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Picture of zmježd
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One of the fun things to do in museums is to try to read and decipher ancient inscriptions. Just knowing Latin or Greek is not enough, because of the extensive use of abbreviations in monumental inscriptions. Marble being an expensive material on which to write, the messages needed to be brief. Take for example, a milestone from the Via Trajana in Italy from the early second century CE. First is the original message, second is the unabbreviated version in Latin, and third is an English translation:

LXXIX
IMP CAESAR
DIVI NERVAE F
NERVA TRAIANVS
AVG GERM DACIC
PONT MAX TR POT
XIII IMP VI COS V
P P
VIAM A BENEVENTO
BRVNDISIVM PECVN
SVA FECIT

LXXIX
Imperator Caesar
divi Nervae filius
Nerva Trajanus
Augustus Germanicus Dacicus
pontifex maximus tribunitia potestate
XIII imperator VI consul V
pater patriae
viam a Benevento
Brundisium pecunia
sua fecit.

79
The emperor Caesar,
son of the deified Nerva,
Nerva Trajanus
Augustus, victor over the Germans and the Dacians,
chief priest,
holder of the tribunician power 13 times, saluted emperor 6 times, consul 5 times,
father of his country,
made the reoad from Beneventum
to Brindisium
at his own expense.

So, it occured to me, that the Roman Empire fell, not because of lead poisoning, moral turpitude, or invading Goths and Vandals, but as a result of their language being diluted and degraded by a plague not unlike text messaging abbreviations. This also explains how the noble tongue Latin devolved into the hideous and barbarian jargons of Italian, French, Provencal, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan.

[The above inscription is from Lawrence Keppie (1991) Understanding Roman Inscriptions, pp.65-6.]

[Fixed typo.]

This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,


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Wow! I think you've been drinking some epicaricacy today, zmj. Wink
 
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Big Grin

We still use SMS Latin on modern British coins.
For example, the 10p has the following:
ELIZABETH II D.G. REG. F.D.

In unabbreviated Latin this reads:
ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR

In English:
Elizabeth II by grace of God Queen, Defender of the Faith.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Lol - you've hit the nail on the head, zmj. Now I shall use that as additional proof as to why I hate text speak Smile.
 
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quote:
Lol - ... I hate text speak
Isn't "lol" text-speak? Wink
 
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Isn't "lol" text-speak?

I think Internet newsgroups and bulletin boards were the first places to see "lol" and similar, well before the introduction of SMS.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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It seems that a study on the origins and structures of l33t, SMSese, Volapuk encoding, Chatspeak, and Internet slang would be in order. Dictionaries and grammars would be good, too. Oh, and we'll need to put together a chrestomathy. Anybody wish to help? (I didn't think so.)


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Razz to you, Hic. Oh, and what arnie said Big Grin.

I don't mind lol, rofl, lmao, yomank!, etc, as they just add variety to 'hehe' or your basic emoticons - and, like emoticons, they help avoid causing unintended offence when writing something that looks ambiguous in the written form (whereas when spoken, a wry smile would alert the listener that one isn't serious). It also saves writing out in full 'I'm laughing/smiling etc here', which could become clumsy.

As ordinary writing isn't clumsy like that, text speak does nothing necessary or helpful; instead it merely signifys that the writer can't be bothered to write a word out fully. It's ugly and lazy and I hate it. So there.


Cat, owning her emotional and not strictly logical reaction.
 
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I thought the Roman Empire fell because they didn't have a zero. How on earthe did they do math?
 
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How on earthe did they do math?

You don't need to have a zero to do math; it just makes it easier. The Romans did run an awfully large empire though. The Babylonians, Persians, Aztecs, Mayans, and a whole bunch of other empires did well enough without the zero.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I've heard that the 'exchequer' in Chancellor of the Exchequer was originally a board used for doing multiplication of Roman numerals.
 
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