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E. I.Smith

The Language of Ancient Rome

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It has always fascinated me that while the Roman Empire lasted (in unison) from 27 B.C. - A.D. 395, that the language prevalent in Rome, namely Latin, has remained so pervasive. It would appear to me, that English, which has numerous elements of Latin in it, (up to 80% Latin), remains the most universally spoken language that there is. In addition, it would appear to me, that the reason for this, is the easily acquired sounds and associations associated with the English language. Furthermore, the Romance languages of Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and Italian appear to be the second languages most sought after by students in the United States.

Edited by E. I.Smith

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Actually latin was not so pervasive. Italy had something like twenty languages lasting in regional use well into the imperial period, and quite possibly, in family use for longer still. The provincialisation of Italy that occurred during the imperial period fostered the use of latin, mostly via masculine vocational demands. For the city of Rome, latin was the language to be spoken if one wanted to impress your betters, but then, we only have clues to how educated latin was spoken, whereas the less precise slang and banter of common people is almostĀ impossible to discern unless you depend on graffiti - which luckily for us the Romans indulged quite a lot, and yes, they were a bit obsessed with sexual prowess :D

Of course it ought to be noted that greek was the lnigua franca of the empire as a whole, not Latin.

Edited by caldrail

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