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Re: Proto-Latin or Italic

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 5, 2000, 6:05
At 1:15 pm -0500 4/9/00, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>Nik Taylor wrote:
>> It has been hypothesized that Vulgar Latin came from a creolized form of >> Latin, which makes sense given the rapid spread of Roman power, > >It wasn't really that rapid.
It most certainly wasn't, as Thomas correctly outlines below.
> Rome under the Republic took from about 509 BC >till 201, at the end of the Second Punic War, to really dominate Italy and the >Western Mediterranean. After that, the pace of acquisition of provinces >and "allies" under their thumb quickened, mostly because of instability in the >Eastern Mediterranean which eventually involved the very unwilling and >somewhat isolationist Romans simply because they were the only ones powerful >enough to fight the Antigonids and win. Latin as a language spread only >gradually outside Italy, and even there the Samnites, Umbrians, Etruscans >and Greeks and others retained substantial speaking populations.
Very true.
>> and the >> fact that VL was spread largely by soldiers, most of whom were not >> native speakers of Latin. > >...which is almost certainly incorrect. Yes, Vulgar Latin may have been spread >by the soldiery, but they weren't pidginizing the language.
Certainly not - there are too many similarities between all forms of neo-Latin or Romance, including Romanian which got cut off from its 'sisters' quite early on. It's clear the Vulgar Latin was a pretty standardized language. What we're talking about here is a *koine*, not a pidgin or creole. Transitory pidgins may well have formed from time to to time but AFAIK there is no evidence of any creolization of Latin.
>In almost all cases of >pidginization, and to a lesser extent in any consequent creoles that might >develop >from it, there is usually a complete loss of all morphology of any kind >from both >substrate and adstrate influences. In VL, however, we see very much >morphology >remaining, especially in the verbal paradigms.
EXACTLY!! [....]
> >The fact that the Roman soldiers were not ethnic Romans or Italians during the >Late Empire does not tell us much,
Indeed, 'ethnic Roman' had no meaning in the Late Empire. Roman citizenship had been granted to all sorts & conditions of people over quite a few centuries by that time so that in the late Empire, Romans came in most (possibly all) shades of skin color and from many diverse cultural background. There were many bad points to Roman culture, but racism was not one of them. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================