Some people say that Latin is a “dead” language, and you can hear my not-so sarcastic thoughts on that subject (here) in a post titled “If Latin is a dead language, Do zombies speak it?”
However, the trends of social media would prove that it is anything BUT dead! Facebook even offers the option to allow you to change your language to Latin! You can check out how to take the Latin Facebook Challenge: here.
Furthermore, I must hand it to Pope Francis for not deterring away from Latin too much. Late last year, I was highly disappointed in his decision to have Latin replaced by Italian as the Vatican synod’s official language. You can read more about this shift in tradition: here.
However, Pope Francis’ twitter account in Latin has been a huge success with over 326,000 followers (as of 2/18/2015), which is more than those following papal tweets in German or Arabic. A link to Pope’s Francis Twitter Page (here). His homepage originally read “Welcome to the official Twitter page of His Holiness Pope Francis.” However for this Latin language page, it reads “Tuus adventus in paginam Papae Francisci breviloquentis optatissimus est.” How awesome is that!
So, I had to ask myself-who exactly is reading this. It is Latinists, Latin enthusiasts, interested and curious people? Daniel Gallagher, an expert in the language and member of the team in charge of translating and posting the pope’s tweets, said “We have every reason to think that many are young students, from universities, schools or even younger and that some use the tweets as homework, setting out to translate them.” He followed with saying “Others are journalists, lawyers, or people nostalgic for the Latin lessons of their youth, who get a kick out of translating a Francis phrase a day. Some get so involved that they reply to the pope’s tweets in Latin.”
This made me think, what an amazing way to practice Latin everyday! I would highly encourage it for anyone wanting to explore their Latin in a real-time and present circumstance.
Although Gallagher offers me another solution to “who is following these Latin tweets;” I was unsure if I truly believed that ALL 326,000 followers were Latin students of one sort or another. I mean, 326,000 does not sound like a population of a dead language. Albeit, Gallagher addresses this saying “Some follow the pope in Latin because it’s a way to create a group. They enjoy belonging to an unusual community, with its own code. If you are able to translate it, you are accepted into the club.”
So, Latin is now a elitism hipster movement? So does that mean it making a comeback? I am not really sure. I hope so.
Well, if you are not following the Pope- I would recommend it for the daily practice!