Tip o’ the pileus to Dorothy King for alerting us to this somewhat strange connection being made by the Daily Mail:
Celebrity Latin tattoos may be fuelling a revival of the ancient language in schools, it emerged today.
The OCR exam board today launched a new Latin qualification aimed at teenagers as secondary schools increasingly offer the subject, either during the curriculum or after-hours.
But examiners urged pupils not to emulate model Danielle Lloyd, whose Latin tattoo is riddled with errors.
While Beckham and Jolie’s Latin inscriptions are grammatically correct, Lloyd’s is meaningless, they said.
Her tattoo, ‘Quis attero mihi tantum planto mihi validus’, which is etched on to her shoulder, is intended to translate as ‘To diminish me will only make me stronger’.
But experts say the words in fact translate into something more akin to ‘Who I wear away for me only for me strong’.
Beckham, on the other hand, gets full marks for his two Latin tattoos.
The footballer has ‘Ut Amem Et Foveam’ (meaning ‘So that I love and cherish’) inscribed on his left forearm and ‘Perfectio In Spiritu’ (meaning ‘Perfection in spirit’) on his right.
Meanwhile Jolie chose ‘Quod me nutrit me destruit’, which means ‘What nourishes me also destroys me’.
Other celebrities embracing the trend include actor Colin Farrell, who has ‘Carpe Diem’ or ‘Seize the day’ inscribed on his left forearm.
OCR said the continuing influence of Latin in day-to-day life could be seen in baby naming.
It said three of the four top girls’ names have Latin origins – Olivia (from Latin ‘Oliva’ meaning Olive), Emily (from the Latin ‘Aemilianus’, a Latin family name) and the Grace (from Latin ‘Gratia’, meaning goodwill or kindness).
The OCR exam board said schools and youngsters were aware of the continuing influence of Latin and had expressed an interest in a qualification to recognise basic achievement in the subject.
The new ‘Entry Level Certificate in Latin’ is a qualification in its own right or could be taken as a precursor to a GCSE or A-level in Latin. It is likely to be taken by 13 to 17-year-olds.
It follows a surge in the number of secondary schools offering Latin over the past decade.
Surveys suggest that one in five secondaries now teaches the subject, including several hundred comprehensives.
A computer-based Latin course backed by Cambridge University is said to have made it easier for schools to offer Latin.
The team behind the project say schools are held back by a lack of access to Latin, rather than a lack of interest in it.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and a long-standing advocate of Latin, said: ‘I’m delighted that OCR are introducing the first ever Entry Level Qualification in Latin.
‘It proves how much demand there is for this great subject and will provide the perfect platform for the next generation of classicists.’
Students will be introduced to the Latin language, including a list of 100 Latin words. They will also study aspects of Roman culture.
Paul Dodd, qualifications manager for languages and literature at OCR, said: ‘Latin vocabulary has had a rich and lasting influence on English, as well as being the foundation for modern day Spanish, French and Italian.
‘Latin language and culture have played a major part in shaping our own intellectual, literary, artistic and political traditions.
‘Many schools already teach Latin alongside other subjects but have no way of formally recognising their learners’ achievements below GCSE.
‘Our new Entry Level qualification provides a good bridge to further attainment as well as providing a way of recognising the skills learned.’
The Daily Mail also has a sidebar with translations of assorted celeb tattoos. That said, all I can say is “Wow” … classic Daily Mail. Without even reading between the lines much it is pretty clear that the folks at OCR didn’t make this connection, nor does it seem like they even mentioned ink when launching this exam. Indeed, here’s the announcement from their site:
OCR has announced the launch of the first ever Entry Level qualification in Latin. The pre-GCSE level qualification, available from September 2010 for first teaching, is funded for use by the state sector and can be used as a stand-alone qualification or as a stepping stone to further study of the subject at GCSE and A Level.
The qualification provides learners with an introduction to the Latin language, and also includes study of aspects of Roman culture. Learning centres can choose the topics that they feel will best support their candidates’ introduction to the Latin language. Supporting topics include literature – either in translation or in Latin – a Roman site, Roman artefacts, slavery, the gladiators, the Roman army and more. The wide range of materials available to work with means teachers have flexibility to make the course both appealing and fun.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and longstanding advocate of the value of Latin, said: “I’m delighted that OCR are introducing the first ever Entry Level Qualification in Latin. It proves how much demand there is for this great subject and will provide the perfect platform for the next generation of Classicists.”
Paul Dodd, OCR’s Qualifications Manager for Languages & Literature said: “Many schools already teach Latin alongside other subjects but have no way of formally recognising their learners’ achievements below GCSE grade. Our new Entry Level qualification provides a good bridge to further attainment as well as providing a way of recognising the skills learned.”
… which is clearly echoed in the Daily Mail piece. Now I’m all for highlighting celebrity tattoos in Latin and regular readers of rogueclassicism will know that I’ve made comments on same in the past (e.g. here and here), but to make the leap from one of Angelina Jolie’s body parts to some sudden surge in Latin interest seems a bit of a stretch and, quite frankly, is somewhat insulting.