As schoolteacher and priest Agricola retained Latin as the language of learning and culture and also many Catholic customs, such as the doctrines of purgatory, the Lenten fast and confession.

A history of Finland by Henrik Meinander

I have two variants:

  1. Agricola retained Latin and also many Catholic customs
  2. Agriloca retained Latin as the language of learning and also as language of Catholic Customs.

Which one is correct?

  • It's hard to know exactly what you are asking. Neither of your examples paraphrases the original accurately. Aug 28, 2022 at 9:21
  • It's hard to discuss English in and as translation.
    – Lambie
    Aug 28, 2022 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


Syntactically, it's impossible for us to know any better than you do. Both subdivisions of the sentence are possible.

However, I would intuitively go with the second one, because

  1. It seems empirically more likely that Latin and customs are paired rather than that learning and customs are paired.

  2. Often when a writer adds this unnecessary "also", the goal is to interrupt the closest coordination. Same with "as well as", which does the job better by introducing a bigger break.

  3. If the writer had wanted to insist on Latin as the language of customs, they could have repeated of: "and (also) of many customs".

But these aren't conclusive reasons. Latin could well have been the language of the customs; "also" could be used for emphasis; and a second "of" is not strictly needed for the conjunction.

In a conversation I would probably have to clarify this.

  • 1
    I might take a peep at the original Swedish text as well. Aug 28, 2022 at 15:28

I read it as

  • Agricola retained Latin (as the language of learning and culture) and also [retained] many Catholic customs

He probably did not require his flock (unless they were monks?) to confess in Latin, let alone fast in Latin.

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