Unsolicited Latin Lesson Re: The Social Network’s Incorrect Pronunciation of "Winklevi"

I kept waiting for my irrationally strong feelings regarding the mispronunciation of Latin on The Social Network to subside, but alas, they won’t. And like all things I become obsessed with (beauty products, vampire fiction, Ryan Reynolds), I feel the only way to be able to live my life like a normal person in the world is to blog about it.

Let’s start with this: I saw The Social Network TWICE in a week. I adored it. The Trent Reznor-created soundtrack is phenomenal, David Fincher is a genius as usual and Aaron Sorkin‘s crazily quotable script is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. That said, Aaron made one egregious (Philbin) mistake that has been driving me insane. Let’s discuss. Remember when Mark Zuckerberg uttered that hilarious line to Rashida Jones‘ character about “the Winklevae?” As a Latin scholar, I find this to be just…. 12 shades of wrong. But what really upsets me? Mark ZUCKERBERG is a Latin scholar–he immersed himself in Latin at Phillips Exeter Academy, evidently and has even been known to quote epic classical poems like The Iliad at length. So a high school student (a genius one, at that) who essentially majors (in high school) in Latin would NEVER pluralize a male noun with an “ae.” That suffix is for female plural nouns, i.e., “larvae.” Assuming Mark was making a play on Latin (obv) and assuming that one Winklevoss was similar in sound to the Latinized male singular version of their name Winklevus, pluralized, we’d have WinkleVI. It’s possible that that is what Aaron intended initially. However, true Latin scholars know that folks unfamiliar with Latin pronunciation frequently mispronounce this suffix to make it rhyme with “sky” when in reality, it should rhyme with “ski.” And someone as immersed (and pretentious and conscientious) as Mark would NEVER make that mistake. Not with Gemini, alumni or Winklevi. 

Okay, I feel better. Back to pretending there are two Armie Hammers and that I can envision myself in the middle of a Winklevi sandwich (joke courtesy of Lesley Kat).

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