Latin Alive: The Survival of Latin in English and the Romance Languages Paperback – 20 May 2010
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"Joseph Solodow, lecturer in Classics at Yale, joins the expanding ranks of scholars writing accessible histories of Latin, with his Latin Alive...the readers will be attracted by the mixture of perspectives, and the majority of readers will learn details they had not realized before....We can all read it with pleasure. " --BMCR
Joseph Solodow tells the story of how Latin developed into modern French, Spanish, and Italian, and also deeply affected English. Offering a gripping narrative of language change, Solodow charts Latin's course from classical times to the modern era, with particular focus on the first millennium of the Common Era.See all Product Description
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The work is marked by a clear historical progression in its treatment of the material: 1. the growth and spread of the Latin language (literary and Vulgar or popular Latin, the mother of the Romance languages); 2. the Romance vocabulary (how and why words came to shift in meaning and form in post-Empire western Europe); 3. common features in the grammar and sounds of the Romance languages and how these arose (many illuminating observations from the world of linguistics); 4. how the languages diverged, as witnessed in the earliest texts of French, Italian and Spanish.
It is not necessary to be a Latin specialist (increasingly a rara avis today) to appreciate this book, since many of the distinctive features of Latin and its grammar are explained in user-friendly language in part one. I enjoyed reading this book through in consecutive order (with its many diversions into etymologies, where I learnt something new on every page) but the book will also serve as a useful reference work, through its handy indices. Most students today will be studying Latin's grandchildren - and in particular French and Spanish - rather than the grandmother herself. This engagingly written book will show students how these languages came to be. It has its fingers on the pulses of both ages - and the old lady isn't dead!
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C. Chauvigne, French Professor Emeritus