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151035Re: Evolution of Romance (was: **Answer to Pete**)

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  • R A Brown
    Feb 11, 2008
      Jeffrey Jones wrote:
      > On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 23:00:29 -0500, ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
      > wrote:
      >> This is OT w.r.t. this thread, but--
      >> Over the last several weeks, there has been an interesting and rather
      >> astounding thread on Spanish "Ideolengua" (yahoo groups) regarding a recent
      >> (?) book by one Yves Cortez, Le fran├žais ne vient pas du latin. (And by
      >> implication, neither do the other Romance languages). Have any of you been
      >> following it, or has anyone else heard of this book?
      >> His theory, as I understand it without having seen the book (only the
      >> Prologue has been quoted), seems to be, that the bulk of the Roman
      >> population spoke not a colloquialized form of what we call Classical Latin,
      >> but a separate IE language _closely related to_ Classical Latin but which
      >> was already headed toward being a more analytic language.

      Well, yes, Vulgar Latin was not " a colloquialized form of what we call
      Classical Latin." Indeed, I find that description somewhat misleading.

      The relationship of Vulgar Latin vis-a-vis Classical Latin was very much
      like that of Dimotiki vis-a-vis Katharevousa in modern Greek since the
      19th cent. Indeed, both Classical Latin and Katharevousa were conscious
      literary constructs: both - as it happens - constructing a 'purer' form
      of the language under the influence of Classical Attic Greek.

      I doubt that Classical Latin was ever anyone's L1 any more than
      Katharevousa was, as I understand it. Clearly, however, the speech of
      the educated members of the Equestrian & Senatorial ranks would be
      likely to approach the Classical norm when speaking among peers. I have
      no doubt, moreover, that just as with modern Greek diglossia, so in
      Latin the Vulgar (i.e. demotic) and Classical varieties influenced one

      >>He calls this
      >> "Ancient Italian", and it, not CL, is the source of the Romance languages.

      This is, I agree, rather odd, to say the least.

      >> The amazing thing is that some of the respondents are taking this seriously
      >> !!! and are immune to all arguments to the contrary.

      Without actually reading the book, it is difficult to comment
      meaningfully on this point.

      >> Well, slap my ass and call me Cato-- has M. Cortez never heard of
      >> Proto-Romance?

      Isn't Proto-Romance late Vulgar Latin?


      > Well, the difference between a dialect (or sociolect in this case) and a
      > language is almost purely political, so I suppose he could call VL a "separate IE
      > language", if he really wants to.

      Yep - like calling Dimotiki and Katharevousa different languages rather
      than different dialects of Greek. It depends how one defines 'language'
      and 'dialect'. As I said above, I do not consider VL to be a
      colloquialized CL - colloquialized CL is surely the sort of thing one
      finds in Cicero's letters (as opposed to the CL of is speeches and his
      philosophic writings).

      I consider Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin to be dialects of an
      abstract language 'Latin' - both being derived from Early Latin (a
      continuum of dialects spoken by the Latins, the inhabitants of Latium
      [modern Lazio]) in Italy.

      > I don't know why he'd call it "Ancient Italian",
      > unless he's reinventing the wheel (otherwise he's just remarketing old
      > information).

      I don't know why he calls it "Ancient Italian," if, indeed, it is early
      or Proto-Latin he is calling "Ancient Italian.

      By 'Ancient Italian' I understand the Proto-language from which not only
      Early Latin but also Venetic, Umbrian, Oscan, Sabellian and Sabine are
      derived - if indeed Yves Cortez is calling Proto-Romance "Ancient
      Italian" what does he call the Proto-language of all the related IE
      Italian languages?

      > It might be interesting to compare what he reconstructs ....

      Yes, I think one would need to read his book to see whether, in fact, he
      is proposing something substantially different from accepted wisdom, or
      is just playing around with names and, possibly, making some political

      If all that M. Cortez is doing is to say "French ain't descended from
      Classical Latin," then I go along with that. But if he's saying
      something radically different, i.e. that Proto-Romance was not related
      to any sort of Latin then, of course, I disagree. But, as I said,
      methinks one needs to read the book.

      Entia non sunt multiplicanda
      praeter necessitudinem.
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