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I was just given a book to read by a fellow writer. Ad Infinitum, a biography of Latin by Nicholas Ostler. Very informative book if you are interested in the development and progress of the Latin language.

Of particular interest to me was the spread of Latin among the people of the west through the church. I had a conundrum to face about the education of one of my characters, and Mr. Ostler's book solved it nicely.

But, even if you are not a writer, it is an interesting book.

Me.
Would latin not have spread earlier with the Empire?
Ave, Gaius Julius Caesar,

Yes, and it did, what the book is suggesting is that Latin was not overwhelmed by the language of the invaders (except in Britain), and is the basis of their existing languages today.

Me.
Quote:Ave, Gaius Julius Caesar,

Yes, and it did, what the book is suggesting is that Latin was not overwhelmed by the language of the invaders (except in Britain), and is the basis of their existing languages today.

Me.


Ahhh....
Quote:Would latin not have spread earlier with the Empire?
Lothia:1xwp3ksa Wrote:Ave, Gaius Julius Caesar,
Yes, and it did, what the book is suggesting is that Latin was not overwhelmed by the language of the invaders (except in Britain), and is the basis of their existing languages today.
Me.
If latin spread with the Empire, then why did Latin not spread to the Greek-speaking half of the empire?
Also, I don't think that it does justice to the information that we have about languages inside the Western empire during the later decades. Latin was probably not the first language for many, Celtic languages remained to be spoken. Latin surely was the main common language, and had enough influence to remain that after the Roman collapse. But we also know enough of Medieval languages to suggest that the modern situation did not originate during Roman times, but rather the last 5 to 3 centuries.

The same goes for Britain - the usual discussion is of cours that English replaced latin and Brythonic, but of course we do not know when exactly that took place: within 50 years of the Anglo-Saxon invasions or perhaps not until the 8th century.
Quote: But we also know enough of Medieval languages to suggest that the modern situation did not originate during Roman times, but rather the last 5 to 3 centuries.
Can you detail? I think Lothia refers to French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian etc. (and all their dialects), which are Romance languages and born from Latin. Not from Classical Latin and perhaps their birth was a more complex phenomenon (involving several dialects, some suggested even creoles), but nevertheless it's a continuity in language in one form or another from Roman times to modern times.
Ave Civitas,

Quote:I think Lothia refers to French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian etc. (and all their dialects), which are Romance languages and born from Latin. Not from Classical Latin and perhaps their birth was a more complex phenomenon (involving several dialects, some suggested even creoles)

That is exactly what Ad Infinitum suggests.
Further, concerning Britian, (and this is going to spark a response) he suggests that the lower eastern areas of the island (that Claudius initially conquered) were a Germanic speaking people, not Celtic. His argument is based upon Ceasar's commentary referring to the earlier conquerors of low-land Britain were people from the north-eastern Gaul, he names some tribes, that he prior mentioned had a population composed of more Germans than Gauls.
This said, Ad Infinitum suggests the the Vernacular was Germanic, not Gallic.

Me.
Quote:
Vortigern Studies:1tq3r8w4 Wrote:But we also know enough of Medieval languages to suggest that the modern situation did not originate during Roman times, but rather the last 5 to 3 centuries.
Can you detail?
Many languages in the modern situation have been the result of modern government influences. If the Britsih governemnt would not have sponsored language programs in Wales and Scotland, Wesh and gaelic would be in a bad state, I presume.
In France, the rise of the modern nation state did much to promote the French language over local dialects. Among them Germanic ones. The current language border between Germanic and Latin languages does not really date back to the Roman empire..

Like I said, Latin was NOT the only language in Gaul during the 5th c., so it would be presumptious to speak of 'Germanic failing to suppress Latin'.

Quote:Further, concerning Britian, (and this is going to spark a response) he suggests that the lower eastern areas of the island (that Claudius initially conquered) were a Germanic speaking people, not Celtic. His argument is based upon Ceasar's commentary referring to the earlier conquerors of low-land Britain were people from the north-eastern Gaul, he names some tribes, that he prior mentioned had a population composed of more Germans than Gauls.
This said, Ad Infinitum suggests the the Vernacular was Germanic, not Gallic.
Ad Infinitum can suggest that, but so far there has been not a shred of evidence. Boudicca would have been a queen of the 'germanic' Iceni... :wink:
We all know that Caesar created a political boundary between Celts and Germans that had nothing to do with a real linguistic border between Celtic-speaking and Germanic-speaking tribes. There were other Celtic speaking tribes east of the Rhine. Northern Gaul was not Germanic-speaking and certain areas remained so throughout the Roman empire: such as the area of the Treveri. Caesar invented a label and put that on some tribes that were convenient to him. That earlier conquerors of Britain came from Gaul should not surprise us, but to label these earlier conquerors as Germanics is useless because a) Caesar only much later labeled tribes from that area as Germanic and b) we don't even know whether those tribves were speaking a Germanic language in Ceasr's time.

And beside that remark, all evidence of any Germanic being spoken in pre-Roman Britain is wishful thinking on behalf of a few whose agenda is to rewrite the history of Germanic tribes invading Britain, reversing the idea that they conquered if from the Celtic indigenous population.

It would be like modern Americans claiming that they were there before any Indians entered Alaska.
Quote:Many languages in the modern situation have been the result of modern government influences. If the Britsih governemnt would not have sponsored language programs in Wales and Scotland, Wesh and gaelic would be in a bad state, I presume.
In France, the rise of the modern nation state did much to promote the French language over local dialects. Among them Germanic ones. The current language border between Germanic and Latin languages does not really date back to the Roman empire..

Linguistic borders are fluid, they always change. Even now, as we speak, some people in a contact area forget more of their maternal language, learning more of a new one. In such circumstances, the relatively stable frontier between Germanic and Romance dialects is a sign of continuity, not of lack of it. The Western Romance area is amazingly fitting a map of the Western Roman Empire and it's no coincidence it is so.

One book I like a lot (even though I have read it only in translations but few passages from the original quoted by others) is Lucien Musset's Les Invasions. Les vagues germaniques (first edition Paris, 1965, re-edited many times in many languages). Today, decades after its first edition, I still find that book a monument of erudition and scholarship, albeit some of its assumptions and perspectives need to be updated. It touches many aspects of the conflict between Romans and non-Romans in ways few other books do. One such aspect is the linguistic frontier between Romance and Germanic languages in Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages. I'm attaching a map from my Romanian edition:

[attachment=0:201afyf2]<!-- ia0 map2.jpg<!-- ia0 [/attachment:201afyf2]

I hope the map is clear enough. Anyway, here are few important details if you can't figure them out from the Romanian legend:
- the upper border (+) represents the Roman frontier in the 5th century
- the vertical lines show the territorial gains of Germanic languages between 5th and the 9th century.
- the white squares are Romance enclaves.
- the horizontal lines show the territorial gains of Germanic languages after the 9th century
- the dots show the territorial losses of Germanic languages (to Romance) after the 9th century

Now let's imagine a zoom-out to a view of the entire Western Europe. This frontier shift will become small and nevertheless most of the changes date from Late Antiquity/Early Middle Ages, predating with many centuries the formation of modern states. Modern states which do not have a similar history: in Middle Ages we have a France and an England, but we don't have a Germany or an Italy.

And what would mean the influence of modern states anyway? Are we to imagine that Gaulish (pre-Roman) or Frankish (post-Roman) were widely spoken in France until the French Revolution?

However, there's an undoubtely modern influence over the language map, but that's not really a new phenomenon: literary languages promoted in front of the non-literary dialects by various institutions (also educational ones: universities, schools), media, elites. However this happened in every civilization with a written culture (think of Classical Latin vs the numerous varieties of sub-standard Latin, which we often call Vulgar Latin)

Quote:Like I said, Latin was NOT the only language in Gaul during the 5th c., so it would be presumptious to speak of 'Germanic failing to suppress Latin'.
Latin was not the only language, but that Latin was the most spoken language.
If one hundred people speak Latin, that one shepherd still speaking Gaulish living in isolation in a mountain valley or that one Frankish soldier having serious difficulties when articulating a sentence in Latin are rather insignificant exceptions to any general assessment of the situation.
Quote:Linguistic borders are fluid, they always change. Even now, as we speak, some people in a contact area forget more of their maternal language, learning more of a new one. In such circumstances, the relatively stable frontier between Germanic and Romance dialects is a sign of continuity, not of lack of it. The Western Romance area is amazingly fitting a map of the Western Roman Empire and it's no coincidence it is so.
But where do you base that on. It might be, and it might be due to modern influences that have shaped it more recently.

Quote:One such aspect is the linguistic frontier between Romance and Germanic languages in Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages.

I already see some p[roblems there, such as the Belgian sector. Much more Flemuish was spoken than the map suggests. Such maps are always problematic, because the tend to give absolutes where no such information exists. What do the 'gains'represent? A majority of people who spoke Germanic? 75%? 55%? 100%? Or maybe place-names in german? Especially for the early Middle Ages it would be very hard to come by such information, let alone create such a map from it.

Quote:And what would mean the influence of modern states anyway? Are we to imagine that Gaulish (pre-Roman) or Frankish (post-Roman) were widely spoken in France until the French Revolution?
Hardly. But we had Breton, Picardian, Occitan, Burgundian, Poitou, and more that I can't think of right now.

Quote:If one hundred people speak Latin, that one shepherd still speaking Gaulish living in isolation in a mountain valley or that one Frankish soldier having serious difficulties when articulating a sentence in Latin are rather insignificant exceptions to any general assessment of the situation.
Now you're downplaying what we do have. And if Sidonius Appolinaris complains about his fellow-provincials preferring Celtic over Latin, he's not complaining about a sheperd in some far-off valley... :wink:
Quote:But where do you base that on. It might be, and it might be due to modern influences that have shaped it more recently.
Some statements may be some introductions, one is advised to fully read a text before reply only to some sentences of it.

Another important concept here is the burden of proof. After all, you're making the statement that in France (or in Spain or in Italy) there was another very important language but a Romance one which survived until the modern times, when it faded out being suppressed by the evil modern nation states. What language was it and what is the evidence for it? There's more than enough evidence for Romance speakers in these territories from Antiquity to modern times.

Quote:I already see some p[roblems there, such as the Belgian sector. Much more Flemuish was spoken than the map suggests.
Where it was spoken and when?

Quote:Such maps are always problematic, because the tend to give absolutes where no such information exists. What do the 'gains'represent? A majority of people who spoke Germanic? 75%? 55%? 100%? Or maybe place-names in german? Especially for the early Middle Ages it would be very hard to come by such information, let alone create such a map from it.
The map is mostly drawn from toponymy and follows closely the reconstructions proposed by linguists such as the Belgian Maurits Gyselling ( check this review )

Moreover, as I already pointed out, it's not in the specifics depicted on the map I'm interested in (so no absolute), but in the relatively narrow geographical extent of the frontier shifts. What is the distance between the old Roman frontier (Rhine and Danube) and the actual Western frontiers between Romance and Germanic dialects and what are the distances between Normandy and Calabria or between Venice and Lisbon? Unless you can make a point about the numerous Germanic speakers in Aquitaine or the numerous Romance speakers on Elbe, I'm afraid you have no argument against my use of this map.


Quote:Hardly. But we had Breton, Picardian, Occitan, Burgundian, Poitou, and more that I can't think of right now.
Most of them are still spoken today and most of them are Romance dialects (languages such as Basque or Celtic Breton are rather exceptions) Yes, there are even more dialects, but they are Romance, therefore of Latin origin!

And this is a phenomenon (literary language vs sub-standard dialects) which I fully covered in my earlier post.


Quote:Now you're downplaying what we do have. And if Sidonius Appolinaris complains about his fellow-provincials preferring Celtic over Latin, he's not complaining about a sheperd in some far-off valley... :wink:
I am not downplaying, I just cannot take seriously such comments.
On one hand Sidonius is constantly complaining, he is fearing that Latin language is under assault by barbarian languages, so we have to be careful about his hyperboles.
On the other hand we have no way to tell whether Sidonius is referring to a Celtic language or a variety of vulgar Latin spoken in Gaul. I think there are good reasons to prefer the latter interpretation (see also J. N. Adams, Bilingualism and the Latin language, CUP 2004, p. 690, n. 8 )

We have the some epigraphic evidence of Celtic-Latin bilingualism in Gaul (such as the La Graufesenque pottery inscriptions).
While we still have Latin inscriptions in the Late Empire, how many texts in Celtic are there? There are some late authors attesting Gaulish words, but we can't interpret that as evidence for a widely spoken language. For instance Marcellus Burdigalensis is perhaps just reproducing the terms he found in the works of earlier authors such as Scribonius Largus.

Or from a different perspective, the oaths of Strasbourg (842) were written in Latin, a Romance dialect and a Germanic dialect. Few decades earlier, at a council held in Tours (813) it was decreed that the priests were allowed to preach in vernaculars, Romance or Germanic. Clearly by 9th century Celtic was not a widely spoken language in the Carolingian world (which contains many of the territories under discussion), Romance and Germanic dialects were. But looking back, this displacement happened in the Roman empire or in the fragmented Merovingian realms? I guess the answer should be obvious.
Quote:After all, you're making the statement that in France (or in Spain or in Italy) there was another very important language but a Romance one which survived until the modern times, when it faded out being suppressed by the evil modern nation states.
Ah, but now you are misinterpreting what I've stated, so I've probably not expressed myself clear enough, for which I apologise. Until modern times? Never. I immediately agree that Celtic was not a widely-spoken language in the Carolingian world.
If this discussion is about me making such a statement were not talking about the same thing.

My comment about the influneces of the modern state were to remind people in this thread that a lot of changes in language can be relatively recent and need not represent a continuous development since Roman times.
Thank you for the information about the map. Unfortunately I don't read French so I can't comment on that review. Topographical information is indeed a way to draw a linguistiuc map from, but it's not a perfect way to prove what language was spoken (first or second language) in an area. Toponymic information can be used to show the dvelopment of a language, but it's not usable for such detailed questions such as 'what people actually spoke'. In the 1960s the linguist Kenneth Jackson drew a map of the 'spread of Anglo-Saxon' across Britain based on toponymic information, to prove the geographical gains of the English. However, no-one would dare to use that map any longer as proof of the developement of the English kingdoms, even though the toponymic information is still correct.

That's what I'm trying to say: we do not have sources that can show us who actually spoke Latin in Gaul during the 4th century, and who spoke Gaulish during perhaps the 6th century. How exactly does one make a difference between a source that mentions Anglo-Saxon place-names but fail;s to mention that the local populace still uses a celtic name? One cannot, and neither can I. Anglo-Saxon took over in England and French took over in France, and I could not for the world claim to know at which point Celtic languages (excepting Breton) vanished between the 1st and 9th centuries. But neither can we say that Latin was the only language spoken in Gaul when the Western empire fell, or how large the influnce of Germanic languages became before the Latin-based french dialects reasserted themselves (as for example Anglo-Saxon reasserted itself at some point after the Norman invasion).

Drawing lines on maps based on place-, wood- and river names etc. will give us a linguistic model of course, but it does not gives us fine details about who spoke what on either side of that 'language-border'. Some shephers in some valleys.. no, I'd best leave that alone. :wink:
As a historian, I must have some mistrust of maps with clear lines and arrows on them, especially when it comes to this period, because I know that there is not enough evidence to make exact claims from. That and only that is my stake in this discussion.
Readers with an interest in ancient languages and what they tell us of the disposition and movement of ancient cutures may like to look for J.P. Mallory's 'In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth', London: Thames & Hudson, 1989. Chapter 3 (pp66-109) examines the evidence for the whereabouts of peoples in early Europe covering the Greeks, Thracians, Illyrians, Slavs, Balts, Germans, Celts and Italics and has several helpful maps.
Quote:Ah, but now you are misinterpreting what I've stated, so I've probably not expressed myself clear enough, for which I apologise. Until modern times? Never. I immediately agree that Celtic was not a widely-spoken language in the Carolingian world.
If this discussion is about me making such a statement were not talking about the same thing.

My comment about the influneces of the modern state were to remind people in this thread that a lot of changes in language can be relatively recent and need not represent a continuous development since Roman times.
If I misunderstood it was because you argued against the original claims of continuity.
Anyway, this repeated emphasis on the modern states is moot. What "lot of changes"? Is anyone making the claim that Italian and French are Latin?


Quote:Thank you for the information about the map. Unfortunately I don't read French so I can't comment on that review.
Fortunately I found Gysseling online: http://www.wulfila.be/tw/facsimile/?page=1111

Quote:information is indeed a way to draw a linguistiuc map from, but it's not a perfect way to prove what language was spoken (first or second language) in an area.
And what would the 'perfect way'? Going in this direction, nothing can be 'perfectly proven', are we suppposed to suspend reason and research?

To be sure, toponymy when careful studied (attestation, etymology) can provide a relatively reliable linguistic map of an area.

Quote:In the 1960s the linguist Kenneth Jackson drew a map of the 'spread of Anglo-Saxon' across Britain based on toponymic information, to prove the geographical gains of the English. However, no-one would dare to use that map any longer as proof of the developement of the English kingdoms, even though the toponymic information is still correct.
I encountered more than once recent attempts to shape Celtic or Germanic speaking groups based on (or at least considering) Kenneth Jackson's work and maps.
One quick example here: http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2006/ ... m_2004.pdf

You should also read page 2, because it illustrates the types of argumentation which can woven around a name (Cædmon). Nevertheless that's one name. A map can fit hundreds such names (sometimes tens, but some other times thousands) and thus it comes with a different argument: statistics.

Let's imagine we have 200 Romance and Germanic toponyms attested along a river. On the left bank we have 96 Romance names and 4 Germanic, while on the right bank we have 98 Germanic and 2 Romance. In such a case I believe the geography of these two dialects should be obvious.

Statistics comes with another nice feature: some control over minor errors. Let's further imagine that from our batch of names some 20 were misidentified (but we're not aware of that given the current stage of research). I'd say that's a reasonable error margin, as we still have some 180 correct elements shaping the right picture and therefore our conclusions based on the whole set may be good enough.

Quote:That's what I'm trying to say: we do not have sources that can show us who actually spoke Latin in Gaul during the 4th century, and who spoke Gaulish during perhaps the 6th century. How exactly does one make a difference between a source that mentions Anglo-Saxon place-names but fail;s to mention that the local populace still uses a celtic name? One cannot, and neither can I. Anglo-Saxon took over in England and French took over in France, and I could not for the world claim to know at which point Celtic languages (excepting Breton) vanished between the 1st and 9th centuries. But neither can we say that Latin was the only language spoken in Gaul when the Western empire fell, or how large the influnce of Germanic languages became before the Latin-based french dialects reasserted themselves (as for example Anglo-Saxon reasserted itself at some point after the Norman invasion).

But we don't create maps from one source, we create maps from numerous and whenever possible independent sources. If every source constantly fails to bring some clear evidence of spoken Celtic, then instead of assuming the speakers were numerous but hidden, perhaps we should move to the right conclusion that their presence is insignificant in some way.
Linguistic fossils such as toponyms reflect languages which once were currently in use. An absence of new waves of Celtic toponyms in 7th century Gaul is equivalent with Celtic dialects not being spoken in most segments of Merovingian society.

And we have several complementary ways to know when a language started to fade out.

1. Lack of positive evidence. Was Swahili spoken in Post-Roman Gaul?
2. Historical circumstances and sociolinguistics. In Roman society Latin was a language of social ascension, it makes sense that most indigenous languages were left aside. What about the Merovingian society?
2. Historical linguistics. We know numerous Celtic loanwords in Romance (some are just in Gallo-Roman, some are Pan-Romanic such as the Latin camisia). As far as I know most of them can be dated rather early. The existence of widely spoken Celtic languages in Merovingian Gaul should have left some later loanwords in Gallo-Romance.

J. N. Adams, book mentioned above, p. 759: "The complete disregard, if not open contempt, shown by the Romans (at least under the Empire) for languages other than Greek will have placed great pressure on speakers of vernacular languages to switch to Latin (or Greek) once the Romans had established power in their territories. Septimius Severus’ embarrassment about his native language Punic, the public application by the Cumaeans for permission to switch to Latin in certain domains, and the use by the potters of La Graufesenque of Latin for their makers’ marks all point to the prestige of Latin in the eyes of vernacular speakers (despite their occasional displays of linguistic nationalism), and it is this attitude, rather than any aggressive policy on the part of the Romans themselves, which provides the background to language death in the western provinces."

Here are also a couple of quotes I am cherry-picking from some IE reference books:

B. W. Fortson, Indo-European Language and Culture. An Introduction., p. 312: "Gaulish was still spoken in isolated pockets probably until around AD 500, or even later in Asia Minor"

J. P. Mallory, D. Q. Adams, Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture, p. 97-98 "The extinction of the [Continental] Celtic languages is largely due to the spread of Latin or, in regions peripheral to the center of Celtic expansion, the absorption of Celtic speakers by resident populations. [...] there is very little evidence other than in Brittany that the Celtic languages on the Continent had not largely disappeared by c. 400 AD"



The later gains of Gallo Romance dialects in front of Germanic dialects are covered by the map above.

Quote:Drawing lines on maps based on place-, wood- and river names etc. will give us a linguistic model of course, but it does not gives us fine details about who spoke what on either side of that 'language-border'. Some shephers in some valleys.. no, I'd best leave that alone.
There's one aspect of that map which you're missing here.

It doesn't show a a line, but an evolving frontier which is not even a line. Those white squares are enclaves.
But moreover the representation is schematic. Not along ago I countered a suggestion that Lower Moesia was part of the Greek world with the following page: http://www2.rgzm.de/Transformation/Bulg ... VIIIEN.htm . There are some maps there with distributions of names and languages (based on epigraphic evidence). This is how most real distributions actually look like.

As for shepherds in valleys, I'm not sure you understand the metaphor. A dying aboriginal language is usually spoken only in some restricted (low) segments of the society and often its agony is conditioned by geographical conditions (at the same time, conditions which allow some other languages to survive, see Basque or Albanian).

Quote:As a historian, I must have some mistrust of maps with clear lines and arrows on them, especially when it comes to this period, because I know that there is not enough evidence to make exact claims from.
As a historian you should let the linguists decide if there's enough evidence or not. Wink
Quote: Is anyone making the claim that Italian and French are Latin?
I'm not. Are you? If not, why do you ask?
Quote:Fortunately I found Gysseling online: http://www.wulfila.be/tw/facsimile/?page=1111
Thank you, that's helpful, I'll read it.
Quote:And what would the 'perfect way'? Going in this direction, nothing can be 'perfectly proven', are we suppposed to suspend reason and research?
Did I say there was? Did I say we should suspend reason and research? Why are you overreacting as if I said anything like that?
Quote:To be sure, toponymy when careful studied (attestation, etymology) can provide a relatively reliable linguistic map of an area.
But of course.
But to draw a map you must have good sources. For the, say, 6th and 7th centuries, there hardly exist such detailed sources that you can draw conclusions from them what the first and second language was of a group of people in a given region outside the main towns. It's like doing a study of 6th-c. migrations based on modern dna research.
One can speculate of course, go by the evidence available, but drawing 'perfect' lines on maps is not the same.

Quote: I encountered more than once recent attempts to shape Celtic or Germanic speaking groups based on (or at least considering) Kenneth Jackson's work and maps.
Who said anything about 'Jackson's work and maps'? I merely mentioned his map showing the Anglo-saxon conquests based on toponymic research, not ALL of his work?
Quote:One quick example here: http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2006/ ... m_2004.pdf
Indeed! I'm surprised to read that. But then they also quote Whitelock (1952) in saying that "the word for Briton simply means slave", which is also no longer a valid theory.
Quote:You should also read page 2, because it illustrates the types of argumentation which can woven around a name (Cædmon). Nevertheless that's one name. A map can fit hundreds such names (sometimes tens, but some other times thousands) and thus it comes with a different argument: statistics.
Agreed.
And one can draw as many lines as one wishes.
Quote:Let's imagine we have 200 Romance and Germanic toponyms attested along a river. On the left bank we have 96 Romance names and 4 Germanic, while on the right bank we have 98 Germanic and 2 Romance. In such a case I believe the geography of these two dialects should be obvious.
Agreed.
Now imagine that this information dates to the 10th century. And that the next available evidence dates to the 5th c. How would you draw a map of the development of these dialects between the 5th c. and the 10th c.? Simply by assumption?
Quote:But we don't create maps from one source, we create maps from numerous and whenever possible independent sources. If every source constantly fails to bring some clear evidence of spoken Celtic, then instead of assuming the speakers were numerous but hidden, perhaps we should move to the right conclusion that their presence is insignificant in some way.
Linguistic fossils such as toponyms reflect languages which once were currently in use. An absence of new waves of Celtic toponyms in 7th century Gaul is equivalent with Celtic dialects not being spoken in most segments of Merovingian society.
Can you just leave that Celtic alone please? My argument was about the supposed developemt of the language border between French and German, not about Celtic. My reference to Sidonius merely was to point out that we do not know the details and hence cannoy draw detailed conclusions.
You refer rightly to sources, and I agree that maps can be creatred from 'numerous and whenever possible independent sources'. But these sources are not always available, and for large parts in some periods we do not have any. Sure, a village name and a river name hardly ever change. But names of people are not available in abundance for every village, and even then they may deceive (Germanic soldiers calling themselves Flavius or Attila the Hun bearing a Gothic name to use two examples).
Quote: J. N. Adams, book mentioned above, p. 759: "The complete disregard, if not open contempt, shown by the Romans (at least under the Empire) for languages other than Greek will have placed great pressure on speakers of vernacular languages to switch to Latin (or Greek) once the Romans had established power in their territories. Septimius Severus’ embarrassment about his native language Punic, the public application by the Cumaeans for permission to switch to Latin in certain domains, and the use by the potters of La Graufesenque of Latin for their makers’ marks all point to the prestige of Latin in the eyes of vernacular speakers (despite their occasional displays of linguistic nationalism), and it is this attitude, rather than any aggressive policy on the part of the Romans themselves, which provides the background to language death in the western provinces."
But of course Latin had prestige, no argument there. But why should we see this as the eradication of the original language? We are both writing English here, yet I doubt that we are to lose or own languages, simply because English is the Lingua Franca? Severus could still speak Punic, did he? Celtic was still spoken around Trier, despite the city being the capital of the West for a time. Celtic was still spoken in some provinces by at least some people, as well as Germanic being the language spoken by immigrants in those same provinces. And yes, they probably all spoke Latin.
Quote: As a historian you should let the linguists decide if there's enough evidence or not. Wink
Not likely. Linguists have their own way to bend historical evidence. :twisted:
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