Latinisms. In the English language, Latin words and phrases typically fall into one of six categories: (1) the ones that are now so common that they’re barely recognizable as Latin (“bonus,” “data,” “vice versa”); (2) the ones that are reduced to abbreviations in scholarly contexts (“e.g.,” “i.e.,” “ibid.,” “id.”); (3) the ones used in the jargon of doctors, lawyers, and scientists (“metatarsus,” “habeas corpus,” “chlorella”); (4) the mottoes and maxims used especially in ceremonial contexts (“E pluribus unum,” “Sic transit gloria mundi”); (5) the ones that literate people know and occasionally find useful (“ipse dixit,” “non sequitur,” “rebus,” “mutatis mutandis”); and (6) the truly rare ones that characterize sesquipedality (“ceteris paribus,” “hic et ubique,” “ignoratio elenchi”). Increasingly, the view among stylists is that unless you know that your audience is fairly erudite, categories 3 through 6 are dangerous territory. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “If we want to know the beginnings of the science of language, we must try to find out at what time in the history of the world, and under what circumstances, people first thought of learning any language but their own.” Max Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language 91 (1st ser., 1st Am. ed. 1868). ====================
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