On Tuesday, March 23, 2004, at 12:19 AM, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Doug Dee wrote:
>> So, with that as background, I'd like to ask:  was any substantial part
>> of
>> Classical Latin grammar constructed/made up, and opposed to coming from
>> the
>> Vulgar Latin of the appropriate period?
> Well, other than borrowings from Greek, often pronounced pedantically
> with appropriate aspiration, I seem to remember reading that in VL, and
> in Old Latin, as well, the nominative plural of 1st declension nouns was
> -a:s, identical to the accusative plural,

This is, indeed, so.

> and that -ae was formed by
> analogy with the 2nd declension.

Yes it was - but we do find the spelling -ai in Old Latin, e.g. tabelai.
So the alternative was probably there in some spoken dialects; the
standard written language, of course, made -ae the norm.

But an ending that never occurred in ordinary spoken Latin of any period
was the 3rd pers. plural of the perfect active -e:runt.  In the Vulgar
Latin of the Empire it was -(e)runt (with short, unstressed, /e/ after a
consonant) < *-is-ont. This was attested in Old Latin as well and crops up
occasionally in Classical verse; and the Romancelangs make it abundantly
clear that it was the form in VL of the Empire. Also in early Latin there
was an alternate form -e:re of obscure origin. This survives in verse in
CL and was favored by some writers of history, but is otherwise not used
in prose.

The standard CL form was -e:runt which is a cnflation of -e:re and -erunt.
  Presumably the thinking is that the artificially "restored" -e:runt is
the pure form of which the vulgar -e:re and -erunt are corruptions.

But to deal with this properly, I will need time to sort out my notes etc.
   But I will reply briefly (for the moment) to And.
On Monday, March 22, 2004, at 09:35 PM, And Rosta wrote:

> Ray:

>> I don't really understand the question. What are the conlangy parts of
>> Quenya & Sindarin?
> Unlike Q & S, CL is obviously not entirely apriori.

True - but if we didn't know the external history of Q & S, and we knew
them only as fragments in a travel book by some obscure 19th cent. writer,
  they have no features per_se that are conlangy.

> So by "the
> conlangy elements" I mean X such that "nonconlang Latin + X =
> conlang Latin".

OK - What's found in CL that's not part of the spoken lang?

> Presumably you're talking about more than standard
> & literary langs, because standard lgs can get spoken as L1s, and
> literary lgs are registers rather than languages.

Yep - as I said, it seems to me the situation was more akin to that of
Katharevousa vis_a_vis Dimotiki in 19th & 20th cent. Greece.


> Of the properties that CL has and VL lacks, which are inventions?
> (I'm genuinely curious & have no idea what the answer is.)

I'll try to summarize. But it might be as well just to repeat what I wrote
as clearly CL must have had an origin in the spoken language.

>> 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.


> Retaining archaisms through the power of writing is interestingly
> different from deliberate purification (or invention of other sorts).

Yes, I agree. The imaginary scenario of KJV English becoming a literary
standard still used centuries later is not 100% analogy. If we had, e.g.
got so excited with the rediscovery of Greek at the Renaissance and the
literati had consciously refashioned say, Chaucerian English, on an
Atticicizing ancient Greek model, 'purifying' it from the decadences of
the Tudor period, thus establishing 'Pure English', we'd have a closer
parallel.  (Thinks: that could make an interesting conlang for some one  :

> The former on the whole seems to be a concomitant of writing & is,
> I believe, evident in most literate cultures, but the latter isn't.

Yep, I agree - the latter does seem rare. Besides the development of CL,
only Sanskrit, Greek Katherevousa and the development of Classical Chinese
come to mind.

But I'll address the particulars of Latin in another email - please be
patient  ;)

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