If the origin of most languages is Latin, what is the origin of Latin?

Latin is not the ancestor to all languages. Rather, all world languages descend from Flemish, a language spoken around Belgium and the Netherlands. Its dialects include Dutch, Frisian, German, Russian, and Japanese.

I’m kidding, if you haven’t guessed.

The idea that any known language is the ancestor of all or even most other languages is considered absurd by most (if not all) linguists. If there was ever a single original language, it’s long dead: humans have been speaking languages for at least 50 000 years, and perhaps as many as 150 000.

Languages change quite quickly on a historical scale. The rate at which they change varies extremely, giving us languages like Icelandic and Persian, whose speakers can easily read poetry from 1000 years ago, to languages with taboo systems, which change rapidly.

However, there’s a general rule that says that the speaker of a language could not understand a speaker of the same language from a thousand years ago. As an example, try to read the following English paragraph:

Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.

Those are the opening lines to Beowulf, a poem written in English sometime between 800 and 1000 AD. It’s so different from the English we speak now that it’s considered a separate language, Old English.

We have to understand how languages change to understand how they’re related, but they change so quickly (as shown above) that it’s only possible to see which languages are related to about 5000 years in the past, depending on the language family. The Uralic (Finnish, Hungarian) and Indo-European (English, Sanskrit, Latin) families might be related, but if they were, it’s been so long since they split that we can’t tell if they are or not.

In other words, there is absolutely no way we could ever know what the language all other languages are descended from was like, or if there even was one at all. It’s just been too long.

But we can tell that English, Sanskrit, Russian, and Latin are related. None of the above came from another; they all share a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European.

We can also tell that Latin, Japanese, Finnish, and Arabic share no patterns of change, so they aren’t related - or, if they are, we have no way of telling, so we say that they probably aren’t.

So to answer the other half of your question, Latin comes from Old Italic, which comes from Proto-Italic, which comes from Proto-Indo-European. English, on the other hand, comes from Old English, which comes from Proto-Germanic, which also comes from Proto-Indo-European.

Latin and English are related, but English does not come from Latin. We are absolutely sure about this, since we have records of both Old English and Classical Latin from around the same time period.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Do you think English and Latin still have quite a lot in common?

#Culture #History #language #Quora


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Wendy Emlinger
Looked up the translation of the Old English phrase. Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, Listen! We of the Spear-Danes in days of yore, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, Of those folk-kings the glory have heard, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. How those noblemen brave-things did.
Oct 30, 2019 4:34PM
garrett scott
I got a much more understandable information checking for Indo European family tree on the internet
Oct 19, 2020 6:18PM
Joe Mangan
Siegfried Proslmeyr, Welsh is Celtic but not Gaelic. Celtic languages: Gaelic: Manx, Scottish Gaelic and Irish ( not "Gaelic", Irish as Shakespeare called it. That should be good enough for everybody.) Brythonic: Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
Sep 24, 2020 6:30PM
Joe Mangan
Darlene Davidson, borrowings.
Sep 24, 2020 5:57PM
Vaughan Smith
How languages change: consider how, today, people use the words "awesome," "amazing" and many other distortions. They routinely say things are available "for free," they almost universally use an inverted comma for plurals ("plural's"), and many other abuses. A lot of it is American. Personally, I find it all distressing but perhaps it is merely the evolution of the language.
Jun 15, 2020 8:07PM
Donald McBurney
Jane Ayres, the latin mostly came from french.the main roots of english are anglo-saxon[german] and french.meat on the table,bifteck and porc while live animals came from german and you have pig ,swine cow etc.
Apr 15, 2020 5:09PM
Now I am completely confused. Interesting article. Thank you.
Apr 10, 2020 1:19AM
Yvette aponte
French comes from Latin just like Spanish and portugués Jane Ayres,
Apr 2, 2020 4:58PM
Jane Ayres
Many English words do come from Latin but not from the Romans. After the Norman conquest, ecclesiastical Latin became widespread so that would be the for runner of many of our words. Many other have German or French Pork form Porcus...Latin for pig Swine from Schwein...German for pig Knife from French - Canif (pen knife) Scissors from Latin = secare
Mar 24, 2020 6:27PM
Nikki Proctor
I am so glad I didn't take the first part of this quiry as gospel as I just couldn't accept that Japanese was one of the included original languages so went on to do my own research. This is a very interesting topic - Linguistics
Mar 12, 2020 4:17AM
Bobbie May
We ‘borrowed’ and adapted words from Latin sources when the Romans invaded 2000 years ago and borrowed them again in slightly different form when the Normans invaded 1000 years later. However, the English language is generally Germanic, with Old Norse and other such chucked in for good measure and because our language is no longer inflected, it was able to absorb the other languages quite painlessly, giving it twice the vocabulary of any other European language and adding many nuances of meaning.
Feb 13, 2020 5:36PM
Siegfried Proslmeyr
Even the word ‘England’ is derived from the German, as Engel is the German word for Angel, similarity here, so therefore England means land of Angels,
Jan 5, 2020 10:22PM
Siegfried Proslmeyr
That’s the old Gaelic language still spoken in Wales, and it’s not English, the English people speak today is related to German, when the Sax from Western Germany invaded the British isles they also took their language with them.
Jan 5, 2020 7:43PM
Charles J. Russell III
It’s unbelievable how languages change
Jan 5, 2020 6:21PM
Flyingtigers nunn
the old English language added about 10,000 words to it's vocabulary after the Norman conquest in 1066.
Nov 18, 2019 10:07PM

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