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Word of the Day

Sunday, November 19, 2017
Definitions for macaronic
  1. composed of a mixture of languages.
  2. composed of or characterized by Latin words mixed with vernacular words or non-Latin words given Latin endings.
  3. mixed; jumbled.

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Citations for macaronic
His wife and daughters understood only English but together they rocked in unison on the settle and sang macaronic songs in a mixture of both languages. Benedict Kiely, "The Heroes in the Dark House," A Journey to the Seven Streams and Other Stories, 1963
At the Manhattan Theatre Club, the play no longer works for me: the macaronic and mystifying use of Romanian and English; the hyper-Pinteresque pauses; the surreal but underevocative presences of an angel, Dracula, a ghost, a talking dog ... John Simon, "Belfast, Bahia, and Bucharest," New York, October 12, 1992
Origin of macaronic
dialectal Italian
1605-1615
Macaronic verse—it can scarcely be called poetry—is associated especially with medieval universities, in which the various “nations” of students, e.g., English, Welsh, Scots, Picards, Normans, Paduans, Milanese, etc., all listened to lectures delivered in Latin and asked and answered questions in Latin. Such bilingualism, more or less fluent, invites bilingual puns and, sad to say, scurrilous verse. Perhaps the most popular macaronic verse in the contemporary United States is the Carmina Burana, a collection of 254 mostly bawdy and irreverent poems dating from the 11th or 12th century, from Benediktbeuern in Bavaria. The carmina were written in Medieval Latin, Middle High German, Old French, or a mélange of Latin and the vernacular languages. The German composer and conductor Carl Orff (1895–1982), who was born in Munich, about 45 miles away from Benediktbeuern, set 24 of the carmina to music in 1936. Macaronic entered English in the early 17th century.
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