« ZurückWeiter »
general ignorance that already prevailed relative to the construction of the Latin ; St. Gregory the Great declares that he cares little about solecisms and barbarisms ; Gregory of Tours claims the indulgence of the reader for having in style and words transgressed the rules of grammar, with which he
was not well acquainted-non sum imbutus ; the oaths of Charles the Bald and Louis the German show us the Latin just expiring ; the religious writers of the seventh century praise those bishops who can speak the Latin with purity; and the councils of the ninth century enjoin the bishops to preach in the rustic Roman language.
It was therefore from the seventh to the ninth century, between those two precise periods, that the Latin was metamorphosed into Roman of different shades and different accents, according to the provinces in which it was spoken. The correct Latin, which re
appears in the historians and writers com, mencing with the reign of Charlemagne, is
no longer the spoken Latin but the learnt Latin. The word Latin soon signified nothing more than the Roman or Romance language, and was afterwards used to express language
in general : " les oiseaux chantent leur LATIN.'
This civilized language, the offspring of a barbarous language, differs in its elements from a barbarous language emanating from a civilized language. The first must be more original, because it has been created by itself, and has merely developed its
the second—the barbarous language, grafted upon a civilized language, loses its natural sap, and bears foreign fruit.
Such is the Latin with reference to the barbarous idiom which gave birth to it; such are the modern languages of Latin Europe with reference to the polished language from which they are derived. A living language springing from a living language continues its life; a living language formed from a dead language is in some degree affected by the death of its mother ; it retains a number of words which are also dead, ard which no longer convey the perceptions of existence, any more than silence expresses sound.
Was there, towards the conclusion of the life of the Latin language, an idiom of transition between it and the modern dialects, an idiom in general use on this side of the
Alps and of the Rhine ? Was the rustic Roman language, so frequently mentioned in the councils of the ninth century, that Roman, that Provençal, language spoken in the south of France ? Was the Provençal the Catalan, and was it formed at the court of the Counts of Barcelona ? Did the Roman of the north of the Loire, the Walloon Roman, Roman of the Trouvères, which became the French, precede the Roman of the south of the Loire or the Roman of the Troubadours ? Did the language of Oc and the language of Oil borrow the subjects of their songs and their stories from Armorican lays and from Gaelic lays ? Here is matter for a controversy that may last till the moment when the learned work of M. Fauriel shall throw light on this obscure subject.
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE,
DIVIDED INTO FIVE EPOCHS.'
Among the languages formed from the Latin, I reckon the English language, though it has a double origin, but I shall show that, from the Norman conquest till the reign of the first Tudor, the Franco-Roman language predominated, and that, in the modern English language, an immense quantity of Latin and French words have remained incorporated with the new idiom.
The rustic Roman language was divided then into two branches : the language of Oc and the language of Oil. When the Normans had
had possessed themselves of the province to which they have left their name, they learned the language of Oil ; . it was spoken at Rouen, but Danish was used at