March 7th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Other worlds, other languages

Thanks to hilly02, I ran across the journals of two anthropomorphized Martian rovers (spiritrover and opportnitygrrl), plus the probe cassini_saturn. (I haven't read boingboing for a while, and so had missed the mention of Opportunity's journal here.) They make for very charming reading.

Speaking of other world, on the subject of other languages, would Latin have been thought of as a "foreign" language in the middle ages and renaissance in western europe, or just an alternate language for the educated? My understanding is that, in the late mlddle ages at least, the term "literate" refers to people who knew latin, not just people who could read and write in the vernacular. I'm chewing over this thought because of this sentence, "Like linguistic thinkers, Leonardo made meticulous descriptions in his journals. He also made an effort to learn Latin - a foreign language." It comes from some meme-quiz which was quoted but not linked to here, so I don't know where it's from. I know that meme-quizzes are no good source of knowledge, but it's still an interesting question. What qualifies as a foreign language?