Are there Romance languages descending from Classical Latin?

Guest   Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:02 pm GMT
what does Yves Cortez say about the genesis of vulgar (barbarian?) Latin?
R. Prodi   Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:07 pm GMT
The three Romance languages descend from Classical Latin, but there is only little correspondence in grammar, and even the Romance vocabulary is so distant from Latin that, if you want or have to learn Latin, it won't help you much if you know Italian or Spanish. I know it from experience: in Latin courses, I always hoped that some day Latin texts would become intelligible without effort because it was said that my mother tongue Italian was some kind of modern Latin. But this turned out to be a big mistake! It is perhaps easier for a Greek or German to learn Latin than for an Italian, becaus they know in advance that they will learn a completely new language. Romance speakers have to be careful not to think that learning Latin is simple because Romance languages are said to descend from Classical Latin.
Jordi   Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:30 pm GMT
">The three Romance languages descend from Classical Latin, but there is only little correspondence in grammar, and even the Romance vocabulary is so distant from Latin that, if you want or have to learn Latin, it won't help you much if you know Italian or Spanish. I know it from experience: in Latin courses, I always hoped that some day Latin texts would become intelligible without effort because it was said that my mother tongue Italian was some kind of modern Latin. But this turned out to be a big mistake! It is perhaps easier for a Greek or German to learn Latin than for an Italian, becaus they know in advance that they will learn a completely new language. Romance speakers have to be careful not to think that learning Latin is simple because Romance languages are said to descend from Classical Latin. <"

Greek for us Spanish speakers is relatively easy. At least pronunciation wise, however, wording is similar that it may confuse us with our own words and vice versa. I think the same is true with Latin and to a lesser extent Italian.

i.e. - http://youtube.com/watch?v=T5CrYiOlDx4

In despite of these flaws, we humans instinctively, yearn to know / learn similar languages to that of our mother tongue for the curiousity per se.
Guest   Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:57 pm GMT
Well, I can't speak Modern Greek (nor Helenic Greek, haha), but when I read "Greek for Spanish speakers is relatively easy" I was shocked? Really, Jordi? I took one year of Latin in Bachillerato (the Spanish equivalent to High School) and I did not find it that easy. Declensions, word order , and so on. It all was quite different from Spanish or other romance languages,despite Latin is the "mother" of Spanish. Greek is in many ways like Latin, there are declensions (even more than in Latin), a even more complex verb system, also the Greek script is different from the Latin one . At least most of Spanish vocabulary comes from Latin, but Greek vocabulary shares some words with Spanish only. Learning Greek is certainly not like learning Italian or other easy languages but to the contrary, it may be quite challenging.
Jordi   Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:04 pm GMT
Modern Greek; as many of us may know is a combination of Conic and Classical Greek. What I meant was that Modern Greek and Standard Spanish sound awfully similar, or if not identical in pronunciation. Notwithstanding Spanish does share a few words with Greek and what not.

I do agree that Greek is much more complex then Spanish though. Whether Modern or Classical ;)
Jeck   Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:13 pm GMT
>>i.e. - http://youtube.com/watch?v=T5CrYiOlDx4<<

Moro mou = Mi amor = My love

Thanks! I like the song =) I agree that it does have a Spanish vibe (lingusitically speaking) of course.
percontator   Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:16 pm GMT
One of the main topics in this thread is the separation of Classical Latin from Vulgar Latin...

Do we have any real proof of this? I mean, are there any historical texts or references from the Latin speakers themselves that say that there were differences in the language? Or did this Classical/Vulgar separation happen centuries later when people starting studying and classifying it? Did the peoples who spoke Latin use these terms?

Even with modern languages there is a formal version of the language that is used for official and public situations...but we don't separate these...so why do we do it with Latin?

For instance, I don't say that my Spanish teacher is teaching Classical Spanish, but she speaks Vulgar Spanish...so why would it be any different for Latin? And for my fellow English speakers, aren't the prime examples of a language that is a formal and informal language both written and spoken...but again, we do not seperate them as if they were two different languages.
Orwell   Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:38 pm GMT
Well,they must have been separated back then,otherwise it wouldn't be so different today. Take ,for instance,the word for "horse" : in Vulgar Latin -"caballus", in Classical -"equus" . Or,more obvious, "testa" and "caput" ,the words for "head". The proof is that these "vulgar" words aren't present in many Latin writings ,but since they passed along until today, they must have been used in spoken language. Otherwise we wouldn't have "caballo,cheval,cal,etc" and "tete,teasta,etc" today.
Keep in mind that those were other times. The written language was more like a "protocol" ,something arbitrary for the educated, whilst the spoken one evolved naturally according to the peoples' needs, but in parralel with the written one.
Guest   Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:43 pm GMT
In Spanish there is "cabeza", which derives from capitia. Also testa is used in some dialects in informal situations. For example: Estás mal de la testa! (You are crazy).
percontator   Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:37 am GMT
Orwell,

I am not debating what you said because I agree with you, and most of what has been said in this thread. However, my question is one of evidence.

If I understand what I am reading on the internet, written Latin is classified as (Old, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, New, and Modern).

The big difference in written form seems to be from Classical Latin to Medieval Latin in terms of style and vocabulary. Now just looking at the dates it is easy to see why. Classical Latin was being used at the height of the empire, and Medieval Latin was being used at the weakening and collapsing of the empire where several external forces where having serious influences.

I think what is causing confusion is the use of the phrase "Vulgar Latin." There are actually two meanings two this phrase. There is "Vulgar Latin" which really just the "common speech being spoken by the common people." And then there is "Vulgar Latin" which is a category for all Latin dialects and differences that emerged after the common usage of Classical Latin.

But my question is still how do we know that Classical Latin was just a written form and not a spoken form? Do we have any evidence to support this? I understand that common sense, as well as, looking at the usage of modern day languages, that there could have been a clear separation of informal and formal language both written and spoken...but if there is no evidence, how can we claim this as fact?

Is there any evidence out there that says this is true?

Unless we have the ability to travel back in time, or there is a Citizen of Rome from 100 CE walking around in modern times...all we are doing is assuming. So couldn't we just as easily assume that it was a form of spoken language? Unless there is evidence which says "this is how it is"...both are possibilities.

And as for your example with the word "horse," isn't it possible that the word "Caballus" or whatever its origin was came into being later? Again we are assuming that the origin of this word existed at the same time as "Equus" in spoken speech but not written speech. And survived orally into the Vulgar dialects where "Equus" did not. I am not saying this did not happen...I am just saying how do we know this?
Josh Lalonde   Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:35 am GMT
<<Do we have any evidence to support this? I understand that common sense, as well as, looking at the usage of modern day languages, that there could have been a clear separation of informal and formal language both written and spoken...but if there is no evidence, how can we claim this as fact?>>

That *is* the evidence.
Guest   Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:07 pm GMT
<<That *is* the evidence. >>


I think that this is *not* the case. Ther are always a written and a spoken version of *one* language, spoken English and written English are both English and not two distinct languages - they are so similar that you can write a spoken sentence word by word and it will be understood by everybody. What is claimed by some on this forum is that spoken "vulgar Latin" and written classical Latin were for centuries two distinct and mutually inintelligible languages of their own.

It is indeed hard to imagine that Caesar didn`t speak Latin to his mother but some kind of Proto-Romance - and that he used Latin just for writing books. To my knowledge, the very first mentioning that classical Latin was not intelligible to the people stems from the early 9th century.
Mallorquí.   Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:46 pm GMT
Guest, bonjour,

"El promès ha d'esser atès" (il faut tenir ses promesses), d'après on dicton de chez nous.

À propos de la théorie d'après laquelle les langues romanes ne descendent pas du latin, une théorie que je touve absurde et manquée de sens, puisque ce que monsieur Cortez affirme, à bout de compte, est que la séparation (la diglossie) entre latin illustre et latin populaire est plus ancienne qu'on ne le pense en général.

Tout ce que je peux faire est, dans plusieurs messages, d'envoyer des textes en latin populaire. Par exemple ce graffito, provenant de Pompeï (avant l'an 79 A.J.C.):

"Quisquis ama, valia,
peria qui nosci amare,
bis tanti peria quisquis amare vota."

C'est-à-dire: "Que vive qui sait aimer, la mort à qui ne sait pas aimer, deux fois la mort à qui empêche les autres d'aimer".
"Ama" au lieu de "amat", "peria" pour "pereat", "nosci" pour "noscit", "vota" pour "votat"... nous rapprochent des langues romanes actuelles.

Ces différences entre latin illustre et latin populaire étaient anciennes? Probablement, mais ce qui est sur (comme je vais essayer de montrer dans d'autres messages, s'intensifient dans le temps jusqu'au moment où ceux qui écrivent prennent conscience d'écrire une langue différente du latin, et pas seulement "un latin mal écrit".

Ah, comme on le sait, la diphtonghe "au" évolue à "o" en presque toutes les langues romanes, excepté l'occitan et le roumain. Eh bien, une fille que Cicéron aimait s'appelait Claudia, mais, quan il écrit des lettres à des gens de son cercle, il l'appelle "Clodia".

L'exemple d'un occitan qui écrirait en français ne me semble pas valable parce qu'il aurait une conscience complète et absolue d'écrire une langue différente de son "patois", ce qui n'est pas le cas de ceux qui écrivaient un latin pénétré de vulgarismes: ils n'en avaient pas conscience, du moins aucun texte de ceux qui nous sont parvenus le laisse le supposer.

Sant Augustin, au IIIème siècie, déclare écrire un latin très rapproché du latin populaire parce qu'il préfère que le peuple le comprenne plutôt que d'être "grondé" par les grammairiens.

Le terme "romana lingua" n'apparaît que très tard (au XVIIIème siècle), quand les latins locaux (commençant par le français) s'étaient déjà assez éloignés du latin illustre, au point que celui-ci n'était pas compris par le peuple.
Mallorquí.   Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:03 pm GMT
L'un des arguments principaux du raisonnement de monsieur Cortez est qu'il touve impossible que, dans l'espace que trois ou quatre siècles, le latin que nous connaissons (latin illustre) ait évolué si rapidement au point de donner nos langues romanes. Et il a raison: une génération n'aurait compris ni la précedante ni la suivante.

La séparation venait de bien plus avant, à cette différence près: que les romains (ou les gens romanisés) comprenaient le latin classique et, puis, graduellement, on est arrivé ou cette compréhension disparaît.

Combien de grecs de nos jour comprennent, sans l'avoir étudié, le grec classique, même si on accorde que la séparation entre l'actuel entre le grec actuel et le grec classique est plus petite que celle qu'il y a, par exemple, entre le latin classique et l'italien, le catalan ou le portugais?

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Pour nous qui parlons des langues issues du latin, quel effet nous fait un texte en latin (si nous ne l'avons pas étudié)? Eh bien, on comprend la plupart des mots, on les reconnaît comme propres, mais on a l'impression (passez moi le trait d'humour) qu'on les a jetés tous ensemble ces mots qui sont identiques ou qui ont peu changé, en les prenant d'un phrase italienne, catalane ou espagnole, dans un panier, et qu'on a secoué très fort. Quand on les a ressorti, on ne perçoit que très rarement le rapport entre les uns et les autres? Comme s'il y avait eu un tremblement de terre. La compréhension devient très difficile.
Mallorquí.   Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:20 pm GMT
Grec et latin, moderne et classique.

L'exemple suivant peut illustrer un tout petit peu les changement intervenus dans le passage du grec classique au grec moderne, d'un côte, et du latin à une langue romane (le catalan en l'occurrence)

La phrase "La lumière du soleil" est, en grec classique,

Phaos iliou

et, en grec moderne,

Phos tou iliou.

En latin,

Lumen solis,

et, en catalan,

La llum del sol.

l y a eu, en latin évoluant en langue romane, une réorganisation de la syntaxe due à la parte des declinaisions, ce qui a amené à l'introductioin d'articles et d'autres particules verbales.

En grec et en arabe il s'est produit, partiellement, le même fenomène.

Prenez le cas du hollandais moderne: la perte de la déclinaison (au contraire de sa conservation en allemand) s'est presque accomplie, et cela en époque récente.

Je ne sais pas s'il y a, dans ce forum, quelque personne de langue grecque. Je voudrais lui poser cette question: pour un grec de nos jours, est-il compréhensible le grec classique (de l'époque de Périclès, disions,) sans l'avoir étudié?