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  1. #1
    Unregisteredkhni Guest

    Question why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?

    ive been asked to prepare a discussion on this topic:
    why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?
    but im not too sure what it's asking of me. is it about all of the invasions, and influeces from the anglo saxons and normans, or would it be something more specific about people's opinions on latin? any ideas on where i can go to get the information? ive looked at time lines, but i'm not too sure what information would be relevant.
    thanks, Vicky

  2. #2
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    Default Re: why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?

    I Suggest U to search for the literary terms, especially about the Old English Period and may be about the formation of the public(oral) literature on the island within a period of 500 and 1066(the time period between the introduction of bible to Celtic people who were Pagan and the Norman Invasion)

    I hope U find something that'd be useful and make me aware of a summarized result of your search.

    Respectfully.

    Umut HIZAR-Philologist
    Last edited by Umut HIZAR; 20-Oct-2005 at 14:39.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?

    Very few Latin words crossed over into English during the Roman occupation, which suggests that there was little contact between the Roman rulers and the rest of the people in the country. Most Latin used in English cam later with the Normans after 1066.

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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Very few Latin words crossed over into English during the Roman occupation, which suggests that there was little contact between the Roman rulers and the rest of the people in the country. Most Latin used in English cam later with the Normans after 1066.
    Also there are a few that pre-date the Roman conquest and were brought over by Christian missionaries. They relate chiefly to religious things: disciple, epistle etc.

    b

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    Default Re: why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Very few Latin words crossed over into English during the Roman occupation, which suggests that there was little contact between the Roman rulers and the rest of the people in the country. Most Latin used in English cam later with the Normans after 1066.
    I have to say I disagree here. For a start, there was no 'English' for Latin to cross over into during the Roman occupation. The various indigenous languages of the pre-Roman British population were Celtic; and they still survive in Wales, Scotland and (to an extent) in the remote South West of England.

    To say that Latin had no foothold in Britain in the early centuries AD is not true. In fact, the very idea of 'Roman rulers' after the 1st Century is misleading - the majority of the rulers, traders, artisans and even soldiers were Romanised natives of Britain - and Latin was very much the spoken and written language of the majority of Britons around 'Londinium' and the heartlands of England. To quote from Winston Churchill's "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples":

    "Roman habits percolated; the use of Roman utensils and even of Roman speech steadily grew. The British thought of themselves as good Romans as any. Indeed, it may be said that of all the provinces few assimilated the Roman system with more aptitude than the Islanders. The British legionaries and auxiliaries were rated equal or second only to the Illyrians as the finest troops in the Empire..."

    Why then did Latin disappear with the invasions of the Jutes, Angles and Saxons? Well, for a start, the invading 'barbarians' were frequently savage and genocidal during the early part of the Dark Ages. They may well have effectively wiped out the Britons in the South and South East coastal regions of England (certainly the richer 'Latinised' Britons). Churchill offers the explanation that the Saxons were primarily valley-dwellers, and drove the Britons back into the hillier and wooded areas:

    "But the language of the valley-settlers, living in compact groups, would be dominant over that of the hill-cultivators, scattered in small and isolated holdings. The study of modern English place-names has shown that hill, wood and stream names are often Celtic in origin, even in regions where the village names are Anglo-Saxon. In this way, without assuming any wholesale extermination, the disappearance of the British language can be explained even in areas where we know a British population to have survived. They had to learn the language of their masters: there was no need for their masters to learn theirs. Thus it came about that both Latin and British yielded to the speech of the newcomers so completely that hardly a trace of either is to be found in our earliest records."

    - "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (Volume 1)", Winston S. Churchill, 1956.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: why didnt latin become the spoken language of english after 597?

    Good point about the language spoken in Britain at the time, but the absence of any great trace of Latin suggests to some that the contact was possibly more limited than suggested by Churchill. How genocidal were the Saxons? There are many different views of this, and we are dealing with the Dark Ages, but there are arguments taht there was more of a migration than an invasion.

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