Posted by: Witch Doctor | January 4, 2011

Is this the new Latin?


When The Witch Doctor was at school she was forced to do Latin for the first three years of her secondary education. The alternative would have been to transport herself out of the “Academic” stream and go into a class destined for a career in “Commerce” or even worse – a career in “Domesticity.” This involved learning how to wash and iron a handkerchief, make a bed, or cook a Shepherd’s Pie.

The Witch Doctor thought she could probably pick up on any domestic knowledge she might need as she trundled through life without a formal teaching in these matters. Sometimes, though, her Shepherd’s Pie leaves much to be desired ……. she managed to burn one into a pile of black volcanic ash and grey rancid smoke a few weeks ago!

She thought her end had come as she tried to put out the fire!

In general, The Spell Pantry is a much safer place for a witch to be than The Kitchen!

Commerce seemed so boring, boring, boring – probably because a lot of it involved tedious book-keeping. Moreover, the teacher was rather strange. The Witch Doctor did, however, teach herself to type in her spare time on an old Imperial Typewriter that was a cast-off from somewhere. She found she quite liked typing and over the years has impressed many a secretary with the speeds she manages to achieve. She cannot shut her eyes though. She needs to look at the keyboard and this probably gave the secretarial staff a feeling of great superiority.

And she can’t do Shorthand, but she once read a book on Gregg’s shorthand only to learn that everyone else had learned Pitman’s.

The Witch Doctor didn’t really want to learn any language at all at school, but she had to learn two, one of which had to be Latin. The other one had to be French. That was the choice. She was hopeless at both, probably because of the result of not doing any homework at all because she was so miffed that the school didn’t teach astronomy.

All witches love The Universe with all its secrets and so it is not surprising that The Witch Doctor wanted to be an astronomer back then. Indeed she spent many a night stargazing by the light of the moon when others were learning their French and Latin verbs.

No school was interested in teaching astronomy.

Not then. Not now.

More is the pity.

Astronomy creates an amazing sense of wonder that all children should experience.

Anyway, The Witch Doctor was supposed to learn some Latin……

There was a time, before The Witch Doctor’s day, that Latin was compulsory for anyone entering medical school. Presumably this was a reflection of the strange medicaments used by the old doctors – they always prescribed using interesting and confusing Latin names. Confusion, rather than transparency was the name of the game in these days, although today’s transparency is even more confusing.

Everyone knows too, that knowledge of Latin helps with English and probably other languages too.

But there is more to Latin than that.

It is a very meticulous language. The syntax, if that is the correct word, requires a lot of concentration in translating from English to Latin. It is not a language for the impatient, the careless, the forgetful, or those with meandering minds. How the Romans managed to speak Latin remains one of the world’s great mysteries to this witch.

However, meticulousness and all these other attributes are good for a doctor to have.

In retrospect, The Witch Doctor thinks her smattering of Latin, with its imposed self-discipline, may have helped tame her meandering witch’s brain just a little.

So, today The Witch Doctor proclaimed to My Black Cat that Latin should again become compulsory for entrance into Medical School!

She didn’t agree.

You’ll never guess what she said!



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  1. Caveat medicus?

  2. Hmmm……

  3. Hmmm……

    Doesn’t sound like Latin to me…

  4. Huum!

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