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Star Wars Takes Over Harvard Commencement

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the my-brother-made-people-flap-like-a-chicken dept.

Star Wars Prequels 138

An anonymous reader writes "Harvard University celebrated its 356th Commencement on Thursday. It is tradition at Harvard is to have an undergraduate deliver a Latin Salutatory address. This year's speaker, Charles Joseph McNamara, delivered an address all about Star Wars in Latin! TheForce.net has a write-up of the event, and the speaker was really hilarious. He apparently doesn't like Star Wars that much, but it's still awesome. The video is available online, and you too can see him do a Yoda voice and make light-saber motions ... in front of over 30,000 people. The speech is under "Morning Exercises" on the Harvard site. The Latin Oration begins at about 1:09:30."

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138 comments

Goatse Takes Over Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456179)

Goatse! [goatse.cz]

Harvard again... eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456195)

Getting a lot of coverage today, Harvard, aren't ya?

rewriting of history (1, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456209)

With a foresighted vision of the immense future potential of desktop computing, Gates left Harvard during his junior year to devote himself to building Microsoft, the company he and Allen founded in 1975.


Another example of how a lot of wealth can get you a lot of rewriting of history.

Re:rewriting of history (2, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456287)

Seems 100% accurate to me, just a little short on the details and context. Plenty of folks know some juicy tales of paper tape and Aiken labs.

But what can you do? He was dead on right about the future of the home computer, and he made that future, or broke it, depending on who you ask. He is a brilliant businessman.

--
Toro

Re:rewriting of history (-1, Offtopic)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456453)

Seems 100% accurate to me, just a little short on the details and context. Plenty of folks know some juicy tales of paper tape and Aiken labs.

The problem is the implication that he left Harvard in order to found a multi-billion dollar business, as if he had planned it all out.

He was dead on right about the future of the home computer

So were many other companies.

and he made that future, or broke it, depending on who you ask. He is a brilliant businessman.

The personal computer industry was built by thousands of companies, many of them run by brilliant technologists and brilliant businessmen.

Gates isn't stupid, but, in the end, it's extraordinary ruthlessness, not extraordinary brilliance, that has given him the edge and allowed him to succeed. And, as far as I'm concerned, that makes him a bad role model.

Re:rewriting of history (3, Interesting)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456775)

Gates isn't stupid, but, in the end, it's extraordinary ruthlessness, not extraordinary brilliance, that has given him the edge and allowed him to succeed. And, as far as I'm concerned, that makes him a bad role model.


He makes the perfect role model for a greed-driven, hedonistic, capitalist society. At least Rome had the virtue of being honest about its.

Re:rewriting of history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458553)

To imply that Gates is driven by greed and a pursuit of pleasure shows just how ignorant you are.

He is hands down the greatest philanthopist of our age, having given billions of dollars and much hard work to help the poor around the globe. He is now leaving the company to devote himself full time to his charitable work, which his wife also deserves great credit for.

You are just another pathetic hater. Get a life.

Re:rewriting of history (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458851)

Most, if not all, of his "philanthropy" (has an r in it, laddy) is aimed at propping up his and microsoft's reputation as well as protecting the pharmaceutical industry profits of his buddies, not to mention himself. Get a fucking clue. bill gates isn't a good guy, and that has nothing to do with his company's software sucking ass.

Re:rewriting of history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19459139)

Now there's an interesting question - if philanthropy is done for selfish purposes, is it still philanthropy? Is the goodness of a good deed undone because the doer also gains by it?

Re:rewriting of history (2, Insightful)

harmlessdrudge (718066) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456985)

Biographies of Gates, including critical ones, all make it pretty clear that he dropped out of Harvard precisely because of his vision of the future of computing -- in the form of the Altair -- having arrived and of there being no time to lose.

If you have a different version of history why not share it?

Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456235)

Catullus FTW.

Re:Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456285)

Do you find something funny about my friend, Biggus Dickus?

"stuff that matters"??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456265)

now i know why my submissions get turned down...

to be fair, this is getting old...I'm a huge SW fan, a fan of anyone who can lecture in latin, and I can't find anything about this submission remotely interesting, insightful, or of news value to nerds.

In fact a lot of stuff on Firehose that gets shot down just due to too much input and a filtering system that is possibly becoming obsolete could have replaced this article.

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (1, Informative)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456303)

to be fair, this is getting old...I'm a huge SW fan, a fan of anyone who can lecture in latin, and I can't find anything about this submission remotely interesting, insightful, or of news value to nerds.

In fact a lot of stuff on Firehose that gets shot down just due to too much input and a filtering system that is possibly becoming obsolete could have replaced this article.
apologies for the redundant, I meant to post non-AC but clicked the damn PA checkbox in advertantly when aiming for Submit. I think my name should be on this so you can do to my karma whattever you wish to.

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (2, Funny)

Asmandeus (640419) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456751)

Now that this is cleared up, will you marry me?

Wait, don't run away!

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (1)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456779)

~blows you a kiss~ you just made me smile and laugh IRL. You don't know how much thats worth these days. ~still smiling~ mod that man up 4 for humor! ~WBGG

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (1)

bradkittenbrink (608877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459523)

I could be wrong, but I don't think it was intended to be funny.

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (1)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459635)

I could be wrong, but I don't think it was intended to be funny.
Surely he was jesting, he's never even invited me to hold hands and hack kernels on Cowboy Neal's chair?

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (4, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457143)

I'll go ahead and non-anonymously disagree and see what it does to my karma, too :)

This is at least as interesting to me, a nerd, as, say, yet another article about Final Fantasy n+1 being maybe exclusive maybe not exclusive maybe coming out this year maybe not coming out this year. Or another article in which someone who was very influential at one point in time but is now completely irrelevant babbles about how they think Apple/Unix/Windows/Whatever is alive/dead/goingup/goingdown/slamdancing. Or another askslashdot in which someone comes up with a completely fabricated question about "which distro of Linux should I run on my new fridge." Or dupe of a dupe. Or... well, you get the point.

It appeals to me because, like many nerds out there, I've been shut down when discussing something I found neat because non-nerds don't seem to enjoy conversations that involve thinking too hard. But this guy - he said fuck it, and basically co-opted the Harvard Commencement just to do it. Rock on, Harvard nerd, rock on.

From a different angle, has this story making the front page in any way taken anything away from more "deserving" stories? Anything that's really super-duper relevant is gonna hit the front page eventually, even if there are fluff pieces like this one up there.

So I guess I just don't see that it would even be worth posting a comment asking why it was put up in the first place - on several levels it has at least as much, if not more, merit than much of the other content on /.

Re:"stuff that matters"??? (1)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459573)

This is at least as interesting to me, a nerd...

It appeals to me because, like many nerds out there, I've been shut down when discussing something I found neat because non-nerds don't seem to enjoy conversations that involve thinking too hard.

Hey, I never challenged the nerdiness of this article, just the newsiness of it. No one is a bigger nerd than I am, check out the profile if you doubt me.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. When I posted what I posted the general feel was: why has this made the cut? Perhaps things have changed now. But I can still agree to disagree with you about its newsworthiness. To each their own?

I don't necessarily agree that:

Anything that's really super-duper relevant is gonna hit the front page eventually, even if there are fluff pieces like this one up there.
So I guess I just don't see that it would even be worth posting a comment asking why it was put up in the first place - on several levels it has at least as much, if not more, merit than much of the other content on /.
based on the fact that not all /.'er agree on what is "super-duper relevant".

You said you didn't see any point in posting the comment based on your opinion. Well you do not /. make. But thanks for you opinion, I do respect it. ~WBGG

Well, it matters to some... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19460459)

... but I understand not to everyone.

Not everyone is interested in different languages.
Not everyone is particularly interested in Latin.

But, then, for those who are, one must choose a subject of such general interest as to captivate an audience... talking about quantum physics in Latin probably wouldn't cut it (no offense meant to the quantum folks).

Now, that said, and despite this orator guy's extreme dedication and preparation, please remember that English is a Germanic language: your phonemes simply are inadequate for proper Latin pronunciation.

It really stands out in certain words and it hurts -- much like a scratched disk. Picture a French guy speaking English if you want a close approximation. Latin has a classic, noble flavor and, being no specialist at the matter, I can only imagine it to be somewhat like Italian.

Latin people would never, ever say "arrest" like English folks. The reverse is true for "Republica Romana".

Other than that, that student really showed an incredible effort. On a 0-10 scale, it's ten YMHO.

Finally, I may be wrong, but I think things ending in "ae" (e.g. "fabulae") do not rhyme with "bye" but rather with "fillet" (or even better: "lait").

Please don't take this post to be too disheartening; rather, think that things must be done at steps. This orator, given 5 or 10 years, could become the best Latin speaker in the world (not that there is too many of them, BTW, LOL). But perfect takes practice.

Pardon my errors, I'm not an English native speaker; nor a Latin native speaker (in which case, I'd be dead, lol -- wait, are there still any Latin speaker which is native in this world?).

Whatus the Fuckus (-1, Troll)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456271)

This is news why exactly?

Seconded (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456447)

Can someone put a gay tag up for me on this "story"?

And was it me, or was the speaker a flaming homo of a drama student?

Re:Whatus the Fuckus (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456527)

Because it happened and someone reported it. That's how news works.

Re:Whatus the Fuckus (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457577)

Actually, no. It has to be deemed newsworthy after the reporting bit. ;-)

But it apparently was by the Slashdot editors. For some reason.

Re:Whatus the Fuckus (1)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456707)

if (could_moderate())
Timesprout.article(19456271).insight(2); // something tells me i fscked this up

forgive my code, its been 5 years and 29 shock therapies since I last coded more than a perl script to alphabetize my DVD collection, and at least then I had a linux machine running with man.

feel free to improve and explain my OO memory failures ~cry~

... Hurray for realplayer... (5, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456277)

An address in a dead language available only in a dead video format. I suppose that should be expected...

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456325)

Don't be ridiculous, Latin's not that dead...

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456739)

Latin's not that dead...

Me siento muy bien. Pienso que iré para una caminata. (Ok its not latin, its Spanish, my sister is the one who speaks latin and I can't wake her at this hour because she's a lawyer who will do evil things to me. Spanish is latin based though...)

I think this is still OT since its about latin. But its late and use Google to translate the spanish if you don't get the MP reference...

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458695)

Hay Asmandeus!! SHe has a sister!!! OMG Poniez! 11111!!!! Will she be my Latin lover?

Ok, I'll stop now

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456337)

Seems to work on my computer under linux using the MPlayer plugin for Mozilla/Firefox. I guess there's other codecs behind that, but I do know that I'm don't have realplayer installed on this thing.

Star Trek linked to pedophilia? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456361)

This has very little to do with the article, but the L.A. Times recently published an article regarding the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit [torontopolice.on.ca] that focused on their fight against child pornography ("Sifting Clues to an Unsmiling Girl" [pqarchiver.com]). They are the law enforcement organization that photoshopped the victims out of child porn photos in order to get the public's assistance in identifying the backgrounds (it worked). In any case, the article had this amazing claim:

On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.

Wow. All but one in four years. Seemed rather unlikely to me.

So, I called the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit and spoke to Det. Ian Lamond, who was familiar with the Times article. He claims they were misquoted, or if that figure was given it was done so jokingly. Of course, even if the figure was given jokingly, shouldn't the Times reporter have clarified something that seems rather odd? Shouldn't her editors have questioned her sources?

Nevertheless, Det. Lamond does confirm that a majority of those arrested show "at least a passing interest in Star Trek, if not a strong interest." They've arrested well over one hundred people over the past four years and they can gauge this interest in Star Trek by the arrestees' "paraphenalia, books, videotapes and DVDs."

Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But beyond that, I can't really explain it."

I asked Det. Lamond if this wasn't simply a general interest in science fiction and fantasy, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter or similar. Paraphrasing his answer, he said, while there was sometimes other science fiction and fantasy paraphenalia, Star Trek was the most consistent and when he referred to a majority of the arrestees being Star Trek fans, it was Star Trek-specific.

Re:Star Trek linked to pedophilia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456507)

I was about to type up a response to this till I saw it was posted by an AC, so I'm not sure if it's a troll or not. Reply back under a good-karma account and I will continue.

Re:Star Trek linked to pedophilia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456679)

Off course it's a troll, and a recurring troll too. This thing pops up on every star wars/trek post on /.

Re:Star Trek linked to pedophilia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456733)

You're right, a google search confirms that. Well, typically I ignore Star Wars and Star Trek threads so I didn't know for sure. :)

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456419)

Seriously, who gives a shit about Star Wars? At our commencement we had Matthew Fox—you know, that guy who plays Jack from Lost. That guy who calls Kate in flash-forwards off the island.

Now isn't an actor from the most popular sci-fi show to hit the tubes in history more interesting than some jackass from some no-name city in Massachusetts? Isn't it? Yes? Yes?!

"Lost"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456455)

I had to go to IMDb.com to look that title up. I stopped watching television a few years back, when it was all *Idol and "Reality" shows, so I had no idea what the fuck Lost was.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm guessing a lot of other nerdy SF shows were much bigger than Lost will ever be. Shows like The X-Files, or some of the Star Trek series.

Re:"Lost"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19457743)

Oh wow you are so elite please I admire you so much. It would be much cooler if you stated that you didn't have a TV though. Maybe you can put that in your sig file.

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456481)

A couple of things:

First, it's not entirely clear that Lost is a scifi show. The producers have said they won't resort to anything supernatural to explain the stuff that happens on the show, but the longer it runs the more that's in doubt. For now, it's a mystery that is not at all scifi. Maybe a very convoluted soap opera. Everything on the island has so far been either explained with mundane modern (or 20 years ago) technology, or not explained at all. Nothing has been explained by scifi to this point. Maybe the final explanation will involve aliens or something, but nothing like that has been even hinted at at this point.

Second, Jack is kind of a dick, and has been more and more so as time goes on. Personally, I can't stand the character. I get the feeling that if he wasn't so busy yelling all the time, he could have solved the mystery of the island about a year ago. Of all the actors on Lost (who play currently living characters anyway), he's probably the one I'd least want to hear from.

So, some dude talking about Star Wars in Latin is way geekier than Jack from Lost.

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456735)

Which is a shame, because Jack really had the potential to not be like that, and wasn't in the first season. When "The Others" got introduced, they warped Jack into a crazy person and never brought him down to earth.


Lost is the prime example of why good extended-length narrative shows should never be put in so heavy an ad-based medium. TNT and USA-level should be the closest these kinds of shows ever get to network. Lost should have been on Showtime. It would have been completed already.

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456837)

See, what I don't get is why this is on-topic but discussion of Bill Gates isn't.

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (5, Funny)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456639)

I think I am going to start a new religion.

It will be called The Church of the AntiReal. We will be dedicated to driving a certain dead video format even further into the ground, not for any logical reason mind you, then it wouldn't be a proper religious crusade.

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458157)

trans. I am not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Me transmitte sursum, caledoni!

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

maaskaas (1103983) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457279)

Dead language?

Most legal terms and medical terminology are 100% latin.

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457417)

A dead language isn't one which isn't spoken, it's one which stopped evolving. And Latin hasn't evolved for a long time.

Re:... Hurray for realplayer... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457983)

Then explain why "automobile" is translated in my text-book. Oh, and sex. Especially sex. Everyone knows sex wasn't inven...err...discovered until the 1960s.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur. (4, Insightful)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456373)

Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.

Re:Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur. (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456823)

Its ingrained in western culture which relied on Latin as lingua franca for much of its history.

Higher Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456485)

"It is tradition at Harvard is to have..."

English isn't for everyone

It's true! (1, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456549)

This silly playacting saying things in latin pretending to be the heirs to Rome when the campus is really turning out barbarians. If you want to look at it another way, in the past barbarians were the clueless management that thought everything could be solved by threats and the farmers were the the technical staff.

Re:It's true! You can always tell a Harvard Grad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456931)

but you cannot tel them much!

Re:It's true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19457641)

This silly playacting saying things in latin pretending to be the heirs to Rome when the campus is really turning out barbarians.
Give credit where credit is due. First off, giving an eight minute, original and imaginative speech in Latin from memory is something in itself. Furthermore, the guy -- Jim -- is graduating and to work with Teach for America in Mississippi.

yawn (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456561)

And here I am, thinking I was missing something by not attending Harvard...

Re:yawn (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459745)

Don't worry. They wouldn't want you anyway.

Our current president is a pretty good indication that an Ivy League education has become absolutely meaningless. Save some cash, and go to a state school.

Linux, Latine (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456737)

A bilingual post in the spirit of the thread.

Lingua latina tamen vivit, etiam in mondo computatri. Opus Ubuntu unam sectionem habet pro translatione in latinam. Ecce hic! [launchpad.net] Ea non est mortua. Multi in mundo linguam latinam discunt, e.g. in plurimis universitatibus, aut in schola secunda (AP Latin?). Etiam, quisque studentus in Italia discere linguam latinam debes. Ea lingua universalis est, quidem hodie, et paene ubique ab aliquo locuta est.

The Latin language yet lives, even in the computer world. The Ubuntu project has a section for translating into Latin, you can find it here [launchpad.net]. Latin is not dead. Many in the world study Latin, for example in most universities, or in secondary school (AP Latin?). Furthermore, each student in Italy must learn Latin. It is a universal language, even today, and is spoken, by someone, almost everywhere.

Re:Linux, Latine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19456783)

It is a universal language, even today, and is spoken, by someone, almost everywhere.

Yeah, I speak English too.

Re:Linux, Latine (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456817)

And how much further your reach would be, dear AC, even into the Romance languages, were you to speak them both.

Re:Linux, Latine (1)

morie (227571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456979)

That's what scared me: I could actually tead the whole damn thing without looking at the english.

Would that mean they actually succeeded in teaching it to me?

Re:Linux, Latine (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457011)

I'm a fan of Jerome and his Vulgate; keep it simple. Vulgar Latin is very easy to follow. It's all the Ciceronian clause-nesting that turns people off from Latin (most people didn't speak like that anyway). And it's so much like the Romances, as you noticed, that it's almost a drop-in replacement for something like InterLingua [interlingua.com], which took so much time and work to develop, and ended up failing.

Re:Linux, Latine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19457253)

Obviously, there are benefits from studying Latin. But Latin isn't spoken as much as English in Asia, and it happens to be where I live :). Practicality wins. Always.

Re:Linux, Latine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458301)

Actually we, who speak the "romance languages" learn english just to be able to reach further. Spanish alone doesn't get me anywhere. Sorry to say this, but english wins.

Re:Linux, Latine (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456789)

It is a universal language, even today, and is spoken, by someone, almost everywhere.
That someone must have a lot of frequent flyer miles by now...

Oblig. (2, Interesting)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456933)

"English motherf***er, do you speak it?"

Latin hasn't been a "home language" anywhere for hundreds of years - no one speaks it as their first language. It is used only as a formality out of tradition and the reading of old texts; English is the international business language now.

Re:Oblig. (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456993)

English is the international business language now.


Nobody is denying that. I'm a first-language English speaker myself. But there are still very valid reasons to learn Latin today, and it is still used in spheres besides legal slang and "reading old books". I mean, really. The leg-up it gives you on every Romance language is worth a year of language classes, at least.

And before you'd raise the Union Jack once more, not everyone, everywhere, speaks English.

Re:Oblig. (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457085)

The leg-up it gives you on every Romance language is worth a year of language classes, at least.
I feel we're getting fairly offtopic here, but I'll continue: you could get the same basis with Spanish, or French, or any other *current* language, plus you get the benefit of learning the native language of a number of real, present-day countries. I stand by my point that Latin has no practical (non-historical) use.

Re:Oblig. (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457139)

You're further restricting your argument, a sign that you're hardening your position against dispute, but also a sign that you recognize its being hopelessly weak.

The study of Latin, especially Vulgar Latin (as you would read in the Vulgate), paints the picture behind all the current Romance languages. Learning French to learn Spanish is slightly helpful; learning Italian moreso; but learning Latin gives you the full picture of the common vocabularic and grammatical language structure behind all of them, not just one or a few. There are many constructions and words that exist in one Romance language but not another, whereas they all derive from Latin.

Further, to understand most scientific nomenclature without running for a dictionary every time, you're going to need a little Latin. English has imported so many Latin words verbatim that you've already been a disciple of that particular lingua franca, whether you want to admit it or not. Learning Latin therefore helps your English vocabulary as well, as you will finally understand the real meaning of all these words we've imported.

And while I could perhaps think up a few other "practical" reasons to learn Latin, there is the one I personally enjoy: the challenge and satisfaction of mastering something traditionally deemed "hard", and learning it was really quite easy after all.

Re:Oblig. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459527)

Latin hasn't been a "home language" anywhere for hundreds of years

Well, Latin is still the "home language" of the Vatican. However, it's not the native language of the inhabitants, because the birth rate there should be fairly low. :-)

Re:Linux, Latine (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457005)

I learnt latin for a year at secondary scool. It is the most logical but hard to remeber language there is. there are like 6 cases, three declensions. It is NOT easy. on the other hand I obviously learnt it well enough to be able to follow most of your post.

Grammar (1)

feepcreature (623518) | more than 6 years ago | (#19460873)

I counted at least 5 declensions of nouns - but the first three were the most commmon. And yes, the nouns could (as in english) be singular or plural in number, and could have one of six cases (there was also the locative, but I never got the hang of that).

Then there were the verbs, which came in four regular conjugations, and were subjunctive, indicative or imperative in mood; active or passive in voice; and varied in tense.

Lookup tables to gladden the heart of any programmer (many of them orthogonal).

And we still have a few latin plurals in English: formula/formulae (1st declension), cactus/cacti (2nd declension), bacterium/bacteria and erratum/errata (a neuter form), and index/indices, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum.

Each student in Italy? Ehm, no! (2, Interesting)

myrrdyn (562078) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457649)

I'm an italian student. For sake of precision, is not correct that EACH student in Italy must learn latin...
In fact latin is mandatory only in "licei", the non-technical secondary schools (maybe the most popoulos, i don't known).
Note that the vast majority of students in scientific (math, physics, chemistry, etc) and technical (engineering, architecture,...) faculties in Italy come from licei, so in fact most of "scientist" and engineers in Italy known latin.

Re:Each student in Italy? Ehm, no! (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457709)

Bene, io sono stato corretto! Grazie.

Ho preso i corsi d'italiano introduttivi, ma ho saputo che gli studenti devono prendere latino in licei, e non ho saputo che licei non era obbligatorio per tutti gli studenti. Ho pensato che il sistema era come gli sistemi qui in l'America del Nord. Un errore grande, io so...

Re:Linux, Latine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458033)

Fine. Take a page from the Libertarians and move to the same place where you all speak Latin. After that, I promise not to call it a dead language anymore.

C3PO anyone (2, Insightful)

2ainman (700247) | more than 6 years ago | (#19456825)

Anybody else reminded of C3PO's narration of the characters' story thus far to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi? It was probably his intention to mimic C3PO. This made me smile :)

Re:C3PO anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19457229)

Indeed, particularly if the speech includes sound effects :-)

But what I really want to know is, how does one say "Han shot first" in Latin?

Swipe at Yale University (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 6 years ago | (#19457579)

Somewhere at the end he says (translated): "Harvard University is giving us The Force, one even stronger than the Death Star in New Haven." A clear swipe at Yale [wikipedia.org] :-)

i feel sorry for these people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19457765)

What a bunch of stuffy unhappy people. It makes me feel bad that they all congregated in one place to sulk.

Where can I get a copy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458309)

I'd like a plaintext verbatim copy the address. It sounds like it would be useful in greeking mock-ups of web sites, etc.

Latin didn't die out, it evolved. Therefore... (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458601)

Classical Latin is a dead language. Latin evolved, as languages do, into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. Even the Teutonic dialect that became English absorbed an awful lot of Latin.

It is proper to postulate that the Latin Language survives in the dialect of those of the English whose scholastic studies were at a superior or elevated level and whose aspirations were to achieve professional competence and status. Indeed Latin usage survives even among plumbers and electricians. Need I go on? In fact, Business English uses a mind-boggling array of pseudo-Latin terminology, probably because this makes it easier to translate into Romance languages. It is much harder to translate sentences made largely of the Teutonic root words.

The miserable gits dissing Harvard really need to get a life and discover the world of cross-cultural word play. It's infinitely wider and more interesting than, say, white "rappers" trying to sound black.

A Question of snobbery (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 6 years ago | (#19458651)

So is there a screen there displaying what is being said, or do they just leave all the non latin speakers in the dust? Also, is latin required at Harvard?

Re:A Question of snobbery (1)

BigDukeSix (832501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459163)

There is no captioning provided, although copies of the translation are distributed the day before commencement. The student radio station broadcasts the English translation in real time. For most of the attendees it's a weird, archaic diversion.

While there is a typical foreign language requirement, Latin is not required. Even the degree certificates are now in English.

Re:A Question of snobbery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19459439)

Not quite sure where the parent poster's information comes from, so I'll throw in a quick correction: The English translation (on the facing page to a copy of the Latin text, so that you can keep track of where in the text the orator is) was distributed as an insert into the commencement program which lay on the seats at the start of the morning exercises. In particular, it was not merely distributed the day before! It is certainly archaic, but this year's diversion seems to have been well-received: reasonably widespread chuckles went up at all the right times.

As someone who's never studied Latin, I thought it was a nice touch---definitely one of the better parts of the commencement morning exercises.

lolrealplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19458991)

Realplayer a waste of space.

Begins at 1:09:30 (2, Funny)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459381)

Shouldn't that be I:IX:XXX?

No, because in classical Latin times (2, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 6 years ago | (#19459641)

there was no constant rate time measurement and certainly not to the resolution of minutes. As I recall, hours were of variable length depending on the seasons, and would be measured by at best sundials and at worst things like water clocks or candles. The Romans really weren't that interested in accurate time measurement, since the applications for it did not exist. So (and better scholars will I am sure correct me) I guess the time would be "about the VIIth hour"

Next year's address... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 6 years ago | (#19460279)

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
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