Roman Conquest and Languages

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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby Neqitan » Sat 12 Dec 2009 8:58 pm

Sobekhotep wrote:
dtp883 wrote:Is it possible for the double rhotic to have evolved from the contrast of consonant germination?

That sounds plausible.

That's actually where it comes from, at least for a good part.

The RAE's dictionary for example says that "caro" comes from Latin "carus", but "carro" from Latin "carrus".

http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsult ... &LEMA=caro
http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsult ... LEMA=carro
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby Stosis » Tue 15 Dec 2009 10:25 am

Who told you that the Roman army spoke Greek? Let alone Koine Greek that didn't even exist for most of the history of the Roman empire. The administrative language was Greek in some parts but only where there were overwhelming Greek populations. The administrative language for the army was exclusively Latin.

As for Spain and the rest of the empire (that had basically no Greek speakers), it is a little harder to determine to what extent other languages were used. It seems that for local court cases, it would have been extremely costly to pay for translators to come to every case (keep in mind the non-Roman "working classes" that were conquered would not have adopted (vulgar) Latin for a long time.

If you want to get an idea of what the linguistic map of the pre-Roman world was like then you must do so by analogy to areas with similar socio-political structures. They were subsistence farmers and were not organized beyond the level of villages and small (very small) kingdoms until the Romans came. As far as I know these systems are normally very stable (while there is a lot of warfare no one has the power to oppress or conquer another) and, over time, this would lead to a very diverse linguistic landscape.
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby r_howie » Tue 15 Dec 2009 3:43 pm

Sorry for the offtopic:

Sobekhotep wrote:
Talib wrote:Vulgar Latin however had a contrast between open-mid and close-mid vowels which is still maintained in French, Portuguese and Italian

I didn't know Italian also had them.

Well, yes an no. In standard Italian, minimal pairs showing these contrasts between two vowels do exist: /e~ɛ/, /o~ɔ/. Examples are on this page, Vowels section.

However, these differences are slowly disappearing; not towards a unique choice all over the country, but on a regional basis. So you can guess which part of Italy somebody comes from by paying attention to the quantity of /e/ vs /ɛ/, /o/ vs /ɔ/, /s/ vs /z/ pronounced.
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby Yaziq » Tue 15 Dec 2009 5:54 pm

Koine Greek became the lingua franca of the Roman Empire by the first century A.D.. My source is Daniel B. Wallace.
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby linguoboy » Tue 15 Dec 2009 8:20 pm

Yaziq wrote:Koine Greek became the lingua franca of the Roman Empire by the first century A.D.. My source is Daniel B. Wallace.

Citation please! Koine Greek became the lingua franca of the eastern Roman Empire, but that in no way implies that it was commonly spoken by legionnaires elsewhere.
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby Yaziq » Tue 15 Dec 2009 9:31 pm

http://www.bible-history.com/quotes/dan ... ace_1.html . If the specific URL doesn't work I'm sure you can find it by going to the main Bible History site.
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby linguoboy » Tue 15 Dec 2009 10:17 pm

Yaziq wrote:http://www.bible-history.com/quotes/daniel_b_wallace_1.html . If the specific URL doesn't work I'm sure you can find it by going to the main Bible History site.

You're right, he does say that, but without citing any sources of his own, so it's of no use. If you're going to contradict the consensus of experts in an area, you'd better have some proof to back it up with--particularly when that area is linguistics and your degrees are in theology.

I can't find any vetted source from either a historian or a historical linguist which claims that Greek was a lingua franca for the western Roman Empire. Can you find any evidence which supports Wallace's claim?
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby Yaziq » Thu 17 Dec 2009 6:30 pm

I can't find anything either which would support his contention. I'll keep looking. I wonder why he would claim such a thing. However, on Wikipedia there is something that comes close. "After the Roman conquest of Greece, an unofficial diglossy of Greek and Latin was established in the city of Rome and Koine Greek became a first or second language in the Roman Empire." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_language
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Re: Roman Conquest and Languages

Postby linguoboy » Thu 17 Dec 2009 7:26 pm

Yaziq wrote:I can't find anything either which would support his contention. I'll keep looking. I wonder why he would claim such a thing. However, on Wikipedia there is something that comes close. "After the Roman conquest of Greece, an unofficial diglossy of Greek and Latin was established in the city of Rome and Koine Greek became a first or second language in the Roman Empire."

This rather overstates the case, in my opinion. I think it's true of the patrician class, since Greek was a basic part of Roman formal education. In fact, many tutors were Greek slaves and Romans who wished to pursue higher studies in philosophy regularly went to Greece to do so. But patricians were only a minority of the population, and most Romans were educated by their parents within the family, if at all.

So I can see the officers of the Roman army all knowing Greek (in something like the way their British counterparts two millennia later all knew Latin). But I wouldn't expect it among the rank-and-file unless they'd been recruited specifically from those parts of the Roman Empire where Greek was the lingua franca.
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