King's eye land: Latin sleeping, needs to get job

Just how dead is Latin? Rather than research this, I spent 15 minutes thinking up jokes and long words I wanted to use. Satisfied, I concluded that Latin is not really dead, per se [sic].

Latin isn't fooling anyone named John King anymore. This language is just sleeping, waking up to snort, roll over and pass out again - a vernacular relative that lives on the sofa of our lexicon instead of getting a job.

Just once, I'd like to wake up and not see Latin asleep, covered in potato chips and smelling up our vocabulary's living room. Alas, the infernal language remains to drool on the arm of our couch and watch football as it drifts in and out of consciousness.

English, the hard-working provider in our lexicon, stemmed from this "dead language." For years, English has gone to work every morning without complaint but often questions why it has to work its infinitives until they split. Meanwhile, Latin clutters the language and freeloads.

Latin could easily find a job. Where there is ululation, people would no longer be forced to ululate. Uvular clicking could become a thing of the past. The possibilities of cultural encroachment are endless.

Though Latin would have to travel abroad and possibly corrupt the stability of world communication and unravel years of diplomacy, it would finally have a job. In America, that's the important thing.

English speakers have demonstrated little need for Latin. In the United States, we have scholars who know an estimated total of four Latin words (mostly used poorly in bibliographies). Latin is homeless, yet somehow we allow it to stay on the couch "until it gets on its feet."

Ergo, we are saps.

I am not normally a gambler, but I do know when to hold them and when to fold them. Thus, I will wager that if Latin were to only look for a better job besides sparsely substituting for English, it might find worthwhile employment.

In Asia, for example, scores of people are being paid to teach English as a foreign language. Why don't we just send Latin over instead? I see a cultural revolution. Think of the economic effects of being able to understand all foreign languages (or at least four words, anyway). Our country stands to make literally dozens of dollars.

In short, although Latin is not widely used, we must admit those who use Latin regularly are contributing to a linguistic freeloader. Don't get me wrong - I like Latin and wish it all the success in the world. I submit, however, that Latin is a remora on the sandpaper-textured underbelly of English and should find a new home. I plan to leave it a note tonight:

"Latin: Hey, bud. I don't mean to be a bad guy here, but I've been talking to other people and we think it's time you found a job, got on your feet and found somewhere else to live. I'd like to have my couch back by the end of the month. I hope this doesn't ruin our relationship. You can visit any time you like. Sorry, old friend. I hope you understand. Thanks!"

Don't hate me. I'm just trying to help Latin in the long run. Latin can move toward success again. It just needs a little prodding. In a few years, Latin may come back and thank me.

As for English, without Latin to bog it down, it will have no cumbersome italicized words or abbreviations in texts. Now our beloved language can sit, lose luster, deteriorate and wither away.

I'll just throw this stupid note away.

Write to John at


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