Dante’s manly Latin for his womanly Italian
Dante, the man, allegedly penned the following in a letter to his patron Cangrande, another man. It’s that famous explanation of his (if he actually wrote it) of his Divine Commedy. Of course, he wrote the letter in prose, in Latin, to explain his epic poetry, in Italian.
And at one point, here’s what he writes to explain the language:
ad modum loquendi, remissus est modus et humilis, quia locutio vulgaris in qua et muliercule comunicant.
Some many years later, writing in Italian, in her own language, the woman Maria Adele Garavaglia translates his manly prosaic Latin for his womanly poetic Italian, as follows:
quanto all’espressione, viene impiegato un linguaggio misurato e umile, in quanto usa la lingua volgare in cui si esprimono le donnette.
And, likewise, perhaps as vulgaris and just as volgare and definitely vulgar, is the translation, ever womanly enough, in the English by Katharine Hilliard, which is humble and weak, as so:
If we consider its language, it is humble and weak, because it is the vulgar tongue, which women ever use.