Sony & Rex: Latin survives in glory!

Ok, maybe you could guess that the brand Rex (Rex Electrolux is the full name of the electronics company) is a Latin word, but what about Sony? This Japanese corporation chose a combination of the Latin sonus (sound) and the English slang sonny to create its name.

It is true, according to many, that Latin is a dead language because nobody speaks it anymore. In a not so far past, anyway, it was the official language of the Church and masses were celebrated in this language. Besides, the knowledge of Latin in former times meant power, a sort of intellectual power over those who could not understand it. In fact, it was taught only to rich people who could afford the cost of a school or a private teacher.

In some schools the language of the Romans is still taught, between the approval of enthusiastic parents and teachers and not so many happy students.

Anyway, Latin is used by some companies, small and big ones as well, to give their names a sort of glory or importance. As I said before, this language was taught only to nobility, and thinking about the Romans, one of the first things that comes into your head is their fame and power. So why not take advantage of these ideas for a marketing purpose? For example Bvlgari adopted the Roman letter v (which in Latin means u) instead of the modern u.

On the other hand Latin has had a wide influence over the so-called Romance languages, so that now they have a common basis and it’s easier e.g. for a Spanish speaker to learn Italian than another non neo-Latin language.

In addition to that, it happens sometimes that an Italian speaking English uses the Latin sounding word instead of another which is typically English. What I mean is, an Italian could say period instead of time (which doesn’t have a Latin origin) because period is more similar to the Italian periodo and its Latin correspondent periodus. When this happens (not necessarily in my example), an Englishman could think that the word sounds refined and the Italian is speaking in a noble way. In fact, English words with a Latin origin– if properly used of course – are considered as sophisticated. On the contrary, for the Italian this is just a way to express himself without knowing or remembering the proper English expression. Of course, this often happens only to people who don’t have a good command of the English language. And they are not only Italians but also other Romance language speakers! 🙂

So what do you think about Latin? Should it be still taught in schools? Which are the advantages of being able to understand this language?


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