in c. 972 in what is now southern Austria, Bruno of Carinthia was well connected from birth. HeContinue reading “Grave Language: The Epitaph of Pope Gregory V”

As Julius Caesar said, “Wehnee, weedee, weekee!”

Or: Why do I pronounce Latin words like that? A question came up recently in the middle of an enjoyably linguistic conversation, concerned with the way I personally pronounce Latin words. The question was essentially ‘why?’ My interlocutor, a friend with only a little Latin learning, was curious about how I pronounce certain letters. WhatContinue reading “As Julius Caesar said, “Wehnee, weedee, weekee!””

The Decline and Fall of the Latin Neuter

There are many significant differences between Latin and its linguistic descendants, the Romance languages. One that stands out from the rest is grammatical gender. Latin has three genders for its nouns: masculine, feminine and neuter. However, in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Italian and all the other many Romance varieties that lack official use and support,Continue reading “The Decline and Fall of the Latin Neuter”

La Joie de Joret

What is the Joret line? And why should I care about it? To begin, a definition: isogloss noun /ˈaɪsəɡlɒs/ /ˈaɪsəɡlɑːs/ (linguistics)​a line on a map that separates places where a particular feature of a language is different. (from The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary) Named after Charles Joret, the Joret line is an isogloss that runs through northernContinue reading “La Joie de Joret”