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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:39 AM   #1

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Why did Latin die out?


After drawing some inspiration from the earlier roman thread .I'm curious to see how and why people forgot about Latin to the extent that it's now a dead language.
I mean, it was, to quote the post, the global language of the middle ages, spoken by priests (maybe normal people too?) and royals. What happened?
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:41 AM   #2

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It didn't die out. I simply changed form. It evolved into many smaller languages. Thats all. You look at French and Spanish you will see most their words are simply varients of Latin words. So no it never died. It' still alive, just in several different forms.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #3

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And of the original Latin ? Such as those that were in the bible? (or was it Hebrew ?)
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #4

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It was mostly Hebrew.

But Original Latin changed. Think of a butterfly.. The Caterpillar didn't die, it simply changed forms. In Latins case it chaged several forms.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:54 AM   #5

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I agree. Greek became Latin and Latin became Italian, French and partially even English and German.

The main reason why the actual language died out is that it was inevitably linked to the Roman Empire. When the Empire collapsed, Latin remained the international language for science because it was still fairly common, but only next to the regular languages of each country.
When modern age arrived, scientists and philosophers began to write in their mother tongue like French and English. Today Latin is only spoken by people in the Vatican.

Greek is different. I was also the world language prior to Latin, but after Greece gained independence from Turkey, they continued using their original language. Yet there are many differences between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek.

There is simply no country for Latin as a national language and today the world language is English. Therefore it actually did die out in most fields.

Btw: The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 12:35 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by David101 View Post
I agree. Greek became Latin and Latin became Italian, French and partially even English and German.
Careful with that!


-----------




Like all you have told Latin never dissapeared. In fact Romances languages are latin, but so involved since its origins that are considered different languages.

Since the very early there were two Latin: classical or literary Latin and vulgar Latin. All the Romance languages envolved from the vulgar one, while the literary one remained relativelly stable. So, both types of Latin began to diverge, slowly, and only around 700-800 a full split was accomplished. At that time, both Latin were so different that the first written neo-latin (romance) texts appeared. It was the so called vernacular language.

However, classical Latin remained as the prestigious written language, and as lingua franca in Europe. As time passed, written vernacular language spreaded and by 15th century classical Latin only survived in the scientific field. And finally died out after 1700.


-------


In spite of that general overview, the evolution of each Romance language diverge. After the Arab invasion Latin in Africa dissapeared. It nearly dissapeared in Iberia, where the most latinized regions were arabized, despite latin being spoken by minorities (the "mozárabes"). Today all the Romance languages in Iberia are languages that were spoken in the less latinized northern territory, with little influence of the romance languges spoken inside Al-Andalus. French is the most envolved romance language, it was developed in northern Gaul by people with a moderate to low knowledge of latin, while southern French spoken by people in the most romanized part of Gaul was nearly annhilated after the Albigense Crusade. The closer variants of latin survived in Italy (the most conservative, Sardic) but some regions had to be relatinized, like Sicilly. In Romania latin speakers experienced a heavy influence of slavic languages.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 12:40 PM   #7
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Must entirely agree with our Isoroku here; Latin never "died out" any more than our hominid ancestors did (otherwise, we wouldn't exist); in both cases, the original stuff simply evolved; in the case of Latin, into the large family of Romance languages.

Hint; all languages inevitably evolve, entirely au contraire of what plenty of nationalist and chauvinist may suggest.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #8

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Thanks Sylla
To expand, Latin itself is simply a continuation of another languanges. All languages evolved from an original languange. That one didn't die, it just evolved to the point that there are thousands of branches from it, and they are simply different variants of that language. Oh how amazing it would be to discover that language and learn it
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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #9

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Greek is different. I was also the world language prior to Latin, but after Greece gained independence from Turkey, they continued using their original language. Yet there are many differences between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek.
Τhe reason for the apparent difference between Greek and Latin is that the Eastern Roman Empire did not fall for another thousand years hence the original language did not fragment into different regional languages as migration within the Empire's borders ensured a certain degree of mutual comprehension. That said this is not an absolute. Pontic and Cappadocian Greek, for example, were quite distinct and if their speakers had created their own modern state we would be talking of different languages since a language is often a dialect with the backing of a state. For example one of the earliest plays written in modern Greece is the early 19th century is called "Babylonia" and describes the humorous linguistic confusion of the different dialects of Greek which had developed in isolation over the centuries. The state eventually imposed its own variant of the language via the educational system. Pontic speakers were expelled from their lands and hence also became subject to the same educational system and learned to speak standard Greek though the dialect survives.

Another point to note is that modern Greek is not descended from what is conventionally called Ancient Greek, i.e. Attic of the 5th c. BC but rather from the Hellenistic Koine which does trace some of its descent to Attic but is considerably different. Hence while a modern Greek speaker may be able to understand the gist of the original New Testament, which was written in Koine, the same cannot be said of, for example, Plato's Republic which was written in Attic.

But the main thing is that the speakers of Latin increased their numbers substantially while the speakers of Greek declined in number. So it is natural for the former to be more geographically isolated and hence have a greater variety in their language to the point of losing mutual intelligibility. Further they created many states and hence many languages since as I said earlier the difference between a language and a dialect is often the backing of a state.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoroku295 View Post
It didn't die out. I simply changed form. It evolved into many smaller languages. Thats all. You look at French and Spanish you will see most their words are simply varients of Latin words. So no it never died. It' still alive, just in several different forms.
No. Italian is not simply "evolved" Latin. Heavy Germanic influence changed the structure of the language profoundly. The "living" language supposedly closest to Latin today is Raeto-Roman, spoken in south eastern Switzerland.
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