Originally Posted by David101
I agree. Greek became Latin and Latin became Italian, French and partially even English and German.
Greek became the foundation of the Cyrillic languages, Latin of the Latin languages...
However, the reason Latin ceased to be mainstream is that it was never mainstream. It was the language of the roman government, but even at the height of Rome, Greek remained, generally, the language of science and philosophy.
And the subject people's of Rome never fully adopted Latin, although they might have to learn it if they were in government or had business with Rome or it's government. Folks in local areas like Spain and Gaul and Britain spoke their own languages, tho, the longer they were part of Rome, the more Latinized words seeped into their dialects.
Already, by the last century of Rome, even the people of Italy were speaking something referred to by the church as the vernacular... Which was something like Latin, but with a construction and grammar that was entirely owing to the tribal dialects that existed outside of Rome.
The real end of Latin came with the dark ages. Because most other languages had no written form, and because most people couldn't write, even the petty kings and royals.
During this time, the only books being written were church books, by hand. And only the churchmen had the literacy to write and cipher.
As a result, monks and priests formed the only viable communications between the kingdoms and dukedoms of Europe.
The ruling class, and even businesses were utterly dependent upon churchmen to do everything from carry messages, to keep books.
The word Clerk is derived from the word Cleric... From a time when only churchmen could even do paperwork.
This kept Latin alive... But mostly as a "secret" language... Almost a code.
And that isolation of the language as the incomprehensible sacred language of preists further distanced people from it as a living language.
By the time of guttenberg the vernacular of most areas of Europe was splintered and had drifted dramatically.
Different forms, usages, and pronunciation were making it hard for folks from northern and southern Italy to converse... Different parts of France spoke different dialects...
And even despite a new vogue for Latin and Greek literacy among the aristocratic elite, early book publishers quickly realized that the growing mercantile middle class was the largest market for books.
Aldus Minutius was the first publisher to really embrace printing in vernacular Italian. Using a new means of punctuation, commas, caps, and small face type that made reading much easier. ( where the term "italic" comes from)
This explosion of vernacular publishing helped enmesh the effects of Latin on local languages... And also eliminated the need to even learn Latin.
Thereafter, Latin increasingly became the arcane code of the roman catholic church.
However... It was publishing of books in the local vernacular that ultimately stabilized the regional languages.
The dialects of northern and southern France, for example, stopped diverging and began to converge...
It took over a hundred years for affordable production printing to standardize spelling, grammar and syntax across the areas affected.
This is why the strong nationalistic characters of countries like France, England, Spain, and others really do not fully emerge until after the 1400s
Not really until everyone was quite literally on the same page.