Scholia Reviews ns 6 (1997) 11.

Horst Haider Munske & Alan Kirkness (edd.), Eurolatein: Das griechische und lateinische Erbe in den europäischen Sprachen. Reihe Germanistische Linguistik 169. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1966. Pp. viii + 341. ISBN 3-484-31169-X. DM 164.00.

Bernhard Kytzler
University of Natal, Durban

Habemus nomen! The newly coined hybrid, to be pronounced 'Oi-row-laah-tain' with an accent on the first and the last syllable, is obviously in need of some clarification. The name is recommended by H.H. Munske (pp.82-84) on the grounds that it is easy to translate into other European languages and has a number of parallels in German such as 'Eurocity', 'Eurodollar', 'Eurokommunismus', 'Eurokonzern', 'Euronorm', 'Euroskeptiker' and 'Eurovision'. On the other hand, 'Euro-' is used here metonymice; it stands for elements and rules, which, at various times and for various reasons, have been taken over from Latin by later languages. Such elements include the writing system, syntax, vocabulary and word-formation, as well as sayings, proverbs, quotations and much more. The word is meant to designate modern linguistic phenomena based on sources from Classical, Medieval, and Neo-Latin; it is also meant to include Greek words which have taken their way into modern languages via Latin, e.g. alphabet, school, philosophy and the like. A somewhat different approach is taken later on by Helmut Henne (pp. 275-83, especially 276); here it is stated that, at least under semantic aspects, 'Eurolatein ein eher fragwürdiger Begriff' and an alternative, 'Graeco- und Latinoeuropäisch', is suggested. What should we use then: Eurolatein or Latinoeuropäisch? Videant posteri! But, whatever the best form of the name might be, how is the concept used in the fifteen papers of this collection?

Basically, there are two types of contributions: (a) general considerations and (b) case studies concerning single languages. To start with the latter: there are two articles on French, four on German, two on Russian, one on Italian and French, and one on English. The latter by Manfred Scheler (pp. 152-70) seems to me a model: it traces step by step, clearly and thoroughly, the English intake from antiquity (Old English; 450-650; Christianisation in the 7th to 11th centuries; etc.). While the other articles adopt different approaches and have their own merits, one cannot suppress the feeling that a series of more closely parallel articles for as many modern languages as possible might have created a more informative and eye-opening corpus.

Looking at the other half of the collection (based on a symposium in the Werner Reimers Stiftung in Bad Homburg, Germany in September 1994) we find an even more diversified panorama. The only investigation of Greek phenomena opens the book (Niklas Holzberg 'Neugriechisch und Eurolatein', pp. 1-11), a sophisticated and fascinating overview over sixty-five words from modern Greek and their influence on modern German. There are, however, Greek elements mentioned in a couple of other articles (Manfred Scheler, 'Zur Rolle des griechischen und lateinischen Elements im Englischen Wortschatz', pp. 152-170; 'Zur Europäisierung der französischen Nomina agentis: die Internationalismen - (o)graphe und -(o)logue/-(o)logiste', pp. 171-193; Johannes Volmert, 'Die Rolle griechischer und lateinischer Morpheme bei der Entstehung von Internationalismen', pp. 219-235); finally one article presents a case study of the influence of a single Greek word on modern languages (Alan Kirkness, 'Vergleichende Beobachtungen am Beispiel aero-', pp. 236-274). The language change during the transition from Latin to vernacular in German university documents is carefully studied (Juergen Schiewe, pp. 47-64) and shows a good number of interesting facets (nine fields listed on p. 48); the integration of latin terminology in medicine is richly documented (Mechthild Habermann, pp. 12-46); 'Eurolexis und Fremdsprachendidaktik' is also discussed (Franz- Joseph Meissner, pp. 284-305), in a style, however, which abounds in terminology ('Fachchinesisch'!) and is in part more confusing than enlightening. At the end there is a useful Index Rerum and also an 'Auswahlbibliographie' meant to facilitate the access to the field of Eurolatein; but will thirty alphabetical pages really prove to be a helpful working tool? Anton Bauer's study is missing,[[1]] and the whole bibliography is nothing more than an amalgam of the individual bibliographies appended to the articles of the book; was it meaningful to repeat so much all over again?

In conclusion, the volume offers a great number of aspects concerning the Eurolatein phenomenon. It is an exhortation to carry on the work in this field with greater cooperation. It also gives us interesting surveys of the differentiation of single words in various languages (e.g. thirty words concerning university life, pp. 59-60; twenty- three meanings of latin 'genius' in nine languages, pp. 291- 92). Where the future way should lead is spelled out by Helmut Henne (p. 277): in Eurolatin Studies 'muss nach der Inventarisierung des Wortschatzes und seiner Ordnung nach unterschiedlichen Kriterien, z.B. in chronologischer, etymologischer, fachsprachlicher und anderer Hinsicht, die Arbeit an der lexikalischen Semantik beginnen.' Optime!


[[1]] Anton Bauer, '"Mutter" Latein und ihre Englische "Stieftochter"', Gymnasium 98 (1991) 444-473.