Ancient Languages/curiosity

Advertisement


Question
If i am correct latin is a dead language due to the fact everyone had a different version of the luanguage, and could no longer understand one another. If True? What will come of english? I have trouble understanding people now.

Answer
Hello,

Latin is called a "dead language" simply because it is a language that is no longer spoken by anyone as their main language, not because “everyone had a different version of the language, and could no longer understand one another”, as you say.

So, Latin is just a language which is no longer in everyday spoken use, but it is the language of a great literature whose the most famous authors in period of time which goes from 753 BC to 476 AD are for example Terence, Plautus, Lucilius, Lucretius, Julius Caesar, Cicero, Horace, Livy, Virgil, Petronius,  Seneca, Ovid, Martial, Tibullus, Catullus,Sallust, Juvenal, Quintilian, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius and Marcus Aurelius.

As for what you say about Latin  which would be  a dead language "due to the fact that everyone had a different version of the language, and could no longer understand one another",just as you say, I think that you want to refer to Romance languages (aka Neo-Latin languages), that is to say :Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, which all derive from Latin, although English Language itself is full of words of Latin origin that came into the language by way of the French-speaking Norman invaders of 1066.
(See "obsolete", "emulation","agriculture", "animal", "anniversary", "millennium","code","abbreviation",  "homicide", etc.).

Today, in fact, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian are different languages so that Italians, the French, the Spanish,the Portuguese and Romanians  no longer understand one another, simply because the commom Latin origin has been changed in a lot of ways, due to the influence of the dialects which were peculiar to the specific countries(Italy, France,Spain, Portugal, Romania)that Rome, whose language was just Latin, had conquered in ancient times.

To conclude,it is not true that "Latin is a dead language due to the fact everyone had a different version of the language, and could no longer understand one another" and then it is not true that even English could become a dead language in the sense of a language which is no longer in everyday spoken use.
The only thing that could happen to English language is that it could be enriched by neologisms, that is to say newly coined words or expressions as well as new ​meaning for an ​existing word.

In short, English (as well as other modern languages that are spoken today) does not run the risk of becoming a dead language.
Anyway, if you have trouble understanding people, it may result from the fact that some persons, especially  the young, are often using slang expressions and words.

Hope all is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria  

Ancient Languages

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

I am an expert in Latin & Ancient Greek Language and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.