The Triumph of Vulgar Latin (capítulo 4 de "The Story of Latin and the Romance Languages", por Mario Pei

  Vulgar Latin: also known, depending on historical factors, as Popular Latin, Folk Latin, Low Latin and Medieval Latin. Classical Latin variations: sermo rusticus sermo urbanus sermo plebeius sermo cotidianus Coexistence or lower and upper class language: Vulgar Latin ran parallel to the development of Archaic, Pre-Classical, Classical, PostClassical and the centuries following the fall of the empire. Some say that when Roman society was basically agricultural and military, and small in size, Latin may have been only one language. Others say class split began in the Pre-Classic period, with the Punic wars, with a Vulgar variety coexisting with Classical Latin and becoming the most widely spoken variety around 400 a. D. Other authors use Vulgar Latin to refer to the language that emerged after the invasions, and call the period from 400 to 800 a. D. "the Vulgar Latin period", and claim that there were almost no differences between the languages spoken in Spain, Gaul and Italy. By the 1st. century b. C., Cicero uses barbarismus instead of rusticitas (when some word is badly uttered). A century later, Quintilian says: aliud esse latine loqui, aliud grammaticalice (it's one thing to speak latin, something else to speak grammatically). Appendix Probi: Probus created an appendix to one of his grammar essays, in which he listed over 200 words he thought were misused, listing "correct" and "incorrect" forms. columna, non colomna coquens, non cocens calida, non calda sibilus, non sifilus olim, non oli mensa, non mesa Augustine, towards the end of the 4th century, uses ossum instead of os (bone), so that it may not be confused with os (mouth). Evidence of a lack of distinction in popular language between the ǒ of ǒs and ǒssis and the ō of ō and ōris. In the 5th century, Consentius states that Gallo-Romans pronounce the long i like the long e, or shorten the ll, using vēlla or vila instead of villa. 7th or 8th century Glosses of Reicheneau, which lists words that had become obsolete and tries to define them: transmigrat - de loco in loco vadit, sexagenarius - qui LX habet, and oppidis - castellis vel civitatibus. Pagan and Christian inscriptions appear on tombstones during the many centuries that both paganism and Christianity coexisted, up until the year 700. The graffiti of Pompeii antedate all Christian and most pagan inscriptions. Forms such as ama, valia, peria are found there for amat, valeat, pereat. "Abiat Venere Bompeiiana iratam qui hoc laeserit" / "Habeat Venerem Pompeiianam iratam qui hoc laeserit".

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From all these inscriptional evidences, it can be concluded that: o Up until the beginning of the 8th century the language is still Latin (however incorrectly used) o It is fairly uniform throughout the Western part of the Empire, and shows features that later become universal in Romance languages o Inscriptions show features that will eventually become characeristic of the future Romance language of the region.

The Triumph of Vulgar Latin (capítulo 4 de "The Story of Latin and the Romance Languages", por Mario Pei)
 The features displayed by Vulgar Latin writings are especially interesting when the writer confesses he is not a scholar and ignores grammar and writes the same way that he speaks, such as Gregory of Tours (6th century). A comparison of his language with that of Pope Gregory and Isidore of Seville (both contemporaries) is revealing. o Gregory of Tours: spectante matri meae instead of spectanti matre mea, omnes populus instead of omnis populus, Victuriam instead of Victoriam, and omnia to mean "all things" (It. ogna). Mulierem clamare fecit is a clear precursor of Romance constructions. Vestra utilitas is a precursor of vuestra merced, vostra signoria and Vossia. o Isidore of Seville, in contrast shows a very classical use of the language, along with Pope Gregory. Most original writing of the period was done by people who were trained in the Classical Latin that was still official throughout the western Roman world, so it shows relatively little Vulgar influence, especially in legal formulas. However, there are interesting traces of the Vulgar language in legal (and other) documents. Evidence shows that throughout the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries there was still substantial unity both in the written and spoken languages of the regions that later became France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, with a few characteristic local uses of words, idioms and intonations. However, there is a trend toward change, with phenomena that point in a general Romance direction rather than toward any specific Romance language. Certain traits that appear in a country later show up in another. Universal phenomena: syncopation of unstressed vowels, confusion of final vowels, merger of certain stressed vowels, occasional voicing of intervocalic consonants, palatalization where velar consonants (c, g) are followed by the front vowels e and i, or where a Latin e or i turns into a y-glide that affects the preceding consonant. All these phenomena seem linked to the disappearance of Classical accent and the reinforcement of he popular accent, which thus emerges as the primary source of linguistic sound change. Other phenomena (loss of final m, loss of final s, loss of initial h, disappearance of the n before a s) are a continuation of what happened earlier, not only in Classical, but even in Pre-Classical times. Invasions of the Empire and Christianization may be the reasons why the popular stress accent triumphed. Some say that, along with the earlier Vulgar Latin of common popular use, there was a Christian Latin, which was the common tongue of conversion, characterised by a very specific vocabulary usage. Several factors affected the unity of the language and produced new, different languages which reflected new, separate national consciousness and entities.

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