South Fujian is all the rage. In a recent post on Language Log the illustrious Victor Mair, querying the dominance of Modern Standard Mandarin, gives two Tang poems in Southern Min (Hokkien) pronunciation, also common in Taiwan. *
A comment on Victor’s article suggests an analogy between the Chinese topolects and the diverse evolution of Latin pronunciation around Europe.
By the Middle Ages no one tried to pronounce it the way it had been pronounced in the days of Julius Caesar and likewise no one worried too much that it was pronounced differently elsewhere in Europe. Then came the 20th century and, for the first time ever, schoolchildren were taught to pronounce Latin in a conjectural reconstruction of “proper” ancient pronunciation rather than whatever living evolved topolectal tradition had been handed down to them.
Note further comments under the post. In particular, a substantial wiki article details changing fashions in the English pronunciation of Latin.
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For all its flaws, Wikipedia has become established as a useful reference point; after all, weighty earlier encyclopedias are far from perfect, and wiki can be constantly updated. It even polices itself, as in articles like these:
As Caesar himself observed prophetically (already toying with various styles of pronunciation), online encyclopedias can be textured yet ineffectual:
Veiny, weedy, wiki
For punctuation nerds, the wiki entry on the pithy dictum even notes the comma splice or asyndeton.
Cf. the Gandhi song from Mary Poppins, and Ate, in terror, Paxo minibus. See also Peter Cook’s Miner sketch (“I might have been a judge… but I never had The Latin”), under Myles: a glowing paean—along with
Noli me quidere?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?