An old question

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Tue Jul 14 13:15:24 UTC 1998

1995 condensation of the much larger *Compendium...*, of 1991, by G.L.
Campbell], an interesting exception is made to the rule that the *Concise
Compendium* would include no articles on "dead languages":  while it
contains no article on Latin this compendium *does* contain an article on
Sanskrit, as well as Classical Chinese. Here is the editor's explanation of
this apparent "anomaly" [p. vii]:

"The explanation is that both of these are, in a sense, living languages.... As
for Sanskrit, it has consistently acted, and continues to act, as an
inexhaustible reservoir of living tissue for the new Indo-Aryan langauges,
by supplying them with straight implants [*tatsam*a, 'just as it was', scil. in
Sanskrit] or its genetic progeny [*tadbhava* 'derived from that', scil. from

Odd that they would think that Latin and Greek aren't the same, e.g.
neologisms like post-modernism, Eurocentric, gynophobia.  Not to mention
that the revised liturgical books of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church,
for 950 million people, are composed in Latin before being translated or
adapted into the modern languages.

By the way, are there any Hungarians out there who could confirm or
disconfirm the assertion that Latin was used as a _household_ language by
males of the Hungarian nobility into the 19th c.?

Allen Thrasher

Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian
Southern Asia Section
Asian Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4714
tel. (202) 707-3732
fax (202) 707-1724
email: athr at

The opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer.

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