Language – Computer, Corona, Carpe Diem: Latin is alive and kicking – Culture

Dalheim (dpa) – We actually owe “computer” and “digitization” to the ancient Romans. The history of the Corona virus, cheese, Nivea cream or antibiotics also dates back many centuries – linguistically.

The words come from Latin, which has a history of more than 2,000 years and yet still shapes our daily lives, often unintentionally, says Ingo Grabowsky. The director of the LWL State Museum of Abbey Culture is convinced: Latin is “quick.”

In Lichtenau, Westphalia, the special exhibition “Latin. Dead or Alive?” will begin. Friday. In Dalheim Abbey. You can also simulate shopping at the Roman cashier Venditor Henricus. And learn in the process: With brand names like Alete, Labello, Duplo or Magnum, the advertising industry also benefits from the Latin pool.

Latin relics lie everywhere, not just when shopping, as the show explains in an entertaining way. In the courtroom, the motto is “in dubio pro reo” (in case of doubt as to the accused), and the general principle is “manus manum lavat” – one hand washes the other.

Chat in Latin at the regulars table

“Almost every word we import from English comes from Latin,” Grabowski explains. Because the English language consists of 70% Latin vocabulary. Example: computer (computere = compute). “Digital” also has an Old Latin root (number = finger).

There is a movement in which people meet at the regulars table to chat in Latin, Grabowski says. But on the other hand, Latin is already considered a “dead” language because it is rarely spoken at all. However, it is at the same time “extremely lively” in terms of its influence and “the common mother tongue of Europe”. The Latin language provides access to European intellectual history and has had a formative influence on history, culture, and education to this day. Not to be forgotten: the Latin script is used all over the world.

From Cicero to Hildegard von Bingen

In order to show sophistication and significance, eleven important Latinos are ready to lead the show through the 2,100-year history of the Latin language. There is the Roman orator Cicero (106-43 BC), whose texts are still standard reading for Latin students today. Or Charlemagne (747-814), who brought Latin out of crisis: “He rescued the language, reintroducing Latin as an obligatory subject of higher education.” Because his multi-ethnic kingdom needed a common language. Saint Hildegard von Bingen (circa 1098-1179), who was canonized in 2012, is said to have even heard of seeing her in Latin, one learns.

Visitors also encounter the runaway comedian Gaul Asterix. More than 200 exhibits show that there are even books for children and young adults such as “Grec’s Diary” or “The Three Question Marks” in Latin translation, as well as Latin board and card games. It has also been shown what Latin lessons have looked like centuries ago – a vocabulary book from the ninth century that indicates an unusual discipline for students.

A prerequisite for many courses

“Latin is the DNA of many other national languages,” said Barbara Roschoff-Barzinger, head of the culture department of the LWL regional association, on Wednesday, a few days before the opening. Several terms exist and are indispensable in many fields such as medicine. Latin is the third most common foreign language taught in German classes and is also a prerequisite for many courses.

In parallel with the show, the museum has developed a podcast series “Hocus, locus, jocus”. All texts of the exhibition are bilingual in German and Latin. The exciting and fun exhibition can be watched until January 8th – so: “Carpe diem!”

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220511-99-245394 / 3

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