Is Latin dead (cont'd)?

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Is Latin dead?

Yes
9
56%
No
6
37%
Undecided
1
6%
 
Total votes : 16

Is Latin dead (cont'd)?

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:31 pm

Salvete,

This time, I'm not asking it as a question to debate about (that was covered in another topic), but simply as a poll question.

Do YOU think Latin is, in fact dead?

PRO:
* It hasn't evolved for the past 700 years and the 'new' vocabulary looks hopelessly artificial.
* There are no 'native speakers' of Latin.
* Latin has evolved into the Romance languages a long time ago.

CONTRA
* Latin is still taught in schools (many languages that are considered to be alive aren't even taught at school!)
* As long as there are people who know Latin, nonwithstanding the fact that it's not their primary language, it's not dead

Cast your votes, sodales!

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Is there a 'Hell No'?

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:05 am

Salvete omnes...

Dixit Draco amicus:

> CONTRA
> * Latin is still taught in schools (many languages that are considered to
> be alive aren't even taught at school!)
> * As long as there are people who know Latin, nonwithstanding the fact
> that it's not their primary language, it's not dead


Bene dictu, amice bon', even if these were only trotted out just to show that a 'contra' argument was possible. And your points only add to my own, they being that:

-- Any language that is still being spoken in casual conversation;
-- that is still taught to young children;
-- that has regional dialects (Exempli gratia: British vs. Continental pronunciations of Classical Latin; Church Latin; Mari's Hispano-Texan atrocity);
-- that is still used extensively in written communication;
-- that is the official language of at least one independent nation (the Vatican City-state);
-- that has given rise to several healthy descendents, also still in use;
-- and for which new words are being coined every day (the Vatican's constructions are clutzy, but they are not the only ones; and *new* words, to describe scientific, medical, and legal phenomena, are made all the time!)...

...why, such a language cannot be called 'dead' except only by those so bigoted against it that they would deem it so no matter what the facts!

Or, to answer in abbreviated mode:

Q: Mi Mari, is Latin really dead?
A: Not within a 50-foot radius of me it isn't!!
[feg]

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Postby Lucius Tyrrhenus Garrulus on Sun Mar 21, 2004 2:18 am

SALVETE OMNES.
I voted 'dead' because I have found it nearly impossible to learn the language in a classroom setting. (I just can't learn from books.)
Although there is hope. Irish Gaelic for instance has gone in and out of extinction several times. What we need is for a living community of Latin speakers to make it live again.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:43 am

Yes, same counts for Hebrew, for instance. I doubt however that Irish Gaelic will be saved from extinction, eventually... everyone that speaks Irish Gaelic also speaks English, a language with a higher communication potential. I once read an anecdote about an Irish politician who delivered a speech in parliament in Gaelic (official language of Ireland). No one reacted because they were too embarrassed to admit that they hadn't understood him.

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:08 pm

Draco scripsit :

I once read an anecdote about an Irish politician who delivered a speech in parliament in Gaelic (official language of Ireland). No one reacted because they were too embarrassed to admit that they hadn't understood him.


I wonder what would happen in our own Belgian parliament if an MP would give a speech in German, our third language ? A good idea perhaps for any politician who would want to have some unpopular measure approved :lol:

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Mar 22, 2004 1:18 am

Speeching for unpopular measures in German? Now where have I heard this before... 8)

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Postby Quintus Marius Primus on Thu May 27, 2004 4:49 pm

Salvete!

Is Latin dead? Well from a Linguistics point of view it is and it isn't! Just like a lot of things with human languages things aren't always as simple as we'd like them to be! Let me (try to) explain.

What determines whether a language is dead or living is simply whether there are any native speakers of the language alive and still able to use it (if there's only one speaker of a language left alive then the language is effectively dead as there are no spheres where the language can be used), so in this sense the language that we know as (Classical) Latin is dead.

Not withstanding the fact that the written language of the Roman empire that we learn was even then a partly artificial written ideal that even the educated top brass didn't speak in their normal daily lives. It should also be rememebered that all living languages change over time, and this includes the spoken Latin of the Republic and the Empire (in fact, one thing that marks a language as living is the fact that it does change - as soon as it becomes static and unchanging marks it as a dead language). It wouldbe quite interesting from a lingusitic point of view to see how much the spoken language of the 4th century AD differed from the written language!

On the other hand, Latin is still alive and kicking, only we do not know it by that name. Latin didn't die out just as the language of the Etruscan language did, or Cornish or Manx did in the 20th century in Britain. It changed. As I alluded to above, all living languages change, and this happened to the Latin spoken in the different provinces. Where it survived, it eventually changed over time into what is today known as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, plus a variety of other dialects and languages (e.g. Catalan, all the Italian dialects, Romansch, Langue d'Oc).

So on one hand Latin is dead, but it does live on purely for doing what all languages do over time - by changing!

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Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Thu May 27, 2004 5:42 pm

Good idea! I promise you that, if I ever will be elected into our parliament (and our right wing enemies still haven't abandoned it) I will speech in German!
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Thu May 27, 2004 5:53 pm

Your right wing enemies will be (pleasantly) surprised to hear a leftist MP speech in the language of their loathed Vorgänger ! :lol:

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Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Thu May 27, 2004 5:57 pm

But they won't understand! So maybe they will be so enthusiastic they vote a law to forbid themselves...
Oh, well, not that it will be necessary because the court already forbid them.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Thu May 27, 2004 6:06 pm

Quintus Pomponius Atticus wrote:Your right wing enemies will be (pleasantly) surprised to hear a leftist MP speech in the language of their loathed Vorgänger ! :lol:


Hey, Marx wrote in German too.

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