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#119979 - 01/14/04 10:12 PM Romanes eunt domus?  
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Te Ika a Maui
Elsewhere, capfka queried whether French "crept" into English, and my sympathy with the question (at least as it relates to the speed with which the French language affected the English language) set me wondering: What about the Romans? I am proudly omnascient, but I have always assumed that the bulk of any Latinate influence in English came from the Frenchified Vikings who caught Harald's eye in 1066. So, what about the Romans? How much of an impact did they have, linguistically? I realise that their presence predates the Angles and the Saxons, but surely they couldn't have hung around for a couple of centuries without leaving some discernible mark on the language?


#119980 - 01/14/04 10:32 PM Re: Romanae eunt domus?  
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Well, the Romans were in Britain for about 400 years, and they did have an impact on the languages spoken on the island. There are many Latin loanwords in Welsh, Cornish, Breton (off the isle), and Irish. (There's a famous book by a French linguist, but I've spaced on his name and the title.) When the Roman Empire pulled its legions out of Britannia to go shore up it crumbling western provinces, it left a vacuum that some Germanic tribes decided to fill (whether by invitation or their own initiative). I think that if the Romano-Britons, (i.e., those Britons living in the Roman province in cities and villas, who culturally identified with Romans, speaking Latin, etc.) had held off the invading Teutons, then the landmass known today as the UK might today might be speaking a Romance language. But the invading Germans didn't so much conquer the Britons as push them aside (i.e., into Wales, Cornwall, and Scotland). They usually created new settlements near the old Roman towns (which they feared were haunted), and since they weren't Christians yet, they didn't have much contact with Latin. Later, when Billy the Bastard nuked Harold from orbit (rather than creeping in like a mouse), there was plenty of time for some fearsome verbal lending from the Norman variety of Middle French.

BTW, I love that scene in <i>The Life of Brian</i> to which your subject refers.

<A HREF="http://members.chello.se/hansdotter/romanes.html" target="_new">http://members.chello.se/hansdotter/romanes.html</A>



#119981 - 01/14/04 10:36 PM Re: Romanes eunt domus?  
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In reply to:

Well, the Romans were in Britain for about 400 years, and they did have an impact on the languages spoken on the island. There are many Latin loanwords in Welsh, Cornish, Breton (off the isle), and Irish.


Thanks for that. I figured that their legacy would be most visible in the British languages. Do you know of examples where that influence has percolated through to AS and on to English?



Thanks for the link. I've corrected the subject line. Cheers.


#119982 - 01/14/04 10:51 PM Re: Romanae eunt domus?  
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The book I was thinking of in the last entry was: Joseph Loth, Les mots latins dans les langues brittoniques (gallois, armoricain, cornique), phonetique et commentaire, avec une introduction sur la romanization de l'ile de Bretagne, 1892. There's also Joseph Vendryes, De hibernicis vocabulis qvae a latina lingua originem duxerunt, 1902.


#119983 - 01/14/04 11:07 PM Re: Romanes eunt domus?  
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Do you know of examples where that influence has percolated through to AS and on to English?

Well, there's mile, wine, street, church (from Greek via Latin), anchor, abbot, sack (from saccus, though it's a loan into Latin from Greek and finally from Semitic), plaster, martyr, master (though with some interference from the French), Chester (though a city name). The modern spelling have been affected by the classical spellings. There's a nice Latin loanword chapter in Campbell's Old English Grammar which is still in print. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0198119437/qid=1074125239/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_4/102-3552399-0616950?v=glance&s=books



#119984 - 01/21/04 12:17 AM Re: Romanae eunt domus?  
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In reply to:

Well, the Romans were in Britain for about 400 years, and they did have an impact on the languages spoken on the island. There are many Latin loanwords in Welsh, Cornish, Breton (off the isle), and Irish.


In the case of Irish at least, it was ecclesia and not imperium that left a legacy of Latin loan-words, and in fact any infuence on Irish dates from after the withdrawal from Britain. The influence of Latin is most evident in vocabulary that relates to church (eaglais) and school (scoil).

It's worth noting that the Bretons were actually on the island during the Roman occupation, and subequently migrated to Brittany.


#119985 - 01/21/04 12:34 AM Re: Romanae eunt domus?  
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Thanks for the clarification. My favorite Latin loanword into Irish is pax into pogue (in its Anglo-Irish spelling). The kiss of peace during the mass which has now turned into shaking hands and hugging the person next to you. I thought there were some Latin loans into Irish that predated the church. I realise that the etymology of clan from planta is not uncontroversial. But St Patrick was in Ireland in the early fifth century, wasn't he? So it's in the same timeframe as the Brythonic languages. But, yes, Ireland was not a province of Rome.


#119986 - 01/21/04 07:04 AM Re: Romanes eunt domus?  
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WHAT DID THE ROMANS EVER DO FOR US?

stales


#119987 - 01/21/04 07:10 AM Re: Romanes eunt domus?  
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WHAT DID THE ROMANS EVER DO FOR US?

Well, lemme think. There was a rumour that they began to migrate to Sydney in hordes. There's that many pizzerias and spaghetti houses there, after all. So it's prolly true.


#119988 - 01/21/04 01:28 PM Re: Romanes eunt domus?  
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WHAT DID THE ROMANS EVER DO FOR US?

The Wall is rather lovely.



#119989 - 01/21/04 02:56 PM Re: Romanae eunt domus?  
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> In the case of Irish at least, it was ecclesia and not imperium that left a legacy of Latin loan-words, and in fact any infuence on Irish dates from after the withdrawal from Britain. The influence of Latin is most evident in vocabulary that relates to church (eaglais) and school (scoil).

Ditto in Welsh ("the Irish who couldn't swim"!):
school - ysgol
church - eglwys (the name of my local village is Eglwyswrw)
(and you don't have to be a cunning linguist to see the relationship to the French 'eglise')

Though in English, I remember studying the complexities of many examples of loans from Imperial Latin, Church Latin, and sometimes even complex interchanges down the ages to~ and~fro between the different variants, sometimes through the medium of French too. I'd have to look up my sources now, though - can't remember the examples offhand!


#119990 - 01/21/04 03:06 PM Re: Romanae eunt domus?  
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I suppose it's a question of whether you see the Roman Church as separate from the Roman State. As was mentioned here earlier, the Roman State didn't really care what language its subjects spoke as long as they paid their taxes on time. The Roman Church was bent on making converts, and part of that prorgram includes language: bible translations, coinage of new words for foreign concepts, loanwords. The Church did not step into the vacuum created by the departing legions, they came with the legions.

As for the Welsh being the Irish who couldn't swim, Maverick, my understanding is that the Welsh are the descendents of the Celts who occupied most of today's England, while the Irish are the descendents of the Celts who occupied Ireland. In a sense they both had to be good swimmers to get to where they are today.


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