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Is Latin a Living Language?

Latin is widely known as a "dead language," and it's certainly true that no one learns it as their native tongue. However, in some ways, Latin is still very much alive. Every Friday evening for thirty years, the Finnish national broadcaster Yle aired a five-minute news bulletin in Latin, translated and edited by several leading academics. Since its inception in 1989, the segment on Yle Radio 1 was known as Nuntii Latini ("Latin News") and it focused on both Finnish and world news. The program attracted a devoted following of some 40,000 listeners, many of whom enjoyed hearing the classical language they had learned in school spoken aloud and used to discuss current events and modern people and issues. The unique radio program finally came to an end on 14 June 2019, updating listeners on news items such as the immigration agreement between the U.S. and Mexico.

Long live Latin:

  • The show's contributing Latinists tried to adapt classical vocabulary to the modern world, developing words such as aeroplanum for airplane and cursus electronicus for e-mail.

  • Finland seems to have an affinity for the language of the ancient Romans. In the 1990s, literature professor Jukka Ammondt famously recorded an album of Elvis Presley hits in Latin.

  • Elsewhere, Latin is still alive and kicking: There is a Latin version of Wikipedia with 131,000 articles, and the Vatican has recently started its own news bulletin in Latin.

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Discuss this Article

anon1001865
Post 1

Latin still features prominently in South African, Roman and Dutch law definitions.

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