Read e-book online A Natural History of Latin PDF

By Tore Janson

ISBN-10: 0199263094

ISBN-13: 9780199263097

No identified language, together with English, has completed the luck and durability of Latin. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are between its direct descendants, and numerous Latin phrases and words contain the cornerstone of English itself. A ordinary background or Latin tells its historical past from its origins over 2500 years in the past to the current. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing yet authoritative, and written with the fluency and light-weight contact that experience made Tore Janson's communicate so appealing to tens of hundreds of thousands of readers, it's a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The publication commences with an outline of the origins, emergence, and dominance of Latin over the Classical interval. Then follows an account of its survival during the heart a while into sleek occasions, with emphasis on its evolution in the course of the background, tradition, and spiritual practices of Medieval Europe. via sensible citation of Latin phrases, words, and texts the writer illustrates how the written and spoken language replaced, area through quarter over the years; the way it met resistance from local languages; and the way for this reason a few whole languages disappeared. Janson deals a shiny demonstration of the worth of Latin as a method of entry to a colourful prior and a persuasive argument for its persisted worthy. A concise and easy-to-understand creation to Latin grammar and a listing of the main common Latin phrases, together with 500 idioms and words nonetheless in universal use, supplement the paintings.

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One of the earliest was an expert in oratory called Seneca, who was active already at the time of Augustus. After a few hundred years the people in the towns throughout the southern part of western Europe and in north Africa probably spoke Latin. How it was in the villages, where most people lived, is not so easy to say, as our sources are generally written by town-dwellers. However, there is some evidence that languages other than Latin were still surviving in several country districts at the time of the break-up of the Roman empire in the fifth century ce, so the shift to Latin must have taken a very long time.

He wrote several important books about what he called ars oratória ‘the art of public speaking’. Ars obviously means ‘art’, and oratoria ‘oratorical, having to do with public speaking’ is an adjective which has been formed from the noun orator ‘speaker’. This word in turn comes from the verb orare ‘to make a speech, to orate’. The same discipline was also known by the Greek name ars rhetorica ‘the art of rhetoric’, from the Greek word for a public speaker, which was rhetor. Rhetoric was one of the many disciplines that the Greeks invented.

Italy obviously had a special status, but all the other regions became provinces, which meant that they were ruled by a governor appointed by Rome. The governor naturally had a staff of Romans and in addition there were always one or more garrisons, but apart from these, in a new province there were not necessarily many people who knew Latin. This state of affairs gradually altered in the peaceful conditions which obtained during several centuries of empire, as more and more people learnt Latin, giving up their native language in its favour.

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A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson

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