Macaronic

From Academic Kids

Macaronic refers to text spoken or written using a mixture of languages. It's occasionally used of hybrid words, which are in effect internally macaronic.

One particular form is Macaronic Latin, a term for various sorts of adulterated Latin. The phrase is used for a jumbled jargon made up of vernacular words given Latin endings, or for Latin words mixed with the vernacular in a pastiche (compare dog Latin). The writing of humorous texts for satirical purposes in Macaronic Latin became a fad in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly in Italian.

Macaronic text remains an interest of modern Italian authors. For instance, macaronic language appears in the works of Carlo Emilio Gadda; Umberto Eco (Salvatore in The Name of the Rose, and the peasant hero of Baudolino); and Dario Fo (whose Mistero Buffo - "Comic Mystery Play" - features grammelot sketches using language with macaronic elements).

Macaronic verse similarly refers to poetry written in more than one language, most frequently a mixture of the local vernacular and Latin. It was especially popular with non-liturgical carols of the middle ages. An example is the first stanza of the famous carol In Dulci Jubilo:

Original text

In dulci jubilo,
Nun singet und seid froh!
Alle unsre Wonne
Liegt in praesepio;
Sie leuchtet wie die Sonne
Matris in gremio.
Alpha es et O!

English translation

In sweet rejoicing,
now sing and be glad!
All our joy
lies in the manger;
You shine like the sun
in the mother's lap.
You are the alpha and omega!

The Roman text is in German; the italicised in Latin (in this example, there is a hint of a third language, in the Greek letters mentioned in the last line).

See also

it:Latino maccheronico

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