Vinicio Coletti's Web Site

NewLatin proposal

Languages Published on March 5, 2004 Home page

To say it straightly, I think that Latin language could be revived and used as a common written language for the documents of the European Union and as a common lingua franca troughout Europe. In fact, Latin had this role for about 2000 years and latin words are present in all European languages, not only the neolatin ones. It could also be considered a culturally neutral language, where any other language would carry heavy national features.

However, classical Latin lacks the words we need to express concepts that did not exist at that time. My proposal about this problem is quite simple and probably not so original: I think we should create new Latin words, starting with nowadays words in neolatin languages and tracking them back to a virtual Latin origin.

Some other people proposes instead to form new words putting classical words togheter, but I don't think this is very practical. As an example, an airplane can be considered as a flying ship, so the composed word would be a third declension name like navis qui volat (accusative: navem qui volat, plural: naves quae volant, etc.). Well, I don't like it, because Latin would become heavy and more complex.
For this same word

  1. I would take Italian/Spanish/French words for airplane: aereo/avion/avion
  2. I would choose what looks better, in this case perhaps avion, which is similar to big bird (avis)
  3. I would track back to a virtual Latin origin, that becomes the New Latin word: avion, avionis of 3th declension (or perhaps avionis, avionis)
That's also an amusing game :-) and I think that updating the Latin dictionary with all the words we need today, it would be an easy and relativley quick job to accomplish. I will try to track back a few New Latin words, but I welcome the collaboration of everybody sharing these same ideas and feelings about Latin. Please send me an e-mail with your comments.

What follows is simply an example of what can be done...
Current words
NewLatin word ExamplesComments
avion, avionis (3 m.) Aviones in caelo volant
Airplanes fly in the sky
Avion looks similar to avis (bird), a big bird, and we can actually think airplanes as very big mechanical birds, so this word springs quite naturally.
voladiuvantrix, -icis (3 f.) Saepe voladiuvantrices pulchrae sunt
Hostesses are often beautiful
In this case current words are useless, because hostes means enemies in Latin. I composed this word thinking to the extended definition of "flight assistant", so I mixed volatus (flight) with adiuvo (I assist).
Sorry for the past deifnition but I used an online English-Latin dictionary, only to discover that it was a shame.
voldiuvans, -antis (3 m.) Multos voladiuvantes vidi
I've seen many stewards
The same as hostess, but with no feminine ending.
motor, -oris (3 m.) Magnum motorem habet
It has a big motor
To move is moveo but the ending -or is often used for tools, so something that moves itself can be a motor, considering also that this is the current word in many languages.
ductor, -oris (3 m.) Credo ductorem peritum esse
I think the pilot is skilled
This is already a Latin word! I think this is the best to designate an airplane or car pilot.
gubernator, -oris (3 m.) gubernatorem vidi
I've seen the commander
This is already a Latin word! I think this is the best to designate the commander of an airplane crew.
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