I Would Have Been a Judge

but I didn’t have the Latin.

Now I see that the Finnish Presidency (Finland holding the rotating presidency of the EU) is issuing press releases in Suomi (Obviously), English (understandably) and Latin. Seriously, here is last week’s community news.

There is a strong pro-Latin movement in Finland:

The news in Latin on national radio gets 75,000 listeners, which may not sound like much, but on a per capita basis is more than some BBC Radio 4 programmes get.

“In Latin we have more listeners in the world than for Finnish broadcasts,” explains Professor Tuomo Pekannen, who does the translations.

“Latin is more known abroad than Finnish,” he adds.

Finally, if I can get the link to load, the BBC is streaming Elvis Presley imitations sung in Latin. Songs include “Nunc hic aut numquam” (“It’s Now or Never”), “Non adamare non possum” (“Can’t Help Falling in Love”), “Nun aeternitatis” (“I Surrender”), “Cor ligneum” (“Wooden Heart”), and “Tenere me ama” (“Love Me Tender”).


  1. If you go to http://www.yleradio1.fi/nuntii/audi/ you can click on a number of podcasts in Latin. It’s kind of a kick to hear “Nuclear Experiments” talked about in a dead language.

  2. I love this! I think we should follow the lead here in Canada, it would solve this whole English/Francais thing we struggle with! The Elvis part is simply the cherry on top of the Sundae. Now what about “A Little Less Conversation” and “Muss I Denn” (Wooden Heart). Even better Elvis movies in Latin!!!! I’m far too excited about the possibilities here. captus tutela of res.

    gratias ago vos, gratias ago vos summopere.

  3. I’ve had “Wooden Heart” stuck in my head ever since yesterday morning, due to this. It’s bad enough having a song stuck in your head but when half the lyrics are in a language you don’t speak it is especially frustrating. I may have to give it the “Easy Lover” treatment. For those of you who don’t know what the “Easy Lover Treatment” is, it is a little known fact that Easy Lover by Genesis will eradicate any song that is stuck in your head. The downside is that Easy Lover will then be stuck in your head, so it becomes a question of which song is likely to drive you insane first.

  4. The wonderful book by Joe Simpson, Touching the Void, http://www.touchingthevoid.co.uk has a similar moment. Without giving too much away, it’s an unforgettable memoir of human endurance following a climbing accident:
    By the time he reached the flat land, hapless mountaineer Joe Simpson was so dehydrated, malnourished and hypothermic that he began hallucinating. Simpson’s brain decides to torture him with an endless loop of Boney M’s Brown Girl in the Ring.
    eventually unable to get a song by Boney M., “Brown Girl in the Ring,” out of his head. A quick review of the lyrics reveals two relevant phrases: “All had water run dry” — Simpson was dying of thirst — and the chorus line, “Show me your motion,” which may have been that inner sergeant, urging him forward. All in all, he was probably fortunate he wasn’t listening to “Ra ra Rasputin.” As he notes with distaste “I thought, ‘Bloody hell, I’m not going to die to Boney M.’ ”

    Read the book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Touching-Void-Joe-Simpson/dp/0099771012 – or catch the film. http://www.pbs.org/previews/touchingthevoid/

    Or if you’re impatient for the story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touching_the_Void

  5. A song stuck in your head is called an “ear worm” in German. I have used Mark’s technique of using one tune to drive out the other, and as a driver par excellence I recommend Paul Anka’s “You’re Having My Baby,” without a doubt one of the vilest pieces of pop trash ever to find voice on the airwaves. The beauty of this worm chaser is that it is so… horrible that you won’t let it linger in your head once its work is done. [lyrics here ]

    And by the way, I second Simon C’s recommendation of Touching the Void. Marvelous story. Me, if I had to die to Boney M, I’d go with Brown Girl in the Ring, by preference.

  6. As a service to the Esperanto-speaking community of the EU, the same newsletters are now also available in Esperanto here as announced in a presidential newsletter a couple of months ago.

    Latin may be better known than Finnish outside Finland, but Esperanto is more actively used than Latin in every country of the EU. In Canada too!