Author Topic: The Decline and Fall of Latin  (Read 152 times)

Offline SGOS

The Decline and Fall of Latin
« on: December 08, 2018, 10:11:05 AM »
I stumbled on this.  I'm not sure why this would be on an internet site, but I found it mildly amusing as it's true and weird at the same time.  I read along feeling like all intellectual and, "Hmmm, Very Interesting," serious, until toward the end when I started to wonder if someone had taken it from the Onion.
Quote
History of Latin
An irreverent but true chronology by Timothy J. Pulju.

753 BC — Traditional date of the founding of the city of Rome by Romulus, a fictional character who killed his twin brother Remus, populated his city with escaped convicts, and found wives for his subjects by kidnapping Sabine women who had come for a visit. At this stage, Latin is the language spoken by several thousand people in and near Rome.

6th century BC — Earliest known Latin inscription, on a pin, which says "Manios me fhefhaked Numasioi", meaning "Manius made me for Numerius". Only a few other inscriptions predate the 3rd century BC.

250-100 BC — Early Latin. The first Latin literature, usually loose translations of Greek works or imitations of Greek genres, stems from this period. Meanwhile, the Romans are conquering the Mediterranean world and bringing their language with them.

100 BC-150 AD — Classical Latin. Guys like Cicero, Caesar, Vergil, and Tacitus write masterpieces of Latin literature. Also, Ovid writes a book on how to pick up women at the gladiator shows. The literary language becomes fixed and gradually loses touch with the ever- changing popular language known today as Vulgar Latin.

200-550 — Late Latin. Some varieties of literature adhere closely to the classical standard, others are less polished or deliberately closer to the popular speech (e.g., St. Jerome's translation of the Bible into Latin—the Vulgate). The western half of the empire is falling to pieces, but the Greek-speaking east, which is still in good shape, keeps using Latin in official contexts until the end of this period.

600-750 — Latin has become a dead language. Few people in the west outside of monasteries can read. The spoken languages of Italy, France and Spain change rapidly. Monks, particularly in Ireland, read and write classical Latin and preserve ancient texts as well as church documents. The Roman Catholic church continues to use Late Latin in the liturgy, though they eventually decide to deliver homilies in the local popular language. The Byzantines still call themselves Romans but have given up on the Latin language.

800-900 — The Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne decides that education is a good thing and promotes it in his kingdoms. After his death scholarship goes downhill a while, but never as far as it had before his reign.

1100-1300 — Contact with the educated Arabs who have conquered North Africa and Spain leads to a revival of learning, especially the study of Aristotle and other Greeks. Leading smart guys include St. Thomas "The Dumb Ox" Aquinas and John "Dunce" Scotus, as well as Petrus Hispanus, a pope who was killed when a ceiling collapsed on him. All learned writing is done in Latin, a practice which persisted until the 20th century at some fairly silly universities.

Mid 14th century — The Black Death kills a lot of people, including students, professors and other people who live in crowded, unsanitary cities. This is bad for the educational system. Meanwhile, an Italian poet named Petrarch decides that plague-infested professors and anyone else who doesn't write the classical Latin used by Cicero is a moron. In fact, everyone between Cicero and Petrarch was a moron in the latter's opinion, so it was high time to have a Renaissance and make fun of everything medieval.

1400-1650 — During the Renaissance, which spreads from Italy to France and finally to England, people start reading Latin classical authors and bringing Latin words into their languages. In England, this is called "aureate diction" and is considered evidence of great learnedness. Furthermore, as science develops, Europeans find it useful to have a universal Latinate terminology to facilitate international research.

up till 1900 — Almost everyone who goes to college has to learn Latin, and most humanities majors have to study Greek as well. Many of the Latin roots borrowed during the aureate diction period have come to seem native and can be used in forming new words.

mid 1960s — The Catholic Church decides that Latin is no longer the obligatory language of Catholic liturgies. Meanwhile, what with free love and everything, most young people of the 60s figure they have better things to do than learn Latin.

Today — Nobody speaks Latin well, and few people can write it, but lots can read it. Many of them are tenured professors, so they'd be hard to get rid of even if we wanted to.

Offline Baruch

Re: The Decline and Fall of Latin
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2018, 10:36:33 AM »
Looks correct to me.  After being academic, Latin mostly survived as jargon in law, from 1750.  After 1750, vernacular, particularly French, was the preferred international language until 1920.  For that last 100 year, English has taken over.  RCC still has occasional popular Latin mass.

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I have spent some time on Latin.  This song is in classica pronunciatio .. not ekklesia pronunciatio.

When I was in HS, we had the last Latin teacher in the school district.  She as ancient!  100 years ago, being able to read Book 1 of Caesar's Gallic Wars was expected.

In times past, particularly in GB, having Latin was required for private HS graduation and a sign of class.  Honors students took Greek in addition.  The HS schoolbooks from that time are available online, anytime you want to go to school, 100 years ago.  Prior to 1920, professional men, lawyers and doctors, were expected to keep up their classics ... Latin for lawyers and Greek for doctors.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 10:45:57 AM by Baruch »
𐎍𐎜𐎜𐎟𐎌𐎀𐎍𐎎𐎀𐎀𐎚𐎀𐎟𐎍𐎜𐎜𐎟𐎁𐎀𐎍𐎉𐎀𐎀𐎚𐎀
luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Re: The Decline and Fall of Latin
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2018, 11:50:05 AM »
I fear English is headed for the dustbin of history, too.

The Christian church, in its attitude toward science, shows the mind of a more or less enlightened man of the Thirteenth Century. It no longer believes that the earth is flat, but it is still convinced that prayer can cure after medicine fails.

-- H. L. Mencken

Offline SGOS

Re: The Decline and Fall of Latin
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2018, 12:58:42 PM »
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I fear English is headed for the dustbin of history, too.
ATTT (ain't that the truth)

Everything I learned about English is being replaced by iPhone shorthand.  You don't even have to capitalize things anymore.  I have indeed wondered where it's all going.  Half the time, I don't even know what people are writing about.

Re: The Decline and Fall of Latin
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2018, 01:15:39 PM »
Yeah, it an be very hard sometimes to translate things into actual meaningful sentences. But, I suppose, it may help to keep the mind sharp.
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"The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish."
Robert Jackson, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941–1954)

Offline Baruch

Re: The Decline and Fall of Latin
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2018, 01:43:44 PM »
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ATTT (ain't that the truth)

Everything I learned about English is being replaced by iPhone shorthand.  You don't even have to capitalize things anymore.  I have indeed wondered where it's all going.  Half the time, I don't even know what people are writing about.

Learn Mandarin Now!  LMN

That and we are both old farts.  iPhone shorthand has taken over every language ... even Chinese and Arabic.  When we regress to the Stone Age, we only need grunts and finger gestures anyway.
𐎍𐎜𐎜𐎟𐎌𐎀𐎍𐎎𐎀𐎀𐎚𐎀𐎟𐎍𐎜𐎜𐎟𐎁𐎀𐎍𐎉𐎀𐎀𐎚𐎀
luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Offline Cavebear

Re: The Decline and Fall of Latin
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2018, 02:15:22 AM »
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I stumbled on this.  I'm not sure why this would be on an internet site, but I found it mildly amusing as it's true and weird at the same time.  I read along feeling like all intellectual and, "Hmmm, Very Interesting," serious, until toward the end when I started to wonder if someone had taken it from the Onion.

Meanwhile, some damn fools realize that Latin is a basis for some parts of English as derived from Norman French (Romance languages) and study it to enjoy cognates.  And are astonished to discover endings like "ents" means "them" as in "par" and "ents" as in from Latin parentem (nominative parens) "father or mother, ancestor" and ents being plural, finally being later, "parents" meaning the plural of parent ('they")...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

 

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