DATE: May 7
TITLE: From the home front
Ontario is currently in the middle of a four week mandatory stay at home order intended to slow the spread of COVID 19. For me, the only real change is that I now stay home because I’m told to, not because I want to. But it does give me some time to think and ask questions I probably normally wouldn’t dream of.
Before I get to the questions and other observations, Canada is conducting its official census this month. This year it is all being done online. I’ve already filled out mine and hit “send”. I noticed a couple of questions that I don’t recall seeing on the census before. The first dealt with gender at birth, and part B of that question was current gender. The second asked about past or present military service. In all the years I’ve been doing the survey, I’ve never been asked that before. If you’re curious, my answer was “yes”.
I haven’t picked on commercials for a while. There has been one on recently for Scotties tissues. At the end, there is a scene where the actress is crying and the tag line is something like “send in the Scotties”. Only problem I have with this is that although the dogs are cute, they aren’t Scotties – they’re West Highland White Terriers.
Okay, on to the questions, actually just a multi-part single question: When and how did certain languages become associated with certain fields? For example, in law and medicine, Latin appears to have become the lingua franca. When, why and how did this occur? As I understand it, much of our law is descended from ancient Greece and the middle east, as is medicine. So how did Latin become the common language of these fields?
Classical music is another case. Italian seems to be the common tongue among composers, yet not all composers were Italian. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms didn’t speak Italian in their daily lives. There are French composers as well, such as Saint Saens, Delibes and DeBussy. Norway gave us Grieg and Finland added Sibelius. Yet each of these composers use Italian in their notations.
Ballet seems to be the province of French terms – pas de deux, barre, jete.
Who decided, and when, that such-and-such a language would become the common tongue of a field of endeavour?
I blame all these questions on Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario. If he hadn’t told me I had to stay home, I’d have been out with a camera and wouldn’t have time to dwell on topics like this.
Stay safe and remember to give an artist a socially distant hug – we need love too.