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On Sunday, March 21, 2004, at 12:44 PM, And Rosta wrote:

[snip]
> Ray:
>> One must bear in mind that Classical Latin was essentially a literary
>> _conlang_ created from Vulgar Latin under the influence of literary
>> Greek.
>>   It was probably at no time anyone's L1, tho we assume the Senatorial
>> classes would've approximate to it at least on formal occasions.
>
> What were some of the conlangy elements?

I don't really understand the question. What are the conlangy parts of
Quenya & Sindarin? We know they are conlangs because we know their
external history.  But if similar fragments of the languages as those in
LotR had occurred in some book by an obscure author in a setting which
seemed to be in this present world, would we readily spot that they were
Conlangs, e.g. if we came across such fragments in a 19th cent. traveler's
account, say, of the Amazonian area in a book which otherwise gave no hint
of being a fake, would the languages have features that made them seem
conlangy.

Or, to get a closer parallel, what are the features of the modern Greek
Katharevousa which make us suspect it was a conlang if we knew it only
from the written form & had no (or very little) written record of the
demotic form of the language?

A reconstruction from the Romance languages would simply never have given
us Classical Latin. Indeed, if Classical had never been written down there
would be absolutely no way in which it could be reconstructed from any
external evidence.  Whole books have been written on the subject of the
development of the literary language so it's not something easily done in
an email.

The written language obviously began as a written form of the spoken
language.  Fairly obviously the Latin of Plautus must've been close to the
language of the 'person in the street' otherwise he wouldn't have been
able to make his living as a writer of popular comedy (Terence was in a
different position - he had wealthy patronage, so his language is a bit
more refined.)

But as soon as the literate classes came under the influence of the Greek
literary tradition, they consciously refined their written language in a
'purifying' manner (a bit like the Greek Katharevousa two millennia later)
  which reach its "perfection" in the latter part of the 1st cent. BCE and
the first part of 1st cent CE.. That 'perfection', known as Classical
Latin then remained the standard from which written Latin was judged.

Meanwhile the spoken language of the masses had gone its own way and
continued to do so till it broke up into the regional variants that gave
rise to the later Romancelangs.

It's a bit like what might have happened if the English of the KJV Bible
had been looked upon as the "perfect form of English" and people had
continued to the present day to write the same language while the spoken
language had continued to changed as it still does. Even by the time of
King James (I of England, VI of Scotland), such language was archaic &
artificial. The translators retained it to give the scriptures a feeling
of 'timelessness', but written Stuart English is rather different and
written English has continued to change, lagging only a bit behind the
spoken language.

Ray
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