Type of Latin

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
You're trying to make me defend claims that I never made. Unless my fingers slipped, you will see that I have referred to Ecclesiastical Latin as being a different idiom, dialect, or unclassical, but never a different language.
The fact is that I’m not sure how you regard Ecclesiastical Latin. (I can even imagine that it’s not a linguistic, but a literary notion.) I won’t say it’s a dialect, so let it be an idiom, whatever it means.

To sum up:
  • Classical Latin and Ecclesiastical Latin are exactly the same language.
  • Ecclesiastical Latin has special religious terminology.
  • Mediaeval religious works differ in style from classical works.
  • Ecclesiastical Latin is often ungrammatical and influences by vernaculars.
I conclude that Ecclesiastical Latin is (Classical) Latin with pecularities. By Classical Latin I don’t mean the style of works, but rather morphology, syntax and vocabulary.

I hope now we are unanimous up to the terminology? :)
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Quasus dixit:
Classical Latin and Ecclesiastical Latin are exactly the same language.
Every bit as much as eighteenth-century British English is the same language as 21st century American English are the same language.

Quasus dixit:
Ecclesiastical Latin has special religious terminology.
Est.

Quasus dixit:
Mediaeval religious works differ in style from classical works.
Very much so.

Quasus dixit:
Ecclesiastical Latin is often ungrammatical and influences by vernaculars.
Here I disagree. I believe that its liberties are perfectly grammatical, but only within the context of Ecclesiastical Latin. As such, a few different rules must be learnt for the Classical standard as opposed to the Ecclesiastical standard.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
Quasus dixit:
Ecclesiastical Latin is often ungrammatical and influences by vernaculars.
Here I disagree. I believe that its liberties are perfectly grammatical, but only within the context of Ecclesiastical Latin. As such, a few different rules must be learnt for the Classical standard as opposed to the Ecclesiastical standard.
I’ve heard of corrupt Latin, but never of Ecclesiastical standard. Tell me more. :p

BTW, I read some fragments from 19th and 20th century encyclicals and I didn’t notice anything ungrammatical.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Quasus dixit:
I’ve heard of corrupt Latin, but never of Ecclesiastical standard. Tell me more. :p
Naturally, if any Catholic university uses the Vulgate or any other Ecclesiastical literature, with their apparent imperfections, to teach Latin without ever questioning the validity of it, must needs treat it as a standard.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
Quasus dixit:
I’ve heard of corrupt Latin, but never of Ecclesiastical standard. Tell me more. :p
Naturally, if any Catholic university uses the Vulgate or any other Ecclesiastical literature, with their apparent imperfections, to teach Latin without ever questioning the validity of it, must needs treat it as a standard.
No-no. If you say there is a standard, it should be documented. There must be grammar references similar to those that we use for Classical Latin.

I’ve read a few chapters from the New Testament, and I’d say they were in perfect Latin. And I guess recent editions of the Vulgate are more and more perfect with respect to the language. I do know there are drawbacks in it, but why should they necessarily be considered standard? Just comment them to the students.

The same with e. g. Augustinus. Surely his Latin is classical, even though not devoid of imperfections.

I don’t know if any mediaeval religious works with rather corrupt grammar are used as sample texts in education. Anyway, there are two possibilities. Either the professor can say, ‘Children, quod-clauses after verba sentiendi are all right.’ But then he must have a grammar reference so as to know what is all right and what is not, and I think there is no such grammar reference, since ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’ is not strandartised. Or the professor can say, ‘Children, quod-clauses after verba sentiendi are not all right, but they occur quite often in that period’, in fact admitting that we face no standard, but a corrupt language on a large scale.

BTW, if ever there was an ‘Ecclesiastic standard’, there must have been an ‘Ecclesiastic revolution’. How comes that the church does not use its own standard any longer?
 

Nooj

Civis Illustris
Either the professor can say, ‘Children, quod-clauses after verba sentiendi are all right.’ But then he must have a grammar reference so as to know what is all right and what is not
A Mandarin Chinese speaker has access to several books written by English speakers. From his reading, he notices that a lot of them use the pronoun they as a singular gender neutral pronoun. e.g. whoever is in there, they better come out!

Even though he has no prescriptive grammar books to tell him what is 'right' or 'wrong', he can draw a hypothesis. Since these English speakers use this construction and they come from different places and from different times, they are unlikely to be making exactly the same grammatical mistake in their native dialects of English. The most likely conclusion is that using they as a gender neutral singular pronoun is grammatical.

Same with Medieval Latin.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Whatever it can be, it’s no standard. And in principle there can be no standard, since apparently there is no widespread system. We face a set of misusus, more or less common. And this is mostly typical of the Middle Ages. Not only clergy’s Latin was corrupt at that time, but worldly Latin as well. Since the Renaissance not only worldly Latin improved, but church Latin as well.
 

Nooj

Civis Illustris
Medieval Latin had no standard and wasn't a standard. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a distinct stage of the Latin language. Recent Latin isn't standardised at all, but I can tell that it's Recent Latin and not Ciceronian or Caesarian Latin.

I also don't believe in standards, let alone 'The Standard'. The Latinists during the Middle Ages clearly understood each other and that's good enough for me. Corrupt Latin? According to whom? The last native speakers of Latin were dust when people were communicating in Medieval Latin. Latin was the possession of the people using it, not some dead Roman who happened to standardise the ancient form of the language.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nooj dixit:
Medieval Latin had no standard and wasn't a standard. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a distinct stage of the Latin language. Recent Latin isn't standardised at all, but I can tell that it's Recent Latin and not Ciceronian or Caesarian Latin.
Nikolaos talks of an ‘idiom’, you talk of a ‘stage’. This all is so vague that I can hardly understand your point. I claim that it’s the same language with pecularities that I’ve listed above (where ‘ungrammatical’ means ‘ungrammatical from the point of view of classical language’). Perhaps we assert the same?

I wonder how you tell Recent Latin from Ciceronian. That is which are essential features of Recent Latin that differ it from Classical.

Nooj dixit:
Corrupt Latin? According to whom? The last native speakers of Latin were dust when people were communicating in Medieval Latin.
Vulgar Latin speakers are irrelevant.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
It occurred to me to take a look in Wikipedia.
Ecclesiastical Latin (sometimes called Liturgical or Church Latin) is the Latin used by the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in all periods for ecclesiastical purposes. Having developed as a style of Late Latin called sermo humilis, used to preach and otherwise communicate to the people in ordinary language, it can be distinguished from Classical Latin by some lexical variations, a simplified syntax in some cases, and, commonly, in modern times, an Italianate pronunciation. It appears in various contexts, including theological works, liturgical rites, and dogmatic proclamations, and in various styles: as syntactically simple as in the Vulgate, as hieratic as in the Roman Canon of the Mass, as terse and technical as the language of Aquinas' Summa Theologica, and as Ciceronian as in Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter Fides et Ratio.
It seems to me that the term ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’ is extralinguistic. I’d say it refers to any Latin writings of the Church in whatever sort of language they are written.
 

Nooj

Civis Illustris
Quasus dixit:
Nikolaos talks of an ‘idiom’, you talk of a ‘stage’. This all is so vague that I can hardly understand your point. I claim that it’s the same language with pecularities that I’ve listed above (where ‘ungrammatical’ means ‘ungrammatical from the point of view of classical language’). Perhaps we assert the same?
It's meaningful to speak of different stages of the Latin language and it's useful to do so as well, in the same way that we split the English language into Old English, Middle English and Modern English. Medieval Latin is Latin, but it is a different diachronic state of the language. If we agree on that, then we have no cause for disagreement.

Quasus dixit:
I wonder how you tell Recent Latin from Ciceronian. That is which are essential features of Recent Latin that differ it from Classical.
For example, in the Litterae Diurnae forum, this post:

Libri sunt boni si vides illos ut litteratura destinata pro liberis.

You can quite clearly tell that there's an English substratum here.

The books are good if you see them as literature intended for children.

In my opinion, Recent Latin is characterised by profound phonological/lexical/semantic/syntactical/all round grammatical influences by the current living languages and context today. It's Recent not only because we're using it in the 21st century, but because the language itself has been made Recent.

I've been reading scholarly works on Latin word order and particles. It's just emphasised to me that most users of Latin don't use Latin as the Romans used to. Learners of Recent Latin do so entirely off grammars and books and so the current language really owes all of its structure to a select group of pedagogical books from the 19th century onwards. It's no surprise then that if a grammar from the 20th century says autem means 'but', that people will start to use it as if it's equivalent to 'but'. But Caroline Kroon, a linguist says that autem isn't like sed, but it's actually a marker of thematic discontinuity, marking the boundaries between one part of the text from the other. You could paraphrase it more accurately as 'now then' or 'so what about...?' or use intonation to indicate it. It may not be translatable at all.

Why should we trust those grammars and those 19th century scholars? Why is Allen and Greenbough's Latin the standard one, especially when they could have been wrong?
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Quasus dixit:
No-no. If you say there is a standard, it should be documented. There must be grammar references similar to those that we use for Classical Latin.
From a cursory search (I'm sure that a deeper search would yield more):

http://www.franciscan-archive.org/latin.html
http://www.amazon.com/Primer-Ecclesiast ... 426&sr=8-1
http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Eccles ... 426&sr=8-3
http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Eccl ... 426&sr=8-7
http://www.amazon.com/Consecrated-Phras ... 26&sr=8-11
http://www.amazon.com/descriptive-eccle ... 26&sr=8-15
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
I expect the most part of you links to lead to books with the same grammar as we study (declensions, conjugations) and with Catholic texts instead of Caesar. Still I wonder what is the content of A descriptive grammar of ecclesiastical Latin based on modern structural analysis.

Having read the Wikipaedia article, I’ll stick to the definition ‘A is written in Ecclesiastic latin if A is an excerpt from a Catholic work in Latin’. So I’ll regard it as a purely literary term that has nothing to do with language. After all, I don’t think I can learn a different grammar form John Paul II’s writings.

The thing with Ecclesiastical Latin seems to me clear now.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Quasus dixit:
I expect the most part of you links to lead to books with the same grammar as we study (declensions, conjugations) and with Catholic texts instead of Caesar.
Not so, and again, not so.

Surely you wouldn't call those errors, or classical?
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
Surely you wouldn't call those errors, or classical?
I’ll call those deviations from classical standard.

But again: from now on I shall consider ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’ as a kind of literature, not as a kind of a language. I’m sure 20th century encyclicals don’t have neither Greek periphrastic tenses nor non-classical clauses; yet they are Ecclesiastical Latin.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Quasus dixit:
I’ll call those deviations from classical standard.
Which are, at least in the second case, taught as if they were standard! I'm sure those aren't the only examples, but they were the only ones I cared to look for. I have found a book that teaches this Ecclesiastical grammar as a set of rules rather than a set of deviations, as you have requested, at nihil valet?
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
Quasus dixit:
I’ll call those deviations from classical standard.
Which are, at least in the second case, taught as if they were standard! I'm sure those aren't the only examples, but they were the only ones I cared to look for. I have found a book that teaches this Ecclesiastical grammar as a set of rules rather than a set of deviations, as you have requested, at nihil valet?
Ecclesiastical Latin has no grammar, since it isn’t a language but a corpus of Catholic works. It is true that some of these works are written in Medieval Latin, but this is neither necessary nor sufficient. There are manuals of Medieval Latin (I’ve got one, too) that list its pecularities, but these pecularities don’t form a system in general (they depend on time, writer’s educational level, country) and are not considered standard even by the Catholic Church since you are not likely to find them in modern Vatican documents.
 

Manus Correctrix

QVAE CORRIGIT
Nikolaos dixit:
Quasus dixit:
I expect the most part of you links to lead to books with the same grammar as we study (declensions, conjugations) and with Catholic texts instead of Caesar.
Not so, and again, not so.

Surely you wouldn't call those errors, or classical?
I’ve just been reading a bit of the Pope’s writings in Latin (or translated into Latin for him), and puto (for example) always seems to go with AcI, not quod/quia clauses. Those grammar books seem to be describing the aberrant features of the Vulgate, rather than giving those structures that one must use in order to be writing ‘Ecclesiastical Latin’. When ecclesiastical types are careful, they seem to revert to the Classical standard as far as possible.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
I wonder who actually reads those encyclicals in toto. We just skim.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
When I have more spare time, I think I’ll check older and newer editions of Vulgata. They seem to get rid of unclassical language.
 
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