When and why does a language emerge? And when and why does a language die? Try to answer by referring to the emergence of Vernaculars in Italy and in the former Roman Empire.
The reasons why and when a language emerges or dies can be very varied according to which part of the world we want to concentrate. It is important to make the difference between a language and a dialect as according tosome linguists the only difference there is, is that a language has political recognition unlike a dialect which it has no official status and it is usually spoken within a region of a country or a community. In fact, any language that had once spread across different communities steadily differentiated into distinct local dialects. It is also worth remembering the Bible story of Babel in which Godpunished human beings into speaking different languages so they could not understand one another, this resulted in multilingualism, creating diversity in human language in which languages are able to influence one another. This diversity enriched us with the ability of innovation and creation of new words.The issue of language death is a matter of great importance as when a language dies there is acultural death and a way of life disappears. The death or shift of a language can be the response of different types of pressure within a community such as social, cultural, economical and military.This essay aims to concentrate in the emergence and death of languages before, during and after the Roman Empire and explain how languages in general ceased to be used or die.
The Roman Empireintroduced the language that we know today as Classical Latin, this language soon spread over the nations that were part of The Roman Empire, it was used mainly by scholars and it became the official language of the Christian Church, documents of Government and law courts.The spoken evolution of Latin showed great changes from its written version, mainly due to the lack of social media and education, tothe point that the language spoken by the people became a total different language to the written one, this new language that emerged from the people was named Vulgar Latin. Vulgar Latin appeared to show as Vernaculars, they started with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D, in different regions of the countries of the Roman Empire which eventually originated in the languages that we know todayas Romance languages. Italian is a language that originated after the fall of the Roman Empire and belongs to the group of the Romance languages as well as French, Spanish or Portuguese. The forefather of these languages is the Latin of the post-colonial period, the one known as Vulgar Latin.
Throughout history Italy has always been a very fragmented country and before the Roman Empire, eachregion in Italy spoke different languages and dialects, there was not a language known as Italian until approximately the 15th or 16th Century. The official language of the Roman Empire was Classical Latin, but the citizens of the different regions of Italy did not speak Classical Latin, as it was the language used mainly by scholars, writers, and the Church. Classical Latin was considered to bevery complex for the average population who had little or no formal education. As the Roman Empire extended over the entire Italian mainland, Italy underwent a long period of linguistic unification. For example in Sicily and the South of Italy, where the main language spoken at the time was Greek, Latin never supplanted Greek, as Greek remained the official tongue.
As Latin spread in Italy,different Vernaculars started appearing in the different regions. These Vernaculars were a form of Vulgar Latin and it differed from region to region. Classical Latin was only used among educated people and remained the official language of the Church. The Vulgar Latin, the language of the people, soon spread and different forms of Vernaculars started to take root in the different regions. As...
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