If an ancient Roman woke up today

By JaimeB, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Jun 4, 2010.


Language easiest for a Roman to learn?

French 1 vote(s) 4.2%
Italian 15 vote(s) 62.5%
Portuguese 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Romanian 2 vote(s) 8.3%
Spanish 5 vote(s) 20.8%
Other (specify) 1 vote(s) 4.2%
  1. Gregorius Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Okay, Imprecator, riddle me this. When using a dictionary, we usually look straight ahead or somewhat downward at an acute angle, so why do we "look up" a word? We may look "up and down" the page, but this phrase places even emphasis on both "up" and "down," so why is "up" the one that stuck? Simple clipping perhaps? A few even stranger ones:

    clean up
    mess up
    break up
    write up

    What the heck is "up" doing in any one of these? It adds nothing semantically to what the root verb already expresses.
  2. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    I think that we really need a phrasal etymological dictionary. Does such exist?
  3. simplissimus Member

    Which Romance language is closest to Latin.

    About a month ago, I saw a topic here, asking the forum members which of the Romance languages they felt was closest to Latin. Unfortunately, I cannot find that string any more, so I have had to start this as a new topic to pass on what I recently ran across.

    Apparently there is an “official” answer. Wikipedia’s entry for the Romanian language mentions the following results from a study by Mario Pei.

    “A study done by Italian-American linguist Mario Pei in 1949, which analyzed the evolutionary degree of languages in comparison to their inheritance language (in the case of Romance languages to Latin comparing phonology, inflection, discourse, syntax, vocabulary, and intonation) revealed the following percentages:
    • Sardinian: 8%;
    • Italian: 12%;
    • Spanish: 20%;
    • Romanian: 23.5%;
    • Occitan: 25%;
    • Portuguese: 31%;
    • French: 44%”

    As Forum members concluded, the Romance language that has moved farthest from its Latin ancestor is French. Among the major Romance languages, Italian has stayed closest. However, there are surprises: The Sardinians don’t speak Italian? Romanian is closer to Latin than Portuguese? And what the heck is Occitan?

    The study is cited as: Pei, Mario (1949). Story of Language. ISBN 0397004001.
  4. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    Simplissimus, I joined your post to the original thread.

    If you lose a topic you participated in again, go to User Control Panel/Manage Subscriptions

  5. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Re: Which Romance language is closest to Latin.

    Interesting. Of course the methodological approach to any analysis of this sort is necessarily going to be based to some degree on arbitrary scoring, in terms of how much importance is assigned to each data set (phonology, inflection, syntax, etc.) when comparing them. But the basic order as presented probably isn't too controversial.

    Sardian is often erroneously classified as a dialect of Italian, but it developed separately and independently from it (though of course there are a lot of similarities between the two). The Sardians also speak standard Italian, which means their society is characterized by diglossia, as is common for many regions in Europe.

    You've never heard of Occitan? It's also sometimes called Provençal and Langue d'oc.
  6. Imprecator Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Re: Which Romance language is closest to Latin.

    I honestly wasn't surprised. Romanian is known to have preserved many aspects of Latin grammar that disappeared in the Western Romance languages (a noun-case system, for one). Romance speaking areas isolated in the Medieval Ages, whether by mountains or the sea, developed independently with notable influence from Italian, Spanish, and French beginning only in the early modern age. The unique Sardinian language should therefore be no surprise.


    Read up.
  7. Manus Correctrix QVAE CORRIGIT

    • Civis Illustris
    ‘Up’ in phrasal verbs usually implies a completed result (often creation or destruction). It is particularly common with verbs directly derived from adjectives and nouns, as it provides a way of explicitly marking them as verbs expressing the completion of the concept, e.g. ‘the house is clean’ (merely a plain old adjective) v. ‘the house has been cleaned up’ (our mind is drawn to the activity, and also its completion).

    There are certain vague similarities with the completion particle 了 le in Chinese.
  8. Symposion Member

    Helsingia (Finnia)
    I am not an expert in the history of the latin language. I voted still for Italian. This because I have understood that it is closest to Latin. A lot of Italian words also seem to be closest to the latin words.
  9. Domine Member

    Claremont, CA.
    Italian is the closest to Latin in some ways. However, Spanish is an interesting case. Spanish's verb conjugation is the closest to Latin than Italian will ever be. Spanish also has few archaic verbs that Italian doesn't use - i.e., "comer" and "ir" = "comedere/edere" and "ii". There are plenty of words, too. Spanish syntax/grammar, at times, is almost identical to Latin.

    Latin enunciation:

    Spanish ---> Classical-Latin language ---> Italian

    lengua latina/latin -----lingua Latina / latine--- lingua latina/latino
    hola! ----ave!---- ciao! / salve!
    Buenos dias---bonus dies---buongiorno
    Adios!---vale!----- ciao!
    Si, por favor------ si placet----si, per favore / si, per piacere
    Gracias---- gratias (tibi ago)----grazie
    Perdon! Disculpa! Excusa---- excusa---- scusa
    No entiendo/no comprendo----non intellego/ non comprehendo--- no capisco/no intendo
    Que hora es?-----quota hora est?---Che ora e?
    Salud!------- salutem!----Salute!
    Hablas ingles?------ loquerisne anglice?----parli inglese?
    Quien es? ---- quid es? --- chi e?
    Cuanto cuesta? --- quanti constat? --- quanto costa?
    Quien eres tu? --- quis es tu? --- chi sei tu?
    Vengo de / soy de --- Venio de (ex) --- Vengo di / sono di
    (De) donde vienes? --- unde venis? --- (di) dove vieni?
    Como estas? --- quomodo vales? --- come stai?
    Cual es tu nombre? --- quod nomen tibi est? --- qual e il tuo nome?
    Mi nombre es Antonio --- mihi nomen Antonius est --- mio nome e Antonio
    Te amo --- te amo --- ti amo
    Te quiero --- te diligo -- te voglio

    Watch this video on simple Latin survival phrases:
    We can see the similarities between the following three:

    Pater noster, qui est in coelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra. Panem nostrum cottidianum da nobis hodie et dimitte nobis dedita nostra, sicut nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in temptationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen. -- Latin

    Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu Reino. Hágase tu voluntad, así en la tierra como en el cielo. El pan nuestro de cada día, danosle hoy y perdónanos nuestras deudas, así como nosotros perdonamos a nuestros deudores. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, más líbranos de mal. Amen. --- Spanish

    Padre nostro che sei nei cieli, sia santificato il tuo nome; venga il tuo regno, sia fatta la tua volontà, come in cielo così in terra. Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano, rimetti a noi i nostri debiti, come noi li rimettiamo ai nostri debitori e non ci indurre in tentazione, ma liberaci dal male. Amen. --- Italian

    Note: in Spanish the "Lord's prayer" can be worded with different words but the one added herein is Castilian Spanish.

    Old Latin actually looks a lot like Spanish, especially in verb conjugation. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Latin

    Archaic latin: Manios med fhe fhaked Numasioi
    Classical Latin: Manius me fecit Numerio
    Spanish: Manio(s) me hizo por Numerio
    Italian: Manio mi fece per Numerio


    Archaic latin: quoi honc… sakros esed
    Classical latin: qui hunc… sacer erit
    Spanish: esto...sera santificado/sagrado
    Italian: questo... sarà santificato/sacro
  10. Arca Defectionis Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I had to vote Italian, but really I think Spanish and Portuguese would also be exceptionally easy for a Roman to learn. I think they could learn French, but with some difficulty. If they wanted a close grammatical link, they might as well turn to Slavic languages, but the vocabulary is so different. I don't know much about Romanian but I know it has a fair number of Slavic loanwords.

    Also, for those Romans with knowledge of Greek, I'd guess modern Greek would be as easy as Italian with it's grammatical simplicity.
  11. Domine Member

    Claremont, CA.
    A Roman would find it a lot easier to learn Spanish after Italian. Both Italian and Spanish are almost identical as far as pronunciation and vowels usage goes (a,e,o,u,i). This goes to say the following: I understand written Portuguese and French very well but can't speak them well. Portuguese I can pick up some words when listening whereas French I only pick up a few words.

    How did Spanish remain so close to Latin? This is one of these questions that cannot be answered with complete certainty. However, we still know a few things. First of all, Spain was conquered by the Romans (262 -113 B.C.) when they were at the height of their social and political power under the republic. By Julius Caesar's time (60 -44 B.C.), when Gaul was conquered, a slow decline had already set in. Remember that the first Germanic invasion of northern Italy occurred as early as 104 B.C under the Cimbri (who may have had a Celtic component) and the Teutones, a few years before Julius Caesar was born. Secondly, the aboriginal cultures that the Romans found in Spain (both Iberian and Celtic) were more primitive than those they found in Gaul. The same was true of Britain. Therefore, it was eaiser for Spaniards to make the transition to Romanization than for Gauls. The even more advanced Jewish and Hellenistic peoples of the East never did embrace Romanization. Thirdly, the Romans had some vary famous Latin schools in Baetica (in southern Spain, around Cordoba). Finally. Romanization always took place in areas where there was a lot of settlement by veterans from the Roman Army. Spain was certainly a favorite retirement place for Roman veterans, especially the Costa Brava region (in Catalonia).

    Italian is the closest to Latin as far as vocabulary and pronunciation.
    Spanish is the closest to Latin as far as verb conjugation and syntax.

    Ella siempre cierra la puerta antes que vengan. (Spanish)
    Lei chiude sempre la porta prima di venire. (Italian)
    Ea semper portam claudit antequam vēneant. (Latin)

    La tierra es tu amigo;
    El campo es tu consolador;
    La lluvia lava tus lagrimas;
    El sol y la luna siempre te saludan;
    La granja de arroz espera una victoria.
    Hola, buena criatura!
    Tu limpias el hambre del mundo;
    Tu diriges el mundo a la mesa.
    Los dias largos se llenan de himnos;
    Tu sudor es la felicidad!

    Terra amica tua est;
    Ager consolator tuus est;
    Pluvia lavat lacrimas tuas;
    Sol et luna semper te salutant;
    Victoriam exspectat horreum.
    Salve, creatura bona!
    Famem mundi fugas tu;
    Ad mensam mundum duces.
    Diem longam hymnus replet;
    Sudor tuus fluvius laetitiae est!

    Criatura de letras.
    Tu dulce vida es llena de gracia.
    De tu santa ánima tú escribes.
    Tus palabras dan lumbre a la vida.
    Preciosa poeta, amo tus poemas.
    No puedo vivir sin palabras.
    De tu ánima bebo el agua de paz.
    Tus palabras pintan mi vida.

    Creatura litterarum.
    Vita dulcis tua gratia plena est.
    Ex anima sancta tua scribes.
    Vitae lumen donant verba tua.
    Pulcher poeta, amo poemata tua.
    Sine verba vivere non possum.
    Ex anima tua bibo aquam pacis.
    Vitam meam pingunt verba tua.

    Mi mujer me ama.
    Doy rosas a mi mujer.
    Y sin ti no valgo! No valgo nada sin ti!
    Te amo.

    Mulier mea me amat.
    Muliere rosas do.
    Et sine te non valeo! Non valeo nihil sine te!
    Te amo.

    La mia donna mi ama.
    Do rose alla mia donna.
    E senza te non valgo! Non valgo niente senza te!
    Ti amo.
    Last edited by Domine, Feb 26, 2013

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