Sarah Palin gets a lot of flak, especially when she talks. Despite being a failed vice presidential candidate, former governor of Alaska, supporting Donald Trump, and being one of the poster-children of the Republican party, she is probably best known for the words that come out of her mouth. Sarah Palin’s speeches are often well known and well mocked for being rambling, incoherent, and confusing. The way she talks is thought to be unintelligent and simplistic. However, according to an article in the New York Times, her speeches may be anything but simple. In fact, they’re very complex! They way Sarah Palin talks, apparently, resembles Latin.
The New York Times reports:
“Politics being kind of brutal business,” she said, “you find out who your friends are, that’s for sure.”
Here, “politics being kind of brutal business” defines the circumstances under which the action occurs. It looks like a construction that will be familiar to anybody who took Latin in school: the ablative absolute.
An ablative absolute in Latin is a particular kind of clause that, according to one definition, “modifies the whole sentence as an adverb modifies the action of a verb.” An example, courtesy of The Latin Library: “His verbis dictis, Caesar discedit.” Translation: “With these words having been said, Caesar departs.”
In fact, a lot of what Sarah Palin says sounds like it’s been poorly translated from the Latin. With her “he who” and “one who,” she’d sound almost Ciceronian if it weren’t for the holes in her logic…
There’s a reason only the Pope, language nerds, and some scientists still use Latin: it’s a complicated language! I studied it for a year back in high school, and decided pretty quick that I wanted nothing to do with it. Latin is so complicated, that we were able to pull over five separate languages out of it! Apparently we’ve had Sarah Palin wrong this whole time. She isn’t an incoherent soccer mom, she’s following in the footsteps of history’s greatest orators!
So… if Sarah Palin speaks in the same general way that the Romans did… what did the Romans sound like? “I know about foreign policy because I can see Carthage from my house!” “Caesar can only ride you if your back is bent, so strengthen it!” “We need to build a wall to keep those illegal barbarians out!”
And all this time we’ve portrayed the Romans as having sophisticated British accents…