Re: [OT] Close to latin

From: Antoine Leca (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 13:04:21 EST

Erland Sommarskog wrote:
> "Carl W. Brown" <> writes:
> > My vote is for Portuguese. Because it was re-latinized it is closer to the
> > Latin roots that any other Romance language. Thus it makes a great linga
> > franca.

I am not sure this is that ideal. I find Brazilian and Iberian accents to be
quite distinct, for example (I am not qualified enough to know if it goes
beyond the differences between US/American and British English, though).

> > Learning French unfortunately is learning two languages, the
> > written and the spoken.

I do not believe anyone here have the idea to propose French as lingua franca.
It was a time for this to be, three centuries ago. This time is now over.
Looks to me like trying to promote Baudot code.

> > Not true with Portuguese.
> You don't know anything about Portoguese phonology, do you? You may
> think spoken French is weird, but Portuguese isn't far behind.

I am a bit biased here, but I believe that spoken French is much less
weird than _written_ French is (is there many languages where spelling
contests is one of the most viewed TV programs?)
That said, I concur with Erland.

> (Besides, the Romance language I've seen being claimed to be closest
> to Latin is Roumanian, but I guess the real answer must be Sard.)

I do not know anything about Sardinian, and I am not sure about what
you are talking about when you write Roumanian (is it Romanian, i.e.
the national language of Romania?).
Also I am not a linguist, so I easily can be wrong. However I would like
to add that:
- Romanian, for obvious geographical reasons, has been highly influenced
  by non-Italic languages; obviously I am biaised on the other side, but
  I do not hear Romanian as being that close to Latin; I believe Italian
  (Toscanian, I mean) is much closer, for example;
- "Latin" is a fuzzy target; furthermore, most if not all Romance
  languages evolved from the spoken Latin, while the language we usually
  describe as Latin refer to the progressively fossilized, written,
  "classical" language;
- a living language, as opposed to a dead one, should evolve (this is
  exactly the problem French is currently having, by the way); trying
  to stick with a past reference is going exactly backwards; Esperanto
  showed us that a fossilized language cannot aim at being lingua franca
  (at least, this is what I learnt from the linguists I read; I welcome
  counter arguments).


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