Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin by Nicholas Ostler

By Nicholas Ostler

“An soaking up, scholarly account of the heritage of the Latin language, from its origins in antiquity to its afterlife in our personal time...Ad Infinitum treats its readers with the glory of Roman citizens.”—The Wall road Journal

The Latin language has been the only consistent within the cultural heritage of the West for greater than millennia. It has outlined the way we exhibit our suggestions, our religion, and our wisdom of the way the realm capabilities, its use echoing on within the legislation codes of part the area, within the terminologies of recent technological know-how, and, until eventually 40 years in the past, within the liturgy of the Catholic Church. In his erudite and enjoyable “biography,” Nicholas Ostler exhibits how and why Latin survived and thrived whilst its creators and different languages failed. initially the dialect of Rome and its surrounds, Latin supplanted its pals to develop into, via conquest and payment, the language of all Italy, after which of Western Europe and North Africa. After the empire collapsed, spoken Latin re-emerged as a number of latest languages, from Portuguese and Spanish within the west to Romanian within the east, whereas a data of Latin lived on because the universal code of ecu proposal, and encouraged the founders of Europe’s New global within the Americas. E pluribus unum. Illuminating the extravaganza of its prior, Nicholas Ostler makes transparent that, in one thousand echoes, Latin lives on, with no end in sight.

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Porzig, W. (1954) Die Gliederung des indogermanischen Sprachgebiets. Heidelberg: Winter. Ringe, D. (2000) ‘Tocharian class II presents and subjunctives and the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European verb’. Tocharian and Indo-European Studies 9, 121– 42. , T. Warnow and A. Taylor (2002) ‘Indo-European and Computational Cladistics’. Transactions of the Philological Society 100, 59–129. qxd 8/9/07 11:22 AM Page 36 36 Latin and Indo-European Rix, H. (1965) ‘Lat iecur, iocineris’ Münchener Studien für Sprachwissenschaft 18, 79–92.

The Faliscan verb ending -fo is clearly exactly the same as Latin -bo, with the -f- rather than -b- the outcome of a ‘voiced aspirate’ *-b h-. This formation is found nowhere else in Italy and represents a significant shared innovation. Voice The PIE verbal system also had a category of voice. As in Latin, there were two voices, and Latin formally continues the inherited opposition. However, the precursor to the Latin passive, termed the PIE mediopassive or middle appears to have been motivated semantically rather than syntactically.

Indeed, the only lexical field where there is convergence comparable to the onomastic developments is religious vocabulary. Here again, Greek influence is of importance. Greek is the source of two divine names which are borrowed across languages: Apólldn, borrowed in Latin (Apollo), Marsian (Apols), Etruscan (Apulu, Aplu, the loss of final -n may suggest a borrowing via another language), and, with different vocalism representing a loan from Doric, rather than Ionic Greek, in Vestinian (Apellune, dative) and Oscan (Appelluneí dative); and HbraclBs in Latin (Hercules), Etruscan (Hercle), Oscan (Herekleís), Paelignian (Herclei) and Vestinian (Herclo).

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