When in Rome

I can’t catch a break with the local newspaper. Now they are quoting me as saying that Spanish is a “Roman language.”

16 thoughts on “When in Rome

    1. “Romance is officially dead”

      I feel the plot of a rom-com coming on….

      She was a tenured professor in Romance languages…

      He was a reporter who couldn’t keep his facts straight…

      set up: She is misquoted by reporter and demands a correction, which is also wrong…. she isn’t that mad but is flummoxed by a dead end in her research looking for the missing link that would prove her theory about a great romance between a historic figure with her first name and…. wait for it…. another historic figure with his first name.

      climax: He flies to Europe where she is doing lexical research in a remote region of Apulia…. he ends up giving an impassioned speech to her on the history of Italian (getting all the facts straight) and his love for her in a picturesque seaside trattoria (where she’d been collecting terms for seafood pasta) and everyone bursts into applause when he kisses her…. and the crusty nonna whose trust she’d been trying to win gives her a special cookbook which contains a recipe that proves the link mentioned in the set up!

      Just thinking that up destroyed another little piece of my soul….


        1. ” I’m astonished that you’ve watched enough rom-coms”

          A lot of my higher education was about observation and pattern perception (under different names) so I didn’t have to watch many…. (and even that was maybe too much though I think mainly I’ve seen different parts of different ones at different times…).

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow Cliff! Very impressive! I never would have thought you had such talents in the romance-novel writing department!!


      2. Plot twist: the reporter then falls in love with a server at the trattoria, abandons the professor, and quits his reporter job to pursue his lifelong dream of being a fisherman.

        The following season follows his subsequent financial demise which then leads to the server rejecting his further “advances”, most of which involve the seeking of money.

        At this point, with no warning to the viewers, the rom-com turns into a game show …

        “What would YOU do for a million euros?!”



          1. ” the French art film version”

            The French art film version….

            The heroine is an alienated teacher of Romance languages who is misquoted in a very trivial way (this happens before the movie begins.
            She spends two hours talking out her feelings on this with everyone in her social circle in long winded conversations that also include long rambling stories of her childhood and some philosophy book she read 14 years ago. The end.

            (I love French movies with no plot beyond people sitting around and talking about the meaning of life and wish they still made them….).

            Liked by 1 person

    1. “most readers will have no idea as to what Roman means”

      I was briefly on a journalism track years ago (had worked at a newspaper and at a couple of student publications). I liked journalism and I liked being around newspaper people (this was before the destruction of journalism beginning in the 1980s) but formal classes made me hate it…

      Especially wearisome were the constant dunning reminders to dumb things down. “The average newspaper customer reads at an 8th grade level” was repeated so, so, soooooo often and what we expected to produce was so…. terrible is the only word that fits…. I ended up quitting to find the least practical major possible (which I did, and it’s called ‘linguistics’ and I have no regrets).


      1. Is it true, though? I was a trainee journalist in England (London, late 1980s) and was never exposed to any such requests for dumbing down my articles. I now teach English in Italy and am quite sure that half the general population of the country would be hard put to explain the concept of “lingue romanze”.


        1. “was a trainee journalist in England”

          British and American journalism are extremely different things.

          “never exposed to any such requests for dumbing down”

          both my parents were involved in journalism to different degrees and neither thought they were dumbing down (as opposed to writing clearly so that readers can get information) but they were essentially self-taught on the job (the way journalists had been for decades).

          It was the 1980s where, in America, journalism was being ‘professionalized’ which in the US is about standardized outputs and dumbing down was probably seen as a way to quickly standardize writing.
          By the 2000s that seems to have ended and the profession was de-skilled and essentially no longer really exists.


        2. “half the general population of the country would be hard put to explain the concept of “lingue romanze””

          In the US for many decades “Department of Romance Languages” was commonly used both in high schools and universities… what would you call a department responsible for teaching French, Spanish and Italian?


          1. @ cliff arroyo
            Thank you for the clarification: it was informed and helpful. I am all in favour of cultivated, classical high diction, I am only somewhat sceptical as to the degree of culture to be found among the educated general public, and not only among Americans at this point.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.