Alfonso Traina

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211524
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History


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The History of the Latin Language by Friedrich Stolz remains a solid product of historical-comparative linguistics. It has two blind spots, both dependent on its method: it privileges the evolution of Latin over its characteristics; and it sacrifices literary language to the advantage of aspects such as the rustic, the vulgar, and dialects. In the system of morphology and syntax, the bipolarity of Latin is evident, especially in the verb. As far as nouns are concerned, Greek is more modern. The eight cases of Indo-European languages are reduced to five, while Latin continues the ablative and significant traces of locative. Just as the Latin language has substituted Indo-European apophony with its own apophony, so it happened to verbal aspect. The history of the Latin language is not over with the end of the Roman Empire. Uprooted from its historical humus, Latin survives as a superstrate, in a tiresome compromise between the rigidity of original structures and the pressure of new cultural experiences.

Keywords: Latin Language; Friedrich Stolz; linguistics; Latin; morphology; syntax; Indo-European languages; Roman Empire

Article.  7880 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Literature

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