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I don't know how much and deep school kids in Germany actually get in touch with Latin. For some areas of studies it seems to be a prerequisite.

In US literature, also scientific, it has -to my opinion- a kind of elitist touch. I don't see Latin phrases quite often here except a simple per se or use of acronyms like e.g. or i.d.. Of course the worst case would be a reader not noticing at all that it is Latin and supposing a spelling or formatting mistake.

Wikipedia: List of Latin phrases

Is there a similar list of known (and safe to use) Latin phrases to use in German academic circles and publishing?

Practice question:What do you do when writing an English dissertation in Germany getting corrected by mostly German profs you want to impress, but later also read by non-Germans or when applying for a job in a foreign country? Leave out all Latin phrases and use acronyms only?

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closed as not a real question by Gigili, RegDwight Jul 26 '11 at 21:42

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Last time I checked there was a notable difference in how scientific papers are written in German and in English: In English if your audience doesn't understand your paper, then it's assumed to be your fault. In German, it's assumed to be their fault. (Not really, but that's how some people treat it). –  Joachim Sauer Jul 25 '11 at 12:39
@stefan dont you think that using foreing words of a language nobody actually speaks in any country can force a elitist view by people who never learned it? Already a priori probably most US dont get, but it is a common term in german literature, not only philosophical. As English is world-wide scientific standard language, everybody publishing with self-choosen foreign words caused by his local culture might also "earn" this view... –  Hauser Jul 25 '11 at 13:24
@Hauser: I don't get what do you mean by "a single per se" and also how your title is related to your question in the body. –  user508 Jul 25 '11 at 13:28
@Gigili takkat edited manu propria a posteriori –  Hauser Jul 25 '11 at 13:51
Personally I'm always surprised how much Latin I see in German writing considering my assumption that German had much less contact/influence from Latin and romance languages than English did. –  hippietrail Jul 26 '11 at 7:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The german "branch" of Wikipedia offers a list of latin phrases, too; but i think not all of them will be commonly understood. The problem is that you often need to know the concept described by a certain phrase or its context before you can understand it. Furthermore, it depends on the subject area: certain phrases commonly used by lawyers (e.g. "culpa in contrahendo", "venire contra factum proprium") might not be understood by physicians and vice versa - and even the lawyers may know the meaning but not the exact translation in those cases.

Some of the phrases listed on wikipedia have their own wikipedia article; so, the wikipedia links may act as indicator which phrases are more commonly used (and - maybe - understood) than others. But "exempli gratia" is a counter-example - i would estimate it to be commonly understood, but there's no own wikipedia page for it (IMHO a own WP page would be inadequate in this case).

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q.e.d good tutorial to test single phrases - accepted –  Hauser Jul 25 '11 at 18:10

Here is the German version of Latin phrases.

With Google's Ngram Viewer, you can visualise the rise and fall of concepts across 5 million books and 500 years! also information about how widely they are used nowadays.

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Oh - you've been five minutes faster than me :) –  tohuwawohu Jul 25 '11 at 13:28
and good idea to point to the ngrams viewer! –  tohuwawohu Jul 25 '11 at 13:35
@tohu i.d. celerius quam asparagi cocuntur –  Hauser Jul 25 '11 at 13:35
@tohuwawohu: oh yeah, semi-jinx ;) –  user508 Jul 25 '11 at 13:45

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