- RW (status in group)
- Latin never died out, it just became the Romance languages
- A few comments
- are left out here, since not controversial.
- Hmm, yes-no (in Swedish: nja!)! Latin split before it was formalized: into a perpetual creol called Vulgar Latin, and into a formal upper-class language called Formal (Classic) Latin. Vulgar Latin dialects/languages are very alive as colloquial language, while the Formal Latin transmogrified into a weird technobabble language of 50% Latin and 50% Greek with Scandinavian word composition habits (per Carolus Linnaeus) which is also pretty much alive as a Science and Technology compartment of many Europaean languages, but it is a sublanguage, not a language proper.
- TK, formal Latin still exists as a language proper, not just as the sublanguage with only nouns and adjectives that comes from Linnaeus.
- RW, "became" sounds like an unintentional and involuntary process. No. It was a written language, so are the Romance languages (or at least ten of the dialects), and thus keeping it alive as grammatical or changing spelling was a voluntary decision.
Latin could have developed the kind of diglossia between spoken and written which we find in English and found in Greek while Katharevousa was it. In fact it did, and Fredegar of Tours and Jordanes correspond pretty closely to Byzantine authors trying to write koiné but getting tripped up with their spoken Dhimotiki.
What happened? Check out Alcuin and Council of Tours 813!
There is also a thesis, by a Swede, which gave me this idea, but I forgot the name of the author and the title and have no more access directly to the building where I found it. So, I cannot really find the reference.
This is not the reference, but earliest as far as I know preserved use I made of idea:
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ...on linguistic evolution
- HGL, sounds like quite a theory! Good luck proving it
Latin would have continued being used in certain circles, as it is today, but the vernacular would have continued developing, and it is to that language I am referring in the OP. Latin was a native language to many people at one point, but it eventually developed into separate languages. Writing is an artificial process anyway. I was referring to the natural language. No one speaks Latin natively anymore because what was Latin has evolved beyond that point
HGL, please learn a bit more about historical linguistics
"What produced French and English as the civilised languages we do know were sudden revolutionary conscious decisions of restructuring language" This is complete bullshit. No one could conscious change a language that much in this way. Sorry for the strong language, but it is simply wrong. Old English is very different to Modern English.
Also, that post talks a lot about writing systems. Language change happens without writing, which was a later invention. But he [sic!] even kind of contradicts himself anyway. He says French was invented by people who were merely writing out the current patois. Well, how do you think that patois developed? Through language change. I have no more points to make to this poppy cock
- HGL, yes, but Formal Latin is moribund. The problem is that the vocabulary of Formal Latin is confusingly distinct from the Vulgar Latins, and from the Techno-Macaronian, based on Classical Latin as the Formal Latin is. Furthermore: its vocabulary is very imprecise, at the same time that Techno-Macaronian is very precise, with the same words attached to different meanings. One have to invent a brand new technical language to make Formal Latin work, and that new technical language must by necessity be very dissimilar to the Techno-Macaronian in order to not confuse Formal Latin.
- What is Techno-Macaronian?
- The science and technical sublanguages based on Latin, Greek following Scandinavian (or actually Germanic) word composition rules. Classical example: "Sterrhochaeta flexilinea" (Warren) a Lepidoptera species (a butterfly). Medical terms also. Or Central Processing Unit (CPU).
They use to call Techno-Macaronian "Latin".
- TK "Formal Latin is moribund."
Not really. It means dying and it is not.
"The problem is that the vocabulary of Formal Latin is confusingly distinct from the Vulgar Latins, and from the Techno-Macaronian, based on Classical Latin as the Formal Latin is."
I do not get the point.
Confusingly indistinct is perhaps what you mean, but that is not so. A rose is "rosa" in Latin and "rosa rosa" in Techno-Macaronian as you call it. A dog and a wolf are in Latin "canis" and "lupus", and in Techno-Macaronian "canis canis" or "canis vulgaris" and "canis lupus". IN formal Latin there is no such thing as "canis lupus", a canis is a canis and a lupus is a lupus, just as a dog is a dog and a wolf is a wolf. If anything, "canis lupus" would be a hybrid, like those between wolf and German shepherd.
"Furthermore: its vocabulary is very imprecise, at the same time that Techno-Macaronian is very precise, with the same words attached to different meanings."
There are lexicons.
I disagree that Latin has a very imprecise vocabulary, its precisions are just other than those of Modern Language.
However, a Latin which too closely calques the sociological parts of Tecno-Macaronian is in my view bad Latin.
"Progressiva factio vult terram industrializare" is a nono.
"Factio quae sibi nuncupat nomen progressivi vult terrae negotia mechanizare" is very much better.
In Latin, "industria" is simply a human habit. Like in 17th C. English the word "industry" still was. Robinson Crusoe was industrious, i e had this habit, but you can hardly call the economy on his island industrialised. And "progredere" is not a set metaphor for changing conditions in anti-medieval ways.
"One have to invent a brand new technical language to make Formal Latin work, and that new technical language must by necessity be very dissimilar to the Techno-Macaronian in order to not confuse Formal Latin."
Not in all respects. Certain words are not Techno-Macaronian in the first place, so they can simply translate, like "interrete" is for internet ("rete" is a net like spiders have for flies and fishermen for fish). And "mittere epistolam electronicam", well, theoretically it might mean send a letter written on amber, but most will understand it as meaning send an email.
But the fact of its non-use in the modern aspects of society is a real asset for clear thinking through of issues.
Take a text by St Thomas Aquinas, translate as much as possible (excepting very clearly scholastic termini technici like "act and potency" or "matter and form", perhaps only those four) into simplest non-technical lexical meanings, and you have an English text with matters well thought through.
In an English text that uses Techno-Macaronian extensively, you risk getting techno-blabla which masks how certain trains of thought are simply very badly thought through. That is a very notable fact about modernity.
- "This is complete bullshit."
"No one could conscious change a language that much in this way."
Alcuin changed the formal pronunciation of Latin.
The decades before he came, a visitor from other parts of Roman world asked himself of the priest had baptised "in the name of the Son" or "in the name of the daughter" (filii and filiae being pronunced pretty much the same in pre-Alcuin Gaulish Latin, but not the Latin where this visitor came from)
The decades after, 813, a synod in Tours says that it so often occurs that the laymen don't understand the Gospel, and made it a duty of priests to give a paraphrase in vernacular.
That means that the Formal Latin had completely changed pronunciation, from a Romance one, to a Classic or near-Classic one, like this day in ecclesiastic Latin. And Alcuin was convoked to precisely reform Latin pronunciation in Charlemagne's empire. It was called the Carolingian Renaissance.
"Sorry for the strong language, but it is simply wrong. Old English is very different to Modern English."
Yes. And you are so far correct that no one ever woke up speaking the language of King Alfred and writing it as in Beowulf and went to bed speaking the language of Mary Queen of Scots and writing it as Shakespear's Hamlet.
But this observation is of limited value.
If you go to Chomsky, you are still using the language of Chaucer, insofar as a basically identical phonematic form has changed phonetic realisation.
Chaucer and you both write "knight" and "right". If he had been challenged to spell them in German, he would have written "kniht" and "riht". But you would not write "knicht" or "richt". So, pronunciation has changed. Still, the phonemes on which his morphemes depended are very much the same, they are only different phones, many of them having since then coincided.
However, between Alfred and Chaucer you do get a break.
You have a date at which people cease to write like the Beowulf poem. Anglo-saxon chronicle carried beyond Norman Conquest was the last preserved item.
Then you get a date at which people try to start writing English again, from scratch.
What had been "geard" and "hyll" was, with identic pronunciation, "yard" and "hull". What had been "huse" was with identic pronunciation "house". This is a new start.
This is relevant, because up to the end of AS Chronicle, older AS literature could function as a model for writers and readers and educated speakers. To Englishmen today, that is the case with English back to Chaucer (who used "hill" instead of "hull" btw). If you find the word swiven in Chaucer, all you need to do is take away -n and pronounce it your way, and you have a polite alternative to the F-word which was borrowed from the Dutch word for breeding, via Nieuw Amsterdam/New York.
But if you see a word in AS, you need to be the kind of specialist not just on that language, but also on language changes, in order to adapt the word to Modern English.
This is due to the fact that as a reader and as a writer you are influenced by models which seem relevant to your language.
"Language change happens without writing, which was a later invention."
Language can change orally in five hundred years without writing, and also without affecting writing. Your English is Shakespear's - but only as long as you don't get a casette recording from Elisabethan times.
And language can change one writing for another in less than five hundred years too.
Prior to Alcuin, one language, written as Latin, was spoken as Romance.
- RW, the former one was for you, and so is this one:
"Also, that post talks a lot about writing systems. Language change happens without writing, which was a later invention. But he even kind of contradicts himself anyway. He says French was invented by people who were merely writing out the current patois. Well, how do you think that patois developed? Through language change."
Now, that is precisely why I (since I am the same Hans Georg Lundahl who wrote the thing ten years ago) made the precision "as the civilised languages we do know".
Language change can produce Cockney or Irish Brogue (some of latter btw, also through resisisting a ea > ii change, like tea=tay), but these do not live by a written continuity bridging centuries at a time. They live by contemporary unity bridging generations living together.
Written language is what makes the speech of educated people more varied in expression than patois and argot. And a phonetic change may very well both occur and become generalised (or the older pronunciation on a point be reduced to a regionalism, like Irish ea, except the word "great", basically, where Standard Pronunciation is exceptionally Irish), and this will still not show in the writing system.
So, my point stands: French exists, not as a modern pronunciation of the Latin of Fredegar, not as a defective spelling of the Latin in Fredegar, but as its own language with its own spelling, due to the decision of divorcing writing of Romance from speaking liturgical Latin - which started with Alcuin.
English exists because people not knowing perfect French had to make a makeshift substitute for it and in doing so chose the French spelling system, totally ignoring the older one of AS.
It was not a "development" but this decision, which replaced spellings like "churche" for spellings like "cyrice" (only certain difference of pronunciation: AS had one syllable more in the middle).
Stages of change in France:
- 1) Before Alcuin : one spelling and one, romance, pronunciation. Spelling pretended to be identical to that of Classics, but its users knew they were bungling it.
- 2) Alcuin effect : one spelling and two pronunciations, the romance and the imported one. Imported for liturgy, romance for everyday.
- 3) Synod-of-Tours and Oaths-of-Straßburg effect : a second spelling is introduced for preparing oral performances like the sermon after Gospel (no preserved example) or like the oath-taking in Straßburg (preserved).
- 4) Formalising distinction between the two pairs, so as to make Romance, new, spelling, the written equivalent of Romance, old, pronunciation and Latin, new, pronunciation the oral equivalent of Latin, old spelling.
Apart from stage 1, which is a bit like the relationship between your English and Chaucer's, if you compare Fredegar to his centuries older models and the modern compromises occurring habitually in both cases, none of these stages were necessitated by the oral language change. It could have gone on exactly as it did in Greece up to 1970. And even Greece would not have made Dhimotiki its official language, unless France had replaced Latin with French first.
I wrote my Latin Docent to ask for the reference of the theory I had paraphrased in shorter terms, I'd like to refer you to a longer book. However, so far, he has not answered.
Anders Piltz is this man who has not answered.
He is also a Dominican Tertiary, Catholic priest and if still active in Academia has advanced from Docent to Professor.
[And if no longer, from Professor to Professor Emeritus]
Now, I checked, it seemed two weeks ago to me, but actually it was just about one week ago I wrote to ask him. He will probably reply after Easter, since this is busy time for a priest.
Consider also that to Holberg, Bokmål was just a local pronunciation of Danish. If he could pronounce "pige" as "peekuh", so could people from Bergen to this day, without ever coming across the idea to respell it as "pike" or to replace it with "jente" in writing. The reason why Bokmål is now NOT Danish is pretty close to what I have been talking about in cases like English and French.
Wikipedia : Ludvig Holberg
- 1) Before Alcuin : one spelling and one, romance, pronunciation. Spelling pretended to be identical to that of Classics, but its users knew they were bungling it.
- Some others?
- Or not?
- Maybe if we ignore the avocadians they will go away
HGL, I wonder what you are trying to prove. You are sending me essays on facebook. And so, what if you convince me, then what? Then I proselityse for you? Why don't you send your original research to a university where it belongs (or doesn't belong)
You write a lot but say very little. I don't even know what your point is. So you agree that languages change. Ok, but you say we speak identically to Middle English. Whatever man, good luck convincing anyone of that. I don't think this group is the correct place for your pet theories, unless you like to be made fun of
- It is NOT my original research.
Its original came in the case of Alcuin, from some Swedish University I am not sure of which, possibly mine, but if so by a professor or doctor who has since then left the institution before I arrived (Lund).
Or possibly a Romanist from same University (I am a Latinist).
Essays is taking it wrong. I take up point by point and answer each in some detail.
First off, I do very much want to correct your impression that historic linguistics had proven civilised languages arise, like the phonetic changes making a patois unique, without formal decisions being made by writers. That is not only not just so, it is even impossible.
You can go the scale t th tz ss each step back and forth until you reach some irreversible limit, and in each case with only personal decisions like coolness involved (see sociolinguistics). But you do not change a spelling like gh to g without a formal decision.
"Ok, but you say we speak identically to Middle English."
Phonematically near identical, not my point but Chomsky's, phonetically very unindentical.
And good luck trying to poke fun at that, unless you happen to think phonetics and phonematics are same thing it may be hard.
- Can you give us a Jstor link for those researches? All I can tell you is that languages are always evolving, coining new concepts, discarding others and borrowing from other languages.
- HGL, "Written language is what makes the speech of educated people more varied in expression than patois and argot." You clearly have a disdain for "argot" and "patois". Written language is a construct, and far more structured and less flexible than living language. If you insist on pursuing your line that "written language is better than spoken languages", you won't find many friends here.
Writing is an addition to language, and addon, an after effect. Living languages, be they dialects or languages (of which dialects are no less in capability of expression, depth or flexibility) will always be more than their written versions because they exist in the real world and spoken by real people, as they have since the birth of language. Writing is a tiny part of language if you take into account how long language has been around. Spoken language defines writing, not the other way around.
Latin is dead because no one speaks it natively. The Latin you speak of are merely fossils. Dried bones that you can make look like a language, but it will never live, or breathe or any of the things living languages do.
- "You clearly have a disdain for 'argot' and 'patois'."
No, I do not.
"Written language is a construct, and far more structured and less flexible than living language."
Which is why it is useful for communication over centuries and across "thirty countries and twentynine kingdoms".
"If you insist on pursuing your line that "written language is better than spoken languages", you won't find many friends here."
I enjoy discussions with adversaries too.
I was not saying better in general, I was saying better for certain purposes.
Before there were casette recorders, identity of language of a dead speaker to living speakers was undiscernable apart from writing. So was, btw, non-identity.
It was realistically "presumed identical" as long as there were oral traditions reaching back to someone.
However, it was heavily localised insofar as dialects diverged and that is exactly what I mean by them being other than civilised languages. Like so many civilised things, these are constructs. French is as much a construct as Latin.
Before schools, about a century ago (or two in certain areas), forced school education on all of a population, the non-identity of local language to other local language as well as to the construct called written language, shared by an élite, was very apparent.
This has its advantages in values like genuine-ness, but it has its disadvantages in values like communication. Beyond local, there are lingua francas, which may well be as oral, but which are restricted more even than local dialects in vocabulary scope, and there is written language, which very properly in a sense you call a construct.
"Writing is an addition to language, and addon, an after effect. Living languages, be they dialects or languages (of which dialects are no less in capability of expression, depth or flexibility) will always be more than their written versions because they exist in the real world and spoken by real people ..."
Written language are written and read in the real world by real people too.
"... as they have since the birth of language. Writing is a tiny part of language if you take into account how long language has been around."
Well, how long, and how do you demonstrate that length of time historically if there was no writing back then?
It sounds like you are being swayed by evolutionary ideology rather than by linguistic observations.
"Spoken language defines writing, not the other way around."
Whenever a language hitherto not written gets an alphabet and orthography, that is true, mostly. But whenever you acquire language in one which already has writing, if you are educated, your spoken language is also determined by the written models.
And in the age of radio and TV, many masses get their speech influenced by the speech of actors and reporters who in their turn have - written models.
And in many areas (Ozark in US, North Wermland in Sweden to name two), hearing radio or TV would have been a chore unless people had already learned to appreciate the normative influence of the written language.
"Latin is dead because no one speaks it natively."
I know a man who was brought up with Latin as a first language. He is not a very happy man (or wasn't when I knew him), but his Latinity is beyond reproach.
"The Latin you speak of are merely fossils."
Nope, that would be the Latin which TK referred to as Techno-Macaronic. That is fossils. It does NOT breathe or think like Cicero or even St Thomas Aquinas, quod autem, adminus pro Aquinatem, casus est latinitatis meae.
"Dried bones that you can make look like a language, but it will never live, or breathe or any of the things living languages do."
Latinitatem meam melius novi quam batavice. Fuit quando hellenismus meus aeque fuit ac batavice. Sunt qui et loquuntur. [Quod batavice et latine quoque non facio.]
[Maar ik lees en schrijv ook een beetje Nederlandsch/Vlaamsch/"Batavisch" - maar praten? Nee.]
- Now to @CDCC :
"Can you give us a Jstor link for those researches?"
I was telling you I had asked my former Docent of Latin to provide the reference, since the "Alcuin theorem" is not by me.
As for Chomsky basing rules of Modern English phonetics on a phonology of basically Middle English, see "Sound Patterns of English".
"All I can tell you is that languages are always evolving, coining new concepts, discarding others and borrowing from other languages."
Sure. But purely oral ones are a bit restricted in the areas they can borrow from.
Borrowing from earlier chronolects (it would be difficult to borrow from later ones) is a feature which is restricted to languages preserving literature from earlier centuries. Sometimes metric based preservation, but very often written one.
A civilised language is one which allows you a civilised discussion. And a civilised discussion is one where you may at least in theory be aware if it has or hasn't been discussed before and by whom.
That usually involves writing.
- Back to RW : your view of Latin is even paradoxical, considering your relation to Atlaans.
- Simple, check the borrowings and interactions between different Native American languages (e.g. quecha-mapudungun; the tupi-guarani cluster, among others). I think that your view is quite degrading to other languages we probably haven never heard of because they lacked writing. Sure, writing requires a certain degree of evolution, but what about non-verbal language? Colours, outfits or even knots can tell us vital information about cultures or even speak by themselves.
I'd dare to say nonverbal language requires a higher level of abstraction than written one.
- I have no delusions over the origins over Atlaans. But it seems you harbour some delusions over whether Latin is living or not.
- "e.g. quecha-mapudungun; the tupi-guarani cluster, among others"
Quechua was very certainly an imperial lingua franca, therein like Latin, and may have been written on quipus. Which make it not a purely oral language.
I do not know how far away tupi and guarani are from each other geographically.
"I have no delusions over the origins over Atlaans. But it seems you harbour some delusions over whether Latin is living or not."
If you did not consider Atlaans was BREATHING, why would you bother with it?
As to your claim Latin is not alive because it is no one's mother language, well, neither is Atlaans.
But you very obviously, however much you might verbally deny it, consider it as breathing and therefore as in a sense alive.
Well, then you have primary experience of the sense in which Latin is alive to Latinists - except we are so many that each new one is in reality welcomed into an already existing language community.
"I think that your view is quite degrading to other languages we probably haven never heard of because they lacked writing. Sure, writing requires a certain degree of evolution, but what about non-verbal language?"
I see nothing degrading in my view of them in agreeing with you we have never heard of them.
Which is precisely the situation a written language likes to avoid.
"Colours, outfits or even knots can tell us vital information about cultures or even speak by themselves."
I agree these can be preserved over greater distances than purely oral communication.
In that sense they are NOT purely oral communication.
However, they are also less distinct in meaning than the spoken or written one.
- Well, I guess you have no idea over the joy of conlanging. If you do not partake in conlanging, fine. But someone can enjoy living languages as well as constructed ones like Atlaans, Klingon, or High Valyrian. Properly made, a conlang can perform just as well as a living languahe, or even a dead one like Latin.
Hans-Georg, please, I never once said Atlaans was a living language, and I don't know where you got the idea. Latin had a life and then died. Atlaans never lived. It is a conlang. My only contention is with your point that Latin /still/ lives which is something I hear, but is a very minority view.
- "Atlaans never lived. It is a conlang."
Since conlangs are plays, the proposal Atlaans is dead is like the proposition the game is dead. Obviously it is not.
Latin since Alcuin was considered a conlang by Dante Alighieri. That is part of the thesis I read.
[Or perhaps rather an Artlang]
"Well, I guess you have no idea over the joy of conlanging."
It is very much akin to my joy in Latin.
So was Tolkien's, especially in breathing, since accents of Q and S strictly follow the Latin rule.
- Once again:
- "Well, I guess you have no idea over the joy of conlanging."
It is very much akin to my joy in Latin.
So was Tolkiens, especially in breathing, since accents of Q and S strictly follow the Latin rule.
mardi 7 avril 2015
Latin and Conlangs, Featuring Alcuin
1) HGL's F.B. writings : Latin and Conlangs, Featuring Alcuin, 2) More on Post-Alcuinic Latin, 3) My Real Friends on FB are Those who Allow me to Repost, 4) Correspondence of Hans Georg Lundahl : And he Said "rozumiesz?"