Letter: It's Latin to them

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The Independent Online
THE IDEA of Latin as a common European second language (letters, 3,4,6 March) would be quite justifiably opposed by the Greeks: first because they have a perfectly good classical language of their own; and second because they were never part of the Western Empire where Latin was the language of trade and administration.

There is a temptation to assume that the new Europe is a recreation of the Latin West, but this ceased to be the case, if it ever was, when the Greeks came on board in 1983, and will be even less so with the accession of (say) Bulgaria and Romania, which like Greece were first Byzantine and then Ottoman before their independence in the last century.

It goes without saying that Latin's associations with the Catholic Church would also be unwelcome in countries with a largely Orthodox tradition. Europe can no longer afford to be identified with one strand of its culture.

HENRY WICKENS

Luxembourg

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