I managed to get to a cinema yesterday and saw Iron Man 2, which was good fun, if not quite as good as the first one. (I thought the first one had a really nice, strong stucture and felt very grounded, while the second was a bit flabbier, a bit less varied and a bit more comic-book-y - which is fine, since it is a comic book, but it was the unusual tone that I liked particularly in the first one).
Iron Man 2 features a character called Natasha Romanov, who, my brother and The Interweb inform me, is a crossover character - possibly - called Black Widow, who works for SHIELD, an organisation that crosses over various Marvel characters. I was thoroughly confused by SHIELD, since the movie didn't explain what it was, and I don't usually read graphic novels, so I was totally lost (though I did wonder why Natasha seemed to have fighting skills to rival Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Natasha is a pretty awesome character, though, and, like all the most awesome people, she speaks Latin! Pepper Potts objects that no one 'speaks' Latin, because it's a dead language, you can read or write it but not speak it. This isn't quite true - Latin is still spoken and used as a common language in the Vatican, though on the other hand Latin composition is done much less often than it used to be (with the wonderful exception of the Harry Potter translations!). Pepper does have a point though - when we teach and learn Latin, we mainly focus on how to read it. This will often involve a bit of composition, since that can help with grammar revision, and usually some reading aloud and work on pronunciation, but not, generally speaking, spoken exercises. Which is a shame, as that would be kind of fun, but it would involve learning a whole new skill set that wouldn't be terribly useful, since, especially when you're just starting, the skills and knowledge required to have a conversation in the new language are very different from the skills required to read it, which is still the primary aim of learning Latin.
The best bit is later, when Tony asks Natasha if she can really speak Latin and she responds in Latin! I'd love to tell you what she said, but I didn't have a note book with me and it went by so quickly I had no chance of remembering it - I can't even remember the English translation she provided immediately afterwards! As soon as I can either get hold of the DVD or the clip appears on YouTube (or someone else posts the quotation somewhere) I'll update this post with the Latin phrase and a translation. For the moment, I can confirm that whatever it was she said, it definitely was Latin! UPDATE: It was indeed classical Latin, from Seneca - see comments section for quote and details.
And speaking of awesome.... I have been given an award! Woo-hoo! This is from the lovely Amalia over at Good to Begin Well, Better to End Well. This award appears to be something one can pass on, so without further ado...
First, I will heartily endorse Amalia's blog, which has already received this award and clearly deserves it - her blog covers writing, mythology and other thoughts and if you ever feel like pondering such matters as ancient Greek hair dye, this is the place to go.
Second, I would like to pass this award on to Chris over at Here, There and Everywhere. Chris's eclectic blog covers a whole bunch of stuff, including movie reviews, book reviews, Spanish festivals and marine biology and is always worth a read, plus there are some gorgeous pictures to make me feel jealous of the lovely Spanish weather!