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Hah! I feel so vindicated. Vindicated is not exactly the right word, but something that is partially quite vindicated, mixed with happy, and utterly delighted with my discovery of this amazing interview on youtube.
Unfortunately, if you can’t understand Spanish, you’ll miss out on it.
I’m not a linguist, so I don’t know how “traditional” linguists would respond to all the points Carme Jiménez Huertas*, philologist specialized in linguistics, makes.
The fact is she has answered a most fundamental question I had which had popped up in my mind as soon as I started learning a bit of Latin.
Something unexplainable starkly stood out to me. Something did not make sense at all: the syntax of the Romance languages in many fundamental ways does not match Latin AT ALL, BUT it is very similar across all Romance languages. Obviously, this blows a hole the size of a crater in the theory that says that Romance languages are DERIVED from Latin. They cannot be, simply cannot be.
And here it is beautifully explained why, along with so many other interesting linguistics points.
Basically, there was a Western European language that is the mother of all Romance languages which was spoken all across the region. With the Roman conquest, Latin permeated and intervened in this older maternal Romance language, but it obviously was NOT Latin that was the matrix! This older Romance language is the mother of all Romance languages, not Latin! This older Romance language was spoken all across Western Europe before Latin arrived on the scene, already forming all kinds of regional variations over time. Latin came and shaped all these already existing variations of this older Romance language, but it did not generate them from its “scratch” Latin base (including from Vulgar Latin!). The “vulgarization” theory is ridiculous. That’s exactly what I thought as well.
I have to ask people studying linguistics now if academics are still going around saying that Latin is the mother of Romance languages or if this very old and entrenched myth has begun to be discarded on the face of pure logic and more recent research.
Loved it! Note the points she makes from about min. 34 to 50: The key question when comparing the fundamental syntax of a language, regarding its main components, plus comparisons with key and root vocabulary, plus the fact that Latin sits in between the Romance languages and German.
And very interestingly, and with which I totally agree, is the question of time. There was not sufficient time for so much fundamental syntactic change, as the (stupid) theory of Latin being the matrix of Romance languages claims. 400 years is NOTHING – as she so keenly and wonderfully points out. This was one of my questions as well! Hah! I feel so vindicated. For a language’s syntax to change on the level of such fundamental syntactic mechanisms, it takes thousands of years, not a few hundred. This is perfectly true!
So cool. Sorry, but I don’t feel like transcribing and translating to English everything she says.
p.s. And the question of what language all the varied and highly diverse Roman troops spoke is also very interesting. All the foreigners in the Roman armies probably had learned, at a minimum, some basic Latin to function, but otherwise, as she says, they spoke their own language of origin. That’s my guess without more info at the moment. Some questions remain for me also about the written form of this older language.
She has authored a book on the subject:
Title No venimos del latín
Review: Se nos ha dicho que las lenguas romances derivan del latín y que son el resultado de la degeneración del latín vulgar. Su formación se explica a través de complicados procesos evolutivos. Sin embargo, ¿qué sucedería si las causas del cambio lingu¨ístico, atribuidas a influencias externas, pudieran explicarse desde la escritura ibérica? Las primeras evidencias de los romances nos muestran una lengua oral plenamente desarrollada que tiene características afines con las lenguas actuales pero que presentan una rotura con el latín: ni la fonética, ni los conectores, ni la sintaxis son latinas. Y, misteriosamente, algunas de estas características son ibéricas. Mientras se conoce casi todo sobre el latín, la escritura ibérica, que dejó más de dos mil textos epigráficos, se ha ignorado y no forma parte de los estudios filológicos universitarios. Quizá por ello, en pleno siglo XXI, sigue sin descifrar.
Carme Jiménez Huertas (Sant Just Desvern, 1958) estudió Filosofía y Letras en la Universitat de Barcelona y Filología Catalana en la UOC, especializándose en lingüística y tecnologías de la lengua.
Also, I think she is great at explaining things, the perfect person to be a professor…
Also #2, she does not claim to be the first to be debunking this “Latin matrix” claim. There were some accusations of plagiarism or similar here, or that the debunking has been around for at least 100 years (certainly not in my education and cultural circles!):
Which the interviewer retorted to, clarifying Carme has based her claims on the research of several other authors and apparently recognizes them. I haven’t read her book. At least during the interview, in no way does she come across as some egomaniac who needs to untowardly claim some undue credit for herself. She is simply explaining this “newer” reasoning and theory. She never says “my work, my research, my this, my that…”
The “Romance languages came from Latin” is a great of example of the power of conditioning. It is a great example of what it is like being in an environment where everyone says the same stupid thing as if it were true and logical, while your brain is ringing the alarm that it ***does not*** make sense, but you are pushed with two tons of force to accept what you are being told. Very “Winston, how many fingers am I holding up, Winston?” The force of this conditioning can be really jarring, even totally disabling.
Moral of the story: Never, NEVER, NEVER ignore when your brain rings the alarm that something is just not adding up. No matter how much people on the outside are pounding your brain to make it follow their totally accepted way of thinking.
Update Dec. 3, 2013
I have a follow-up that clarifies certain important points above. BTW, this post was censored at
Latindiscussion.com (you can read an excerpt of the full exchange -including the censored post- on my other blog)
[quote=”Cinefactus, convMessage: 9532, member: 395″]Alessandra,
Your actions in this message (when did latin die?) are not appropriate. I have heard your position argued by an academic whom I greatly respect, so I am very interested to hear any evidence you have for it. You do need, however, to present this evidence. Sweeping unsupported statements and references to Wikipedia do not count as evidence. Asking a question is acceptable, but at the moment your posts are closer to trolling.
Your account’s access may be limited based on these actions. Please keep this in mind when posting or using our site.[/quote]
I don’t understand what evidence you want me to present. Could you clarify? I also have no idea what unsupported statements are you referring to that I cannot make here. It’s a little odd that Pixie made several referrals to wikipedia, but apparently you have no trouble with that. I guess the validity of evidence on wikipedia depends on who makes the reference…
Anyways, these are my latest thoughts:
Alessandra dixit: ↑
There has often been a clear confusion between ability and adulation, between being right and being capable of questioning what is blindly accepted as so.
Pixie says: “You confess of not being an expert on the matter of Latin philology, but for some strange reason you have decided to blindly follow someone who has just as much classical training as high school students.”
The reason is not strange at all. She is asking questions and pointing out problems with your theories that you can’t answer properly or not at all. So it’s not following blindly – it’s wanting answers that up to here, not only were you incapable of answering, but you have no extant evidence for most of what is called “Vulgar Latin” which is supposed to cover what, 1000-1500 years of language development?
“The broad term Vulgar Latin should not be confused with the more specific term Proto-Romance, which refers specifically to the theoretical common ancestor to the modern Romance languages, as such Proto-Romance may have been only one of the Vulgar Latin languages and only a very late stage of that language branch.”
That’s what I was basically doing.
Lyceum dixit: ↑ Also, if you really don’t know what happened to Egypt to keep there from being a modern spoken Romance language there well…you really have serious gaps in your general education.
Alessandra dixit: ↑ Why only Egypt? Let’s take every single conquered territory of the Romans – which according to your thesis must for no reason at all suddenly start to change profound syntactic mechanisms, in the same way, at the same time across an area of the size of Northern Africa.
Pixie says: “I am not sure whether you are even aware of the number of romance languages that died out. ”
Are you trying to make a point? What is it?
Pixie says: “Then there is IstroRomanian which will most likely die out very soon, and some others, some extinct, some still alive that formed in the areas of the Roman Empire, about whom I doubt the author of the book you are quoting even heard anything, and even less studied enough to make a proper judgment:”
Which judgment did she fail to make?
Alessandra dixit: ↑ I took a quick look at “J.N Adams “The Regional Diversification of Latin”” and interestingly enough it has nothing of what I asked you for! I didn’t find a “whole wealth of evidence” chronicling this intermediary language you claim existed between Latin and and the Romance languages from 400 and 800 AD.
Pixie says: “That book has more than 800 pages. Unless you have magical powers you won’t be able to find anything “by taking a quick look”.”
If you had taken even a quick look at the book, you’d have noticed that it doesn’t even begin to present the full transformation going from Latin to Romance, it has a very limited focus on Latin.
Alessandra dixit: ↑ Or did I misunderstand you? Is your great thesis that Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Italian were all created in 200 years, meaning from 600-800 AD, just like that? I’m sure you must have an even greater wealth of imaginary evidence that proves that!
Pixie says: “And your “abundance of evidence” seems to amount to randomly chosen Wikipedia articles and a book by an author with very disputable knowledge and no credentials whatsoever.”
Ah, but I never claimed to have an abundance of evidence – you did. And obviously you don’t have it.
Here’s how I see things after this exchange:
One of the problems is the concept of “mother” language. Because if you go from:
Latin -> Vulgar Latin -> Proto-Romance -> Romance
Latin is not the mother of Romance; it’s the great grand-mother. And, as far as the info I have seen, there is basically no extant evidence of most of this huge number of languages covering a very wide geographic area over centuries that are all called “Vulgar Latin. ” To the point that I wonder if many of these sociolects under this umbrella term had already changed so much that they should really be called something other than “Vulgar Latin.”
In the end, classic Latin became such a distant relative of Romance languages that to say that it functions as a mother or as an aunt language is the same thing.
And also, because you basically have no evidence of what Vulgar Latin was like, you have little idea of how it mixes with other languages and why one variant spreads one way or another, how long things take to change, etc. What you seem to have is evidence for classic Latin, and evidence for Romance. Vulgar Latin, very little. It’s these transitional languages that you are missing tons of evidence for.
To answer the initial OP question: Latin died out at various times at various places. “Vulgar Latin” obviously ceases to be Latin at different points. And that is even truer in the Romance languages stage. To say that Latin never died out because it lives on as Romance languages is ludicrous.
And someone asked what is this language that existed aside from classic Latin? Well, it seems that it’s “Vulgar Latin”! The question almost seems to be what Western European language isn’t considered Vulgar Latin?
It’s what PP asked:
“Now even admitting there would have been another language common to all the Latin/Romance area, which would have been very influenced by Latin with regards to vocabulary and conjugation but not for the rest, how could such a widely spoken language have left no trace whatsoever, not an inscription, nothing, while we do have traces of both Latin and various regional languages spoken in the same areas and that survived along with Latin here and there for some time, even influencing the regional Latin, before they got overcome by it? We would have traces of those regional languages, and no trace of a common one spoken over such a wide area?”
“It cannot be supposed that the spoken language was a distinct and persistent language so that the citizens of Rome would be regarded as bilingual. Instead, Vulgar Latin is a blanket term covering the popular dialects and sociolects of the Latin language throughout its range from the hypothetical prisca latinitas of unknown or poorly remembered times in early Latium to the death of Latin after the fall of the empire.”
So, if you are going to take every language development “spoken by the people” from 700 BC to 700 AD and call it “Vulgar Latin” and all of that is running in parallel to (classical) Latin – there’s your “common language”! But which in fact is a big bunch of languages. And there is very little trace of all these oral languages. In addition, only by knowing more of the spoken pre-Latin languages in Western Europe could you know how each and everyone of them affected “Vulgar Latin.” It seems there is basically no evidence of those. How many “Vulgar Latin” sociolects have both a mother and a father language?
Lastly, why, for example, do the major Romance languages use “guerra” for war, and not the classic Latin word? In the Iberian Peninsula, even? Does anyone know the answer?
(end of censored comment)
Pointing out how little evidence there is for all the languages the term “Vulgar Latin” is supposed to denote, the lack of proper explanations for so many issues, and how many holes there are with so many claims was deemed a thought and speech crime over at latindiscussion.com – therefore my questioning was censored.
Who would have thought that people who study Latin are so obtuse to thinking.
I just posted a new post over at Aleksandreia:
For once, having my email hijacked by these stupid marketing lists of all kinds actually presented me with a benefit other than cluttering my email box.
By serendipity then, I was directed to this little discussion where various people posted answers to the following question:
“What are some quick concise motivational statements to help get me out of bed in the mornings?”
It’s a very nice idea for a question to ask multiple people.
After going through the list, one especially stuck out to me as being quite powerful:
There will be a day when you can no longer do this.
Today is NOT that day.
A couple of others are nice, but several of the remaining ones do nothing for me. And as long as it’s just one or two, I also don’t mind the sarcastic and completely negative ones.
Anyways, it got me thinking on how mysteriously powerful one thought can be for your mind, while another that says basically the same thing or is similar does nothing within those ensconced depths of your psychological dynamics. It’s intriguing.
I wrote this comment in reply to an article on Ethika Politika published on November 15, 2013 (Conscience: Evolved or Deformed?).
Andrew M. Haines wrote:
Here’s an interesting idea: are we experiencing an “evolution of conscience” in the modern West? Howard P. Kainz makes the case in an article today at First Things, citing everything from our pandemic aversion to “genocide” and “slavery” to the sacrosanct status of individual human rights. It makes you wonder.
…conscience isn’t only awareness. In fact, it’s primarily not awareness at all; rather, it is a judgement by reason that identifies the moral quality of a particular action. (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1778.) So far as knowledge of alternatives is required for judgment, conscience needs sensitivity to operate. But conscience is, at bottom, active rather than passive.
I think it’s very complicated to claim that we have evolved in terms of conscience. Perhaps in a book-length discussion, one could examine how conscience has evolved regarding a particular topic and compare and contrast changes. But in general terms?
I think Americans are particularly lacking in conscience, both in terms of awareness as well as morality in such a long list of topics that it becomes rather shoddy form to argue, in a general sense, that conscience has evolved.
“The current, almost universal, abhorrence of genocide stems from examples in the modern world—Hitler exterminating Jews, Turkey’s massacre of Armenians, Serbian atrocities against Muslims in Bosnia, Sudan’s systematic extermination of black Christians. Genocide may still be going on; but for the Western world in general, it is considered execrable. The possibility of future genocides horrifies our conscience.”
Horrifies? Really? As I recall, while the Rwandan genocide was going on, President Clinton was busy playing golf and most Americans were home happily watching football, drinking something, and eating pizza. So horrified were they that they did nothing.
While most people condemn not only the idea of genocide but also the practice, when they do nothing about it, even though they condemn it, it also shows that their idea of having a conscience is particularly bourgeois, flimsy, and profoundly self-centered. And their words of condemnation show themselves to be quite cheap after all.
Which leads us to ask:
Which one is worse: a Roman soldier who thinks he is doing his job by exterminating a people conquered, or a 20th century American who may even believe genocide is wrong, but plays golf while it happens?
(I’m saving this here in case it ever is taken off from Alexandria – Unfortunately the comments won’t index here)
Nov 12th, 2013 by Alessandra Reflections
This is a topic I have been fascinated with for a long time.
In my view, there is a very profound conceptual problem with the ideological structure of the United States and its purported division between Religion and State. The minute that religion is deemed only a matter of the private sphere (which it has never been, or it couldn’t be properly categorized as a “religion”), something else will take over to dictate how life should or shouldn’t be. In the case of the present US, it is the religion of the State or “secularism.” This something else (secularism) is nothing but another religion with another name, the only fundamental difference is that it is a religion without a conceptual base formed around some divine entity.
What I find particularly fascinating is that secular religion (the dominant form today being liberalism) is spreading not through fire and sword, but through social conditioning, public education, and by indoctrination by the mass media and the entertainment industry. It does not surprise me, therefore, to see how upset and outraged that people with various traditional religions around the country have become to see their religions being cornered into something unacceptable, deemed evil even, as the secular religion comes to dominate the ideological mantle of society.
Liberalism is not catholic; it does not admit any other thought aside from its dogmas (normalization of homosexuality, for example). Every type of dissent must be maligned and discredited. It is clear this is another way that liberalism uses the same intolerance and suppression mechanism that other orthodox religions have used in the past.
Read the rest of this entry »
As I mentioned back in July, I waged that the Snowden scandal is the biggest political scandal that I will witness in my life time. Only time will tell if that’s right!
Here is one of the big questions that linger: What will happen to the alleged 200,000 documents Snowden copied and what information do they contain?
Meanwhile, the UK government is moving to take persecutory action against The Guardian newspaper. In response to this, the New York Times wrote an editorial in support of the Guardian, and the Guardian wrote an article highlighting the fact. It also highlights that Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom. That this profound deficiency doesn’t bother the British comes as a bit surprising to me, but like many European cultures, they don’t like to face that there are particular (and very serious) problems with their legal systems (or any other system). Most usually end up defending whatever shoddy system they have, because it’s what they have, it’s what they’ve always had, it’s what they’ve been told is good, and that’s what they identify with.
The recent Guardian article, however, prompted some interesting comments.
mirageseekr – 15 November 2013 4:07pm
As an American I find it amusing that the article is touting on about American “freedom” of press. The NSA story has very much been stifled here and Americans are coming to The Guardian and Der Speigal for information. Our “freedoms” are but words, our “reporters” are insiders for the government. And our congress is working hard to define what a reporter is in an effort to prosecute anyone who is not part of the club. Oh the Irony, once again people buy into what they are told (over and over again) when the truth is quit different.
OK, so I didn’t want to make the title of this post too long, so I kept it to “religion.” It should be Christian/Catholic religion in the US, whose changes have also been mimicked in several other countries.
What has happened in the last 50 years? A commenter called Ann Olivier in a thread over at TAC perfectly captured it. (November 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm – The Ruin Of Catholic Schools by Rod Dreher)
Ann Olivier writes: I was in Catholic schools in the 30′s and 40′s. At that time as compared with now, the schools were very good in math, excellent in English and history, and not nearly as good in science. That was partly due to the sort of education that the nuns (women, of course) had received.
In the 60′s and 70′s (judging from what I know of the experiences of my friend’s kids and from some part-time volunteering in a Catholic grammar school) it became apparent that the Catholic schools were changing.
First, the nuns started to leave in the 60′s and were often replaced by less good teachers simply because the Catholic schools could not compete financially with the public schools. Also, religious instruction started to change — there was very little rote learning which led to forgetting some of what they had learned, and there was less emphasis on the facts of the faith.
Most important, the emphasis started to be on very general ethical principles like “Love everybody” which doesn’t provide much help for times when you honestly don’t know what ought to be done or not. And talk of sin and guilt became less common. In other words, it was the beginning of the age of happy-clappy religion.
Happy-clappy, loved it. It is the perfect term that clinches this new brand of religion that we have today.
Wiser social observers in our society have realized some time ago that so-called anti-discrimination laws and rules are being used to shove the liberal homosexuality agenda down the throats of social conservatives in the name of progress and civil rights.
The Elane Photography case, already discussed a few times on this blog*, is a stark example. According to this Aug. 2013 article, a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for review of the case is due by mid-November. That means now.
( * Elane Photography – the Christian couple being harassed by two stupid lesbians in New Mexico – is going to the Supremes! // Liberals announce future legislation promoting gay rights – progress to come! // Another fake “discrimination” lawsuit from two men with a homosexual problem – Colorado bakery refused wedding cake // One of the best recent threads at The American Conservative – thanks to a few commenters who charitably bother improving the content of the site )
The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that Christian photographers cannot decline to participate in gay-marriage commitment ceremonies, even though that state does not have gay marriage and the court acknowledged that providing services for the ceremony violated the Christian’s sincerely-held, traditional religious beliefs. This becomes one of the first major cases where religious liberty collides with gay rights, and could now go to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Elane Huguenin is a photographer in New Mexico. She and her husband Jonathan jointly own their family business, Elane Photography. Specifically, Elane is a photojournalist—using a carefully-planned series of photographs to tell a story and convey a message. She is also a devout Christian, who believes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
In 2006, Vanessa Willock contacted Elane Photography, asking Elane to photograph her lesbian commitment ceremony. It was a private commitment ceremony because New Mexico recognizes neither gay marriage nor gay civil unions. Elane thanked Willock for her interest, but explained that due to her religious beliefs she only does traditional weddings.
Willock filed a complaint against Elane with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, citing a state law that does not allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The commission ruled Elane’s decision illegal, and imposed a fine of $7,000 to cover legal fees.
Elane took this matter to court, represented by Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The trial court upheld the fine, as did the court of appeals.
The New Mexico Supreme Court has now affirmed the lower courts, holding that Elane Photography is a “public accommodation,” and because they photograph wedding ceremonies they cannot refuse a gay-commitment ceremony (even if it is not a legal wedding).
Below is a short excerpt of some comments at the Breitbart news site above, some of which are very good.
Read the rest of this entry »
I am having a discussion on discrimination/persecution issues and cases over at Aleksandria (post: Not cool, SSPX dudes, not cool…).
And in mentioning two particular cases involving discrimination and persecution of Christians (one in the UK and one in the US: Owen Johns, and Crystal Dixon), a question that I had asked before, that is, a point that I had previously raised, became even more starkly clear.
The Owen Johns case is very telling. The judge ruled it was not, I repeat, not religious discrimination to rule they were unfit parents based on their *religious* views.
I think it is one of the most blatantly hypocritical rulings in the culture wars related to homosexuality. See the Telegraph’s article for more incongruities and the absurd forms of discrimination and injustice it brings about.
But here is the largely unanswered question in this case. This ruling evidently brings up the conundrum: if the Johns are unfit to parent, so are all social conservatives – thus they should all be prohibited to have/keep their children. Otherwise you cannot rule against the Johns. (And remember that this ruling is considered a “normal” and “acceptable” way to think!). I don’t understand how such a ruling can be handed down, much less how it can be let to stand.
The Johns case is a great example of a ruling that institutes the criminalization of Christianity in England, while claiming its ruling has nothing to do with religion! In other words, it’s a blatant attack on religious liberty that does not acknowledge that is exactly what it is doing.
And it directly relates to the US because it signals a major change in cultural hegemony. Liberalism is being implanted here by suppressing the rights of socons/religious folks through similar legal and other practical maneuvers.
Which brings us to the Crystal Dixon case.
Dixon was persecuted out of her job because of her sound beliefs, which are socially conservative. Note that it’s the same conundrum as in the Johns case: if Dixon is unfit to have a job in HR, so is every other social conservative – her views are obviously too criminal to allow her to have an HR job. This obviously entails that all social conservatives cannot be managers – because if it is alleged that Dixon cannot behave ethically to University employees because of her socially conservative views, anyone else who has the same views cannot behave ethically in other work settings either. Consequently, all social conservatives who deal with any underlings must be fired – everywhere.
Why can she legally be singled out for discrimination then, and not everyone else who thinks the same? Why should anyone ever employ her again? Why should anyone ever employ a social conservative or Christian if it is alleged they cannot be ethical when dealing with other people? And notice Dixon has no further recourse through the legal system.
Between the SSPX (the guys who protested Francis’ recent interfaith Mass with the Rabbi, and reportedly can be probably rightfully called quite anti-semitic for their larger attitudes, not just this incident – see the post in Aleksandria for more details) and the liberals in Dixon’s university, or the liberals who want to deny the Johns their right to be foster parents, who would you say is the most close-minded and bigoted?
I had the idea for this post upon reading this comment (in a thread about the Elane Photography case):
The Evolution of the Gay Mantra….
1970’s “Live and let live.”
1980’s “Tolerance! Tolerance!”
1990’s “Don’t shove your values down my throat!”
2000’s “We expect you to change your lives to honor our lifestyle; we have no tolerance for your beliefs. We’re going to shove our values down your throat.”
2010’s “…and if that doesn’t work, we’re going to get the government to bully you into submission.”
2013 It’s fine if you have beliefs as long as you keep them to yourselves – in other words, you’d better violate your conscience always or else
2016 Discrimination against all social conservatives is now legal – because they’re just bigots and deserve it
2017 Hiring any social conservative to a higher education or K-12 institution is illegal since it violates diversity for gays
2018 Social conservative businesses must be forced to close down because they are like Jim Crow
2019 Special ghetto areas implemented where social conservatives are allowed to live – they can still tell each other their beliefs since we greatly respect freedom of speech as laid out in the 1st Amendment
2020 – Children of social conservatives must be taken away from them because what happens if one develops a homosexuality problem and the parents do not think it is normal? Child abuse is unacceptable in our progressive and diverse society
Also partly inspired by a recent discussion over at Aleksandria: Not cool, SSPX dudes, not cool… and a post: Two legal cases about persecution of Christians and a major unanswered question talking about two recent legal cases that highlight the blatant persecution and ghettoization of Christianity/social conservatives in the West. And this recent post: One of the best recent threads at The American Conservative – thanks to a few commenters who charitably bother improving the content of the site