Friday, 4 April 2008

Coming out 2

I used to think Lorem Ipsum was Latin.

You know the sort of stuff:
Etiam cursus cursus dolor. Lorem Ipsum quisque in lacus et dolor fermentum malesuada. Integer eleifend libero ac est. Suspendisse vitae urna. Etiam mattis convallis libero.
Unable to make sense of the snippets I saw now and then, I thought I must have lost the moderate grasp of Latin I'd had when I left school in the year 3 BPC (Before Personal Computers).

But recently I needed to copy a block of dummy text into an html template... and concluded that Lorem Ipsum wasn't any language at all, even if some of the words were Latin and many others looked as if they might be.

It seems I'm wrong again: according to this interesting BBC article, the Lorem Ipsum text is Latin, though not in a form anyone could be expected to understand:
...For many years it was believed that it was a random, nonsense text. However, Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia...has established that Lorem Ipsum is derived from two paragraphs of Cicero's 'De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum' (The Extremes of Good and Evil), written around 45 BCE. It is somewhat scrambled from the original, with words interchanged and syllables missing.
In fact,
...Lorem Ipsum has also become a spoken language - albeit a fictional one. In the novel, 'Something Rotten' by Jasper Fforde...Ms Next's toddler son, Friday...grows up burbling phrases of Lipsum that only his mother and their pet dodos can understand.
Friday Next isn't the only Lorem Ipsum speaker around. I often have the sensation that what someone is saying to me sounds like real language but doesn't actually mean anything. (This is one of the more creditable reasons for my tendency to think about imaginary people at meetings.)

1 comment:

  1. Valda,
    Very interesting. I'm a Jasper Fforde fan, so the background is nice.

    Meetings! Don't get me started! A necessary evil, I suppose. I try never to go to ones I'm not chairing. And when I chair one, by golly, we make decisions and don't waste time yacking. I must have a purple brain, too, since I write SF. :)