Monday, July 9, 2018

A Timeline of Giving Up on Latin

during the 13th century -- French replaces Latin as the official language of England.

ca 1302-1305 -- Dante defends writing in the vernacular in his (Latin) treatise De vulgari eloquentia.

between 1490 and 1539 -- French becomes the official language of France.

1773 -- Latin loses its status as one of the official languages of education in Poland-Lithuania.

1784 -- German replaces Latin as the official language of the Holy Roman Empire.

1794 -- Tom Paine publishes The Age of Reason, in which he states, "as there is now nothing new to be learned from the dead languages [Paine was referring to Latin and Greek -SB], all the useful books being already translated, the languages are become useless, and the time expended in teaching and in learning them is wasted."

1844 -- Hungarian replaces Latin as the official language of Hungary.

1847 -- Latin ceases to be the official language of the Sabor, the Croation parliament.

after 1920 -- In the Soviet Union, Latin is associated with the ancien regime and its study declines drastically at all levels of education.

1931 -- Yale drops its Latin requirement for admission. (The most I've been able to discover about Latin entrance requirements at other US universities is the frequent assertion that "many other universities later followed Yale's example.")

1960 -- Oxford drops its Latin requirement for admission.

1963 -- The Catholic mass is no longer celebrated exclusively in Latin.

1968 -- Latin courses are no longer required in middle school in France.

1972 -- Latin is no longer required for graduation from Gymnasiums in West Germany.

2012 -- The International Botanical Congress no longer requires that newly-discovered plants species be described in Latin.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority is proposing to drop the scholarship exam in Latin (for final year pupils) in 2019.

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