historical linguistics

5 Annoying Latin “Errors” from an Ancient List That Predicted Latin’s Descendants

allthingslinguistic:

Arika Okrent has a great list on Mental Floss about how the languages we speak today are really just some ancient “25 Common Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Bad” post, a few centuries later.

Sometime around the 7th century, a grammarian got fed up and started collecting all the annoying mistakes that people kept making in Latin. He wrote them up in the Appendix Probi, a straightforward list of the “say this, not that” variety. The most interesting thing about the Appendix Probi is not that it shows that people have always been making usage errors, but that the errors people made in Latin show the specific ways that Latin turned into its descendants, the Romance languages, including Spanish, French, and Italian.

The advice in the Appendix is not so different from what you might see on the same kind of lists for English today. Where our lists warn us to use “dependent not dependant” and “February not Febuary,” the Appendix tells the Late Antiquity Era Latin user that it’s “aquaeductus non aquiductus” and “Februarius non Febrarius.” Despite that advice, the syllable that Latin speakers kept leaving out of Februarius stayed left out in what eventually became Spanish (Febrero), French (Février), and Italian (Febbraio).

Read the whole thing.

Correctness is in the eye of the beholder. 

(See also this book on how Latin became the Romance languages.)

best 

5 Annoying Latin “Errors” from an Ancient List That Predicted Latin’s Descendants

thelingspace:

What did our languages sound like before we had written records? How can we work that out? In this week’s episode, we talk about historical reconstruction of languages: what methods we can use to rebuild long-dead systems, what groupings of languages we can put together using these techniques, and if there’s a limit to how far back we can go.

We’ve wanted to do this topic for a long time, and with the coming of appropriate attire, we went for it. Looking forward to seeing what people have to say!

Guys this episode turned out super great and I’m really excited about it! HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION IS SO MUCH FUN. Go go!