Latin is elitist, etc.

Afraid that immigrants will confuse e.g. with egg, city councils in Britain are banning “elitist” and “discriminatory” Latin phrases, reports The Telegraph.

Bournemouth Council, which has the Latin motto Pulchritudo et Salubritas, meaning beauty and health, has listed 19 terms it no longer considers acceptable for use.

This includes bona fide, eg (exempli gratia), prima facie, ad lib or ad libitum, etc or et cetera, ie or id est, inter alia, NB or nota bene, per, per se, pro rata, quid pro quo, vis-a-vis, vice versa and even via.

Its list of more verbose alternatives, includes “for this special purpose”, in place of ad hoc and “existing condition” or “state of things”, instead of status quo.

Salisbury Council ad hoc, ergo and QED (quod erat demonstrandum); Fife Council has axed ad hoc and ex officio.

Professor Mary Beard, a professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge said: “This is absolute bonkers and the linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing. English is and always has been a language full of foreign words. It has never been an ethnically pure language.”

Marie Clair, spokeswoman for the Plain English Campaign, backs the bans, noting that many Britons now speak English as a second language and “might mistake e.g. for egg.”

“At the same time it is important to remember that the national literacy level is about 12 years old and the vast majority of people hardly ever use these terms.”

Marie Clair? Shouldn’t that be Mary Clare? Perhaps as a Frenchified Briton, she doesn’t know that many Latin terms have become plain English over time.

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  1. Just think of the fun Shakespeare could have had with that decision.

  2. Keep this in mind the next time you encounter anyone explaining to you about Americans being ignorant provincials.

  3. This sounds like something from The Onion. How odd to voluntarily debase and eliminate one’s own culture in deference to newly introduced cultures.

  4. distinguishing e.g. from egg becomes quite easy using context. Building a sentence where selecting between e.g. and egg might warp the meaning is a fair challenge for students

    contractions are a code to be cracked e.g. she’ll