Tag Archives: Latin

Radio Bremen: Another option for news in Latin

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Harald Kuhl, who shares the following in response to our previous post about the closure of the Latin service from Finnish Radio. Harald notes:

Here in Germany, Radio Bremen still has a monthly news bulletin in Latin:


If you’d like to hear a sample Latin podcast from Radio Bremen, listen via the player/link below:

Click here to download audio.

Thank you–or gratias tibi–Harald!

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BBC: “Finnish radio drops Latin news after 30 years”

(Source: BBC News via Kris Partridge)

The Yle public broadcaster has told its ‘carissimi auditores’ (dear listeners) that “everything passes, and even the best programmes reach the end of the road. This is now the case with our world-famous bulletin, which has broadcast the news in Latin on Friday for the past 30 years”.

The core members of the ‘Nuntii Latini’ (News in Latin) team – Professor Tuomo Pekkanen and lecturer Virpi Seppala-Pekkanen – have been with the five-minute bulletin since it was first broadcast on 1 September 1989, although other newsreaders and writers have joined since.

Professor Pekkanen took gracious leave of Yle, saying that, “judging by the feedback, Nuntii Latini will be missed around the world – and we send our warm thanks to you all for these past years!”

[…]Latin news addicts won’t have to suffer withdrawal symptoms for long, as the language’s greatest remaining bastion, the Catholic Church, launched its own weekly news bulletin in Latin the same week as Yle’s programme went off air. [read more here]

The key difference is that Yle offered a broad world news agenda, rather than Vatican Radio’s more focused ‘Hebdomada Papae’ (The Pope’s Week) – not to mention the fact that the Catholic Church uses its own, Italian-influenced pronunciation, rather than the Classical version preferred by scholars.[…]

Read this full news item at BBC News.

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Vatican Radio launches Latin news program

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares this piece from the Vatican News:

‘Hebdomada Papae’: News in Latin on Vatican Radio

Saturday, 8 June, sees the launch of “Hebdomada Papae, notitiae vaticanae latine redditae” (The Pope’s week in review: Vatican news bulletin in Latin), on Vatican Radio.
By Linda Bordoni

Starting on Saturday, 8 June, a 5-minute weekly news bulletin in Latin will be broadcast to the world on Vatican Radio frequencies through the Italian language audio channels. Of course you will also be able to follow it on our web portal and listen to it on podcast, and it will soon be available on the English-language audio frequencies as well.

The bulletin goes to air thanks to the collaboration of the Vatican’s Latin Letters Office, a department of the Secretariat of State where Church documents are written in or translated into Latin. The bulletin will be edited by veteran Vatican Radio journalist Alessandro De Carolis.

A challenge for the future

Vatican Radio’s Editorial Director, Andrea Tornielli, describes ‘Hebdomada Papae’ as a real, informative news bulletin.

“We did not conceive it with a nostalgic look to the past, but as a challenge for the future,” he said.

Noting that Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church, he said Latin already “resonates daily on the frequencies of Vatican Radio, which every morning broadcasts Mass in Latin.”

This weekly initiative, he explained, aims to breathe new life into the language.

‘Anima Latina’

Straight after the news bulletin, Vatican Radio Italy, whcih broadcasts news and other programmes on the frequencies dedicated to the Italian language, will also provide an in-depth programme entitled “Anima Latina, radio colloquia de lingua ecclesiae.”

“Anima Latina”, dedicated to the rediscovery of the value and beauty of the Latin language, will feature Father Waldemar Turek, Director of the Latin Letters Office.

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Latina sit vivere: Julian sheds light on Latin

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Julian Stargardt, who shares the following in response to our previous post regarding Latin radio programming:

Dear Friends,

Latin is widely reputed to be a “Dead” language, the Finnish broadcast is only one of several examples of how it continues to be a living language.

In Switzerland a form of Latin is one of the official national languages – it’s called Rhaeto Romansch or Rumantsch – it is spoken as a first language predominantly in the large – by Swiss standards – Canton of Graubuenden (“Grisons” in French and “Grey Leagues” in English). Elsewhere in alpine Europe other descendants of spoken – or “Vulgar” Latin also survive or indeed flourish. These include Ladin (guess where its name comes from) and Friulian.

Map of Grisons Switzerland. (Source: Tschubby via Wikimedia Commons)

In Switzerland almost 40,000 people claim Rumantsch as their first and principal language and almost 61,000 use it is daily communication. Education, news media and literature, and TV are all prevalent in Rumantsch areas of Switzerland.

Those with a passion for Latin may derive some fun from the website for Radiotelevisiun Svizra Rumantscha: https://www.rtr.ch/

Sure it’s not the Latin of Cicero and it may have given him shivers of horror but I reckon he’d be able to follow it…

Here are a couple of tales that may interest readers…

Friends of mine became lost while hiking in a remote region of the Swiss Alps in the mid-1960s. As dusk fell they encountered a shepherd whom they attempted to converse with, first in German, then in French, and finally in Latin. The shepherd’s face lit up when he heard Latin and as they chatted in Latin they were able to establish their location and the route off the mountain back to civilization… and in the course of the conversation it emerged that my friends came from England, at which point the shepherd broke into English, explaining that he’d served as a seaman for 20 years in the British Merchant Marine before returning home. My friends spent the night with him in his stone hut.

In this day and age of instant communications and the internet, such stories seem distant indeed. But it is not so long ago that Latin was widely used as a means of communication within the Roman Catholic Church and Latin is still its official language… as recently as the 2004 10th General Assembly of Bishops there was a Latin language group…

Nor is it so long ago that certain professions and areas of scholarship used Latin as their lingua franca. Talking of the 1960s I recall my father telling me that Latin was used in this way and to convince me he took me to a medical conference in or about 1965 in Melbourne, Australia to hear a paper read in Latin by a European – Polish if memory serves me correctly – delegate.

Appropriately and perhaps showing a humorous side of the Church, the Vatican City has an ATM machine with instructions in Latin, see this photo on Wikipedia:

Today English has replaced Latin as the world’s language of learning and universal communication. Like Latin, English has a very broad and adaptable vocabulary and a rigorous grammatical syntax which enables complex ideas to be expressed accurately and intelligibly… though English grammar is not as rigorous as Latin, or for that matter Turkish….

Best wishes for a Very Happy and Successful New Year!

Thank you for shedding light on this topic, Julian!  Per your request, I’ve been listening to and enjoying Radiotelevisiun Svizra Rumantscha this morning. Though I was aware, to my knowledge, I’ve never actually heard Romansh spoken. Fascinating!  Thanks for the language lesson, Julian.

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Finland: Global listenership saves Latin radio news service

(Source: The Mainichi via Kim Elliott)

HELSINKI (AP) — For nearly three decades, Finland’s YLE radio has broadcast a weekly news program in Latin to a small group of committed listeners around the globe.

With the audience numbering just 10,000 and people increasingly turning to the internet for content, Friday was meant to be the end of the road for “Nuntii Latini,” which means “news in Latin.” But don’t underestimate the passion of Latin aficionados — more than 3,000 of them wrote in from around the globe, some in fluent Latin, encouraging the station to save the program.

YLE leadership listened, agreeing to extend it until at least its 30th anniversary in 2019.

“Ne umquam desperaveris,” (loosely translated: “never give up,”) said co-announcer Reijo Pitkaranta, a docent and lecturer in Latin at the University of Helsinki.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to listen to Nuntii Latini.

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