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Italic Branch Of The Indo European Language Family

1152 words - 5 pages

The evolution of languages is constant even though minor and major changes are not usually apparent unless looking at the broader picture over a long period of time. Vocabulary is lost in the process, pronunciation and syntax are changed, and more vocabulary is added. Any language in the world has evolved from another, and most of these proto languages have suffered extinction. The Indo-European macro-family has seen this evolution and it has given rise to smaller micro-families that are each derived from a common ancestor. The Proto-Indo-European, in which the ‘proto’ stands for a reconstructed language from evidence that was given at a later point in time, gave rise to the Indo-European branch of the language tree, which in turn has been subdivided into ten different micro-families including Celtic, Germanic, Italic, Balto-Slavic, Balkan, Hellenic, Anatolian, Armenian, Indo-Iranian, and Tocharian (Slocum). In addition, each of these families is broken up based on the common language that is shared. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family, which is further split into Latino-Faliscan, Osco-Umbrian, and Romance.
The Italic languages, as its name suggest, come from the ancient Indo-European languages that were spoken in Italy. The most prominent of these languages is Latin, which mostly gave rise to many of the surviving Italic languages in the modern age. Latin began as a local language among others and it was not anticipated to dominate among its sister languages (Fortson 245). It was originally spoken among a tribe that worked on agricultural settlements named Latini, whose origins were in a region called Latium. Latium was located on the western coast and spread out centrally through Italy. This tribe eventually dominated other parts of Italy, thus spreading the language. When the Roman Empire became powerful, the dissemination of Latin spread dramatically (Fortson 252). Archaic Latin is the earliest version, found in inscriptions dated as far back as the seventh century B.C. Later writers have been known to quote poets of this era, Ennius, Accius, and Lucilius. Archaic Latin, also known as Old Latin, continued for about five hundred years until about the middle of the second century B.C (Fortson 252). Classical Latin took over for about two hundred years and included famous works from Cicero and the governmental proceedings from Caesar. Classical Latin was mostly confined to literature whereas a different variation of Latin, called Vulgar Latin, was the spoken version of the language. Vulgar closely means “the crowd” in Latin, and it is from this that the Romance languages were born. Latin and the only language that closely resembles it, Faliscan, both formed the Latino-Faliscan sub-branch of the Italic branch. Faliscan was spoken by a group of people called the Falisci who had territories to the northwest of Rome. The Faliscan capital was conquered and destroyed by the Romans at the...

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