why does everyone think Latin is the oldest language?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by science man, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Where I live people seem to think that everything in linguistics derived from Latin. Why is that? Is it just ignorance?
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  3. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

    Well, I believe Aramaic and Sanskrit predate Latin. I could be wrong though.

    As far as a written language, I believe that would be Sumerian.

    I've heard Sumerian texts, date as far back as 3000 B.C.E.
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  5. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Yes. It is just ignorance. Latin is an important root language for many modern European languages, even those like English that are largely derived from other sources, because their vocabulary and certain Roman fetishism crept in over time because it was the common language of the church.

    That said, English is a Germanic language with a few Latin influences at the end of the day.

    Once you leave Europe, though, the influence of Latin declines rapidly.
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  7. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Depends where you live. IIRC there's quite a lot in modern western european linguistics that derives from latin, but on a global scale it's a lot less significant.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    All of the civilization in the western part of Europe was originally built by the Romans, and for about two thousand years Latin was the language of science, scholarship, church and government. When it finally began to be eclipsed, it was by French, one of its own daughter languages. Then when French was supplanted, hardly more than a mere century ago, it was by English, which by then had assimilated so many French and Latin words that to a casual observer it looks like just another Romance language.

    Of course we know that the Greeks actually founded European civilization, which we in fact call Greco-Roman civilization. But the Romans conquered them and took over their empire. Today only in eastern Europe, where Greece was reborn as the Byzantine Empire (our name for it, not theirs) and the Eastern Orthodox churches are still dominant, do people pay as much (or more) respect to Ancient Greece as to Ancient Rome.
    That depends on where you go. The Western Hemisphere is arguably the new center of Roman civilization and virtually its entire population speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese or French.

    Perhaps you've heard of Latin America?

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  9. Fraggle Rocker I think Pandaemoni is just talking about Latin itself. Not its children.
  10. chaos1956 Banned Banned

    Just because Latin is inbred into other languages doesn't mean that it is any less significant. In fact I think that may speak for the successful ability of the roman empire later catholic church to spread a language across continents. The people who spoke other languages didn't seen to mind picking up latin. Even if you dominate an area by force a language can't be forced into its citizens. Everyone probably thinks it is the oldest because the bible was written in latin and the catholic church stopped using actual latin not all that long ago. Since apparently you have to speak a certain language to pray to the correct god in far too many societies. Greeks/romans also had polytheistic beliefs that our current society could draw the conclusion of "prehistoric or barbaric" as if the greek culture itself is eternal and intwined with latin; making people think latin is the oldest language.
  11. I think you misinturrpeted what I said. I'm all in favor of Latin. I like it more than its children.
  12. so therefore Greek is older than Latin, so does that mean that my claim of ignorance is correct?
    I say that Ancient Greece has more respect than Ancient Rome because out of Ancient Greece came mathematicans who perfected Babylonian math and went beyond it and the only thing came out of Ancient Rome was Latin.
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    And the Roman law, the foundation of laws of Western countries ...
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, many things in Western linguistics were derived from the Latin linguistics.
    In the Western world, the Latin grammar served as the reference for analyzing the individual national languages.
  15. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    Ah, Latin America. The Original name given to it by the natives like Mayans, Aztecs Incas etc. The land of the holy language since dawn of civilization. Latin America it is.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  16. Darkie Registered Senior Member

    The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and partially Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. Latin is just a translation.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Greek civilization is a few hundred years older than Roman civilization, and the scholarly Greek writings are older than the Roman writings, but this does not mean that the Greek language is older than the Latin language. The Greek written language is older than the Latin written language.
    As Signal noted, the Romans gave us much more than their language. Many of the fundamental components of civilization were pioneered by the Romans. Among their most noteworthy contributions:
    • They created a vast network of civil order, in which unarmed citizens carrying valuable goods could travel for hundreds of miles without fear of being robbed; this was a tremendous impetus for the creation of a correspondingly vast network of trade and commerce.
    • They were expert civil engineers; not only did they build the roads upon which that commerce was conducted, but they invented sewers and aqueducts, which made city life healthy.
    • As noted elsewhere, they developed a practical and durable legal system.
    • The religion they adopted and institutionalized, and which monks from their monasteries proselytized far and wide, has become the world's most prominent and influential, especially in the developed world.
    Of course most of these things were also invented independently by other civilizations. But within our Western civilization, which has dominated the world for centuries, they can be traced back to the Romans.
    As has already been noted, no part of the Old or New Testament was composed in Latin. Various parts were written in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. When the Roman Empire made Christianity its state religion in 380CE, the Latin translation of the Bible became the standard.
    The business of the Church is still conducted in Latin; all of its documents and speeches are written in Latin.
    The largest region in the New World that had a name in pre-Columbian times was Tawantinsuyu, the Quechua name for the Inca Empire. There was no name for the continents or the hemisphere, because the Bronze Age people did not have the concepts of continents and hemispheres.

    It wasn't until the early 19th century that the French began distinguishing "Latin America," whose culture was of Spanish, Portuguese and French origin, from "Anglo-Saxon America," the new United States with its British culture. The term was first used by a Chilean diplomat at a conference in Paris in 1856.

    The difference between the common culture of the Germanic language nations of Europe and its Romance language nations (a difference which has subsided in the era of the European Union) is certainly one of the foundations of the differences between the culture of North America and that of Central and South America. But just as important is the fact that the European conquerors south of the Rio Grande intermarried with the natives, forming a mestizo population that carried forward, both overtly and covertly, many native motifs and attitudes. In North America the natives were nearly exterminated, and those who survived were pushed onto reservations; their contribution to the gene pool and the culture of the United States is minimal.

    Furthermore, Bronze Age civilizations were in full flower in South America (Inca) and Central America (Olmec/Maya/Aztec). The gap between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age was not insurmountable, and some of the elements of the now-defunct Western Hemisphere civilizations still survive, perhaps surreptitiously, in Latin America. But in North America the Agricultural Revolution had just begun. Previously nomadic hunter-gatherers had started building permanent farming villages and conducting trade with each other, but it was still the Stone Age (no metallurgy) and they had not quite made the next step up to a genuine civilization. So it was more difficult for any exchange to occur over this much larger cultural gap.

    The distinction between Latin America and Anglo-Saxon America is valid, regardless of the separate issue of the injustice done to the Native Americans by the European occupiers.
  18. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

    i don't
  19. so therefore Greek is older than Latin because was we suspect in history just because a languager wasn't written down doesn't mean it wasn't spoken. After what I've heard about the history of language around here I've come to the conclusion that writing is the piece of the puzzle when developing a language is constructing how it would be written.

    • if that is true it hasn't help up. Even in Italy because of the mafia.
    and what religion was that? Catholic? I know it wasn't Catholicism because I learned that the Roman Empire wasn't Catholic like I originally thought which leads me to asking a question which I will post in the religion sub-forum.
    And what are these you speak of? What you listed above? I don't see how.
    So they came up with Christianity? Ok so that would be before it broke up into branches so which branch would be considered the closest to their version of Christainity?
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm having trouble understanding your sentence. Your grammar and syntax are chaotic and don't make a lot of sense. Please do us all a favor and proofread your writing a little more carefully before you hit the SUBMIT REPLY button! As I mentioned before, Greek and Latin are of approximately the same age, probably within a few hundred years.
    Again, your sentence is difficult to understand because you were in too big a hurry to slow down and make it legible. The technology of writing is a tremendous aid in linguistics because it's the only positive evidence we have of languages that are older than sound recording technology. But writing only goes back a few thousand years. Before that, our work is based entirely on reasoning, comparison and anaylsis.
    On the contrary, it's often postulated that one reason Europe became the center of world commerce, scholarship, science, philosophy, and civilization in general, was the order and stability created by the Roman empire. For all their faults (perhaps most notably slavery, by today's enlightened standards), the region of Europe, Asia and Africa controlled by the Romans was a gigantic transcontinental oasis of law and order and government services, where people of diverse ethnic groups were able to form a cosmopolitan community--compared to most of the rest of the planet at that time.

    There was tremendous backsliding after the collapse of Rome, during the Dark Ages (roughly 500-1500CE) when various other civilizations such as India, China and the Arab/Persian/Ottoman empire may have been more advanced in many important ways. But during and after the Reformation/Renaissance/Enlightenment (roughly 1500-1800), European civilization (which now included America) got back on track rather quickly and regained its leadership position.

    Your citation of the Mafia is not at all a good example of the breakdown of civilization. The Mafia was famous for maintaining order in its own way. People who opposed it were dealt with harshly--just as they were in Rome! But the Mafia was ruthless in maintaining peace and order on its own terms. People could travel long distances, at night, carrying merchandise to other cities for sale, without worrying about being robbed--so long as they paid their "taxes" to the Mafia bosses. The Mafia can arguably be seen as simply an alternative form of government.

    And BTW, casually identifying Sicily as a part of Italy is something you could only get away with in recent times, since the unification of Italy in the 19th century. The Sicilians still have their own proud traditions, and a language of the Italic group that is related to, but not directly descended, from Latin.
    The religion of the Roman Empire was Christianity. It was many centuries before Christianity split into the Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox branches.
    I'm not sure I understand your question. Surely you know that the other five civilizations besides Mesopotamia-Greco-Roman also developed legal codes, systems of science and scholarship, religions, etc.: Egypt, India, China, Inca and Olmec-Maya-Aztec.
    When a body of culture breaks up into separate parts that evolve and go off in their own directions, it isn't always the case that any one of them more closely resembles the original than any other. I promise you that if you ask a member of any of today's plethora of Christian churches which one of them is most faithful to the original principles of their prophet and their holy book, each one of them will say that it is his own.

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    And no, it was not the Romans who "came up with" Christianity. They merely institutionalized it. You really need to read a lot more history if you don't know that Jesus and his original followers were Jewish, not Roman.
  21. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    Have you heard of a region called Jambudvipa and Bharatvarsha within that? Come on, with your linguist prowess you could not have missed that.

    I am sure youn do not even know what Bharatv is. But In will instruct you.

    Jambudvipa roughly corresponds to a large tract of Eurasia and within that is Bharat aka India.

    Jambudvipe Bharatvarshe ...Punjabprante... that is how rites might start.

    Latin America, Anglo-Saxon America, British India, Dutch Africa. Imposed labels all.
  22. prem Registered Senior Member

    I do wish members would stick to the point. It serves them and their own future no purpose nor science. Clear thinking is within the capability of own self and nobody can help clarify that except own self ultimately. My purpose in posting here at all is because it is a sci forum and not to get personal "highs" and gratification from "keyboards"! of all things!

    Tawantinsuyu - The Maya name for the Incas is self descriptive derivable from Sanskrit pANiNIya dhAtu

    tan, tA{}stretch
    vaNT{}to divide
    i, inv, in{}send
    In{}to endeavour; to obtain; to aim at; to wish
    su{}to bring forth; to possess power or supremacy; to permit; deri. su_ta; sutva_; prasutya; so_tum
    sU{}to bring forth as a child; deri. su_ta; so_tavya or savitavya; savya or sa_vya; so_tum or savitum
    yu, yuch{}separate

    The Maya are describing either the breakdown of the civilization or their own origins from long gone ancestors.

    How come so called sanskrit in India supposedly originated in Indo Europe have same elements among the Maya - And if there was PIE And invasion here too who did they invade? or are they going to be other theories of earlier Dravidian settlement here too?

    Then there is news - There are a number of elements in the Maya language with more or less the same relative frequency of occurrence that are from Telugu, Tamil and so called Dravidian languages of India that occurs in Sanskrit right from the veda.

    So what exactly is happening - The Maya are mentioned in the Puranas of Bharath and probably in the Veda as "asura" - The asura are worshippers of - "Venus" called shukrAcarya that is characteristic of the Americas - The Hindus have their preceptor "Jupiter" or Guru.

    Those that think That the ignorant Indians - in America as well as Bharath - India thousands of miles away did not know that the Earth was a globe have another thing coming - Check up "Asura" in Sir Monier Williams Dictionary, 1899 that let the cat out of the bag - that the earlier colonizers of Bharath India were Ignorant - He writes - "Stars of the Southern Hemisphere" - you can miss out such things when he compiled someting like 3,00,000 words trying to desperately understand how come India could be enslaved at and conquered at all. His dictionary - not mine has 928 entries on the science of prosody and metre - Chandas . That was perfected in the veda - I think the so called western scholars that propogate Aryan Invasion etc. and scholars of Sanskrit in the various Universities are aware or they hiding the fact that there is not a single word in any of the veda that begins with "jha" the expirate of (ja) - This, I conclude is not the fact that the Vedic period RuShis did not or could not pronounce when they could tongue twisters but because that did not fit in with either the metre or such words did not convey their inspiration.
  23. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    Prem, your explanations are quite scientific. But where does that leave the "scientific" PIE? Allegedly sceintific PIE is increasingly shown as irrational. If you could shred it beyond recognition, how will it fare in the hands of even harder critics?

    Moral for a few: You cannot claim monopoly of sceince.

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