The Fall Of The Latin Language

1211 words - 5 pages

Latin, a descendant of the Indo-European languages, is believed to have originated in the II century BC (Sánchez). According to legend, the language, or at least the Romans, are descended from the Trojans, headed by Aeneas, who landed in Italy after the fall of Troy, though there is scant evidence to prove this. The most popular version of this story is Virgil's Aeneid. Like all other languages, it had its span of life, from the beginning of Roman civilisation until well after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Latin Language has seen near extinction because it has traveled the world, it had no chance of flourishing when it was being diluted by many other languages. In its Classical form, with the addition of many new words, it is still in use by the Roman Catholic Church, besides being the language of science, biology in particular. It originated in Central Italy, in the area known as Latium (Lazio in Italian), hence its name Latin (Willmer).As a living language, Latin underwent a continuous evolution and was open to influences from other languages. In Gaul, Vulgar Latin incorporated elements from several other languages and came to be known as the Roman or Romanic language. It was so thoroughly established that the invading Germanic nations generally adopted it as their own language (Gill). Its general acceptance is reflected in the fact that beginning in the sixth century the homilies of Church councils held in France were translated into it. By the eighth century Charlemagne prescribed that sermons should be delivered in the popular tongue, while other parts of the liturgy remained in Latin. Nevertheless, even in Gaul the language spoken in different regions never became homogeneous. Distinct dialects co-existed with separate languages, the most important of which was Provençal. Broadly speaking, beginning in the early middle ages, two groups of dialects emerged in the territories roughly divided by the Loire. In the South, the langue d'oc remained more closely linked to Latin, whereas the Northern langue d'oil was more strongly influenced by other languages. The terms used to describe the two groups of dialects derive from the respective words to express "yes" in each (Willmer).Vulgar Latin (in Latin, sermo vulgaris, "folk speech") is a blanket term covering the popular dialects and sociolects of the Latin language which diverged from each other in the early Middle Ages, evolving into the Romance languages by the 9th century. The terms Vulgar Latin and Late Latin are often used synonymously (Sánchez). Vulgar Latin can also refer to vernacular speech from other periods, including the Classical period, in which case it may also be called Popular Latin. Spoken Latin differed from literary Latin in its pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar, though some of its features did not appear until the late Empire. Other features are likely to have been present much earlier in spoken Latin. During the Middle Ages, Vulgar Latin...

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