Rob Haden wrote:

>That doesn't seem to follow, as you correctly intuit.  Latin dominated both
>the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages - the former was the most
>knowledgeable society at the time, and the latter was generally regarded as
>a dark period, as you point out.  These two conditions are obviously
>mutually exclusive.
My latin teacher said once that it is very probable that the ordinary 
Roman understood very little of what classics like Caesar or Seneca 
said. Anyway people spoke one form of Latin as a native language. When 
Latin then developped into the Romance languages there were no native 
speakers of Latin anymore.

In order for these ideas to hold we have to prove that the fact that the 
school and chnurch latin which was nobody's native language did not slow 
down evolution. Had Latin been taught to greater sections of the 
population it might have been another story.

Ecclesiastical Latin stiffened into a cult language which the common 
people could recite prayers in but didn't understand.

This comparison is only interesting to me as far as English goes and 
what we can exspect from it in the future.

The media that carried Latin were manually copied books, mainly of a 
theological nature, and it is striking that when man learns to print 
books it is the national languages that will be used. With English the 
situation is somewhat other, as it is carried by media with a tremendous 

I think a native English speaker can better than me judge if the 
language of media is so strong that it can work as some kind of unifying 
factor.  If that is possible English can remain the world language for 
quite a long time and could even gain a cultural position like Italian 
in the world of music.

>Actually, I think that Latin embodies the likely future of any language
>that comes to be adopted as an IAL, because Latin *was* the IAL of Europe
>for a long time.
This, on the other hand, is a good guess. Latin has permeated nearly 
every language in Europe and must be taken into consideration in an IAL.

And whatever kind of language this will be, it will anyway have to have 
such a strongn role in media that people are accostumed to hearing it on 
radio and TV and even reading newspapers in it (if they will still exist 
in that future).

Kjell R