Love me tender… in Latin

12 April 2013 | This 'n' that

Latin Bible, 1407. Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, UK. Photo: Arpingstone, Wikipedia

Latin Bible, 1407. Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, UK. Photo: Arpingstone, Wikipedia

Nuntii Latini, conspectus rerum internationalium hebdomadalis, est programma Radiophoniae Finnicae Generalis in terrarum orbe unicum.

Nuntii Latini is a five-minute radio programme broadcast every Friday by the Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE. It is the only regular news programme in Latin in the world, and has been on the air since 1989. (Not even Vatican Radio broadcasts news.)

Professor Tuomo Pekkanen from Jyväskylä University  and Reijo Pitkäranta are the founding fathers of the programme, and they are helped by some other friends of Latin.

In a report on 8 April The New York Times wrote that even Elvis Presley has inspired the friends of the dead language: Jukka Ammondt, a Finnish university lecturer in English and German, began singing Elvis songs in Latin a couple of decades ago, and occasionally still does. Love Me Tender: Tenere Me Ama.

John Tagliabue describes in his article how Leah Whittington, an English professor at Harvard, ‘catches the news bulletins on her iPod while strolling to classes.’  Whittington says: ‘I’m often struck when I’m listening how well structured they are, how idiomatic, how precise the vocabulary is.’

The editors don’t invent new words, they look for new expressions using existing Latin vocabulary. A golf course, for example, is campus pilamallei.

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