Friday, September 17, 2010


And I love those nights when you step outside and the air is just slightly cool, and smells of fabric softener. I have no idea why this is, as I do not use fabric softener myself and I generally dislike smells that cover over those of nature--but the fact stands.

As I returned from my walk with Miley, the phrase "vox populi" sprang into my head for no reason that I can easily discern. It got me thinking though about the common usage of certain Latin (or other non-English) phrases--why say "vox populi" when a lot more people would understand "voice of the people"? Why "mea culpa" or "pax vobis cum" rather than "my fault" or "peace be with you*"? I came to this conclusion: the use of a foreign phrase adds several things to any statement.

First, it says "I can speak another language, sort of. Can you? Let's be cool together."

Also, it's fun. Sometimes. A good example of this would be the Facebook group entitled, "Pour everybody qui adore Franglais...a lot."

This next is true especially of Latin phrases, but not exclusively: using a foreign translation says to one's audience, "This is important/emotional. Take me seriously."

And lastly, true pretty much only for Latin, using an untranslated phrase like "vox populi" states to the world that your chosen phrase has gravitas. This phrase is ancient, and therefore high-minded, time-honored, and, most importantly, important.

*That's you(pl) by the way, not just "you." As in, "peace be with y'all" or "peace be with you's guys," for lack of a better translation.

No comments:

Post a Comment