Religous and Elite Languages

The place to discuss your conlangs and conlanging.
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Joined: Tue 19 May 2009 5:58 pm

Religous and Elite Languages

Postby Yaziq » Tue 12 Oct 2010 8:51 pm

Old Church Slavonic and to some extent Classical Latin had mainly religous or elite usage. The common people of Slavic countries and citizens of Ancient Rome for the most part did not speak either OCS or Classical Latin. I have often wondered how these languages came into being. Do monks and elite scholars take a kind of snapshot in time of the colloquial language around them and then sequester it and build on that? It seems that monks have enough time on their hands to add complications to the portion of the language that they have sequestered. But did it really happen that way? I picture monks as being isolated in their monasteries, having minimal contact with the surrounding general population. Yet it seems that monks transmit their writings through churches to the faithful. Do Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin have separate origins? Was Classical Latin once a colloquial language that somehow got separated from the common people of Italy? Or is it a conlang?

Posts: 28
Joined: Sun 19 Sep 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Religous and Elite Languages

Postby Jarhead » Tue 12 Oct 2010 9:21 pm

Hi Yaziq!
I'd like to premise that my knowledge of latin is limited to what I'm studying in high school. Now, as far as I know, Classical Latin was actually used by common people at the beginning, like, about the times when Rome was founded. Then it evolved into Vulgar Latin as everyday language got used and re-used by common people; but when a writer or poet had to write something, he used the rules of classical latin, as they were officially considered "the rules". It's like when a language, as it could be english, develops sayings and slang that are not considered properly part of the official language: in fact a university professor wouldn't use them in his writings; but as the time passes, everyday language continues changing, while "cultural" language remains quite back.
Native: Italian
Fluent (on a good day): English, Spanish
Can understand: Latin, Toki Pona

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