Carpe Latinitatem

I was walking around the office the other day and overheard one of the Rake’s ad reps telling two more reps that he’d just sold an ad contract. I opined, in passing, that his customer must be a very perspicacious sort. That, of course, brought the conversation to an abrupt halt.

"What the hell does that mean?" he asked. So I told him wise or perceptive, and that it was from the Latin perspicio, which means to see through or to see thoroughly, and that perspicio, in turn came from per (through) and specio (to look) and that someone who could see through things tended to be wise, hence the connotation.

"Perspective comes from the same roots, and you can change the inflective prefix and come up with introspective, inspect, respect, aspect, and so forth," I continued.

Of course, by that time, the group had moaned, much like my children do when I go all Latin on them, and had gone back to their offices to sell more ads. At least I hope so.

I thought of all this when I noted that on the NY Times today, the most emailed story was A Vote for Latin. The article is a good read, and makes a good argument for studying Latin. I am basically of the opinion that, if Thomas Jefferson thought is was worth knowing, it probably is. After all, as far as presidents go, he was the very summit of perspicacity.