February 2011 Archives

Kate Middleton Singing in Welsh

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Just ran into an article describing how future queen Kate Middleton learned the Welsh anthem enough to sing along at her recent Welsh visit. According to palace news sources, she chose to do this on her own, partly because she has been living in Anglesey, Wales

I'm sure there's more than one point of view about how integrated Wales should be with the rest of the United Kingdom (technically, this would be irrelevant in an independent Wales)...but my heart was warmed by this. First, I have to applaud anyone deciding to learn the local language. She really could get away being monolingual, even in a location as Cymrophonic (Welsh speaking) as North Wales, but she is choosing to learn more about the area she is living in.

But it's also an important symbol that members of the Royal Family are living in Wales and learning Welsh. Whether you're a Royalist or want a completely independent Wales, I think it's better for all of Britain if the former enemy nations can understand each other more. And I do believe that one role of the British Royal family can fill is to be cultural ambassadors. I'll be curious to see how the monarchy and the Welsh evolve together.

Latin Girl Power on Gossip Girl

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Having visited relatives and friends in New York (not to mention the Met), I confess that I do get a kick watching some insider NYC references on the night time soap Gossip Girl. I confess though to being curious if any of the more manipulative characters had actually learned anything of academic interest from their expensive private school and Ivy League educations.

To my delight though, one of the fashionistas realized that she might want to think about a career depending on skills and talent rather than influence and dirty tricks. Her choice? To be an editrix of a major fashion magazine. Using her Latin, she realized that she didn't have to settle for being just an editor (originally the masculine form), but could actually rise to the feminine editrix.

Sadly the feminine -rix suffix has been mostly consigned to ladies in leather (the "dominatrix"), but Latinists also know it from aviatrix (i.e. woman aviators such as Amelia Earhart) and executrix (women who are estate executors). But sometimes an educated woman remembers that -rix and -or were once more co-equal and will reclaim the -rix suffix for her own (sometimes when I have the map in the car, I am the navigatrix.

I like the choice of "editrix" because there is nothing wrong with a talented woman wielding power in her own right in the open.