[Bards] "Vivat Ghastly Malapropism!"
wolfpaws at mac.com
Wed Jun 13 04:12:46 PDT 2007
>> I am a little confused. Vivat Rex is OK being in the same language
>> but Vivat King would be wrong?
> That's half of it, yes. "Vivat Rex" is a well-formed Latin sentence.
> "Vivat King" is not proper Latin or proper English or proper
> anything else.
Hmm. I'm sure that usage on formal occasions would use language that
was more formal (although I've not done any research on that
subject.) But a wrinkle on that would be-- that mixing Latin and a
vernacular language together was a widespread practice in songs and
literature. Occasionally you even have someone sticking Latin
declension endings onto English words. And almost every manuscript
I've seen written in English has at least a few words of Latin tucked
in here and there, even if it's just the instructions to the book
The Carmina Burena is chock full of bi-lingual pieces (they call them
"macaronic poetry.") Harley 913 (the one I'm working with for my
thesis) is also chock full of macaronic songs. They often are not
printed in editions of the manuscript though because while educated
people in 14th century England were TRI-lingual (Latin, Norman
French, and English), modern English speakers are not. So there is
much less market for works that have more than one language used, so
they tend to be omitted from collections, while their more homogenous
cousins (like Summer is a Comin' In) get reprinted.
A piece everyone might be familiar with is The Agincourt Carol, which
mixes lines of Latin and English. (Although in a very tidy way,
rather than making it into doggerel.) It is thought that the carol
was possibly sung in secular processions for Henry V.
Owre kynge went forth to Normandy,
With grace and myyt of chivalry;
The God for hym wrouyt marvelously,
Wherefore Englonde may calle, and cry
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.
Anyway, all that to say that our modern sensibilities are often more
tender about things like that than a medieval person's would have
been. Mixing languages in the same sentence is complete and utter
doggerel in the modern world, but without looking closer at Medieval
texts, I'd be hard pressed to assert that it was never done in period.
My, what interesting discussions there have been on the list lately!
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