A Natural History of Latin

A Natural History of Latin

by Tore Janson
     
 

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Beginning in Rome around 600 BC, Latin became the language of the civilized world and remained so for more than two millennia. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are among its progeny and it provides the international vocabulary of law and life science. No known language, including English - itself enriched by Latin words and phrases - has achieved such success… See more details below

Overview

Beginning in Rome around 600 BC, Latin became the language of the civilized world and remained so for more than two millennia. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are among its progeny and it provides the international vocabulary of law and life science. No known language, including English - itself enriched by Latin words and phrases - has achieved such success and longevity. Tore Janson tells its history from origins to present. Brilliantly conceived and written with the same
light touch as his bestselling history of languages, A Natural History of Latin is a masterpiece of adroit synthesis.

The author charts the expansion of Latin in the classical world, its renewed importance in the Middle Ages, and its survival into modern times. He shows how spoken and written Latin evolved in different places and its central role in European history and culture. He ends with a concise Latin grammar and lists of Latin words and phrases still in common use.

Considered elitist and irrelevant in the second half of the twentieth century and often even banned from schools, Latin is now enjoying a huge revival of interest across Europe, the UK, and the USA. Tore Janson offers persuasive arguments for its value and gives direct access to its fascinating worlds, past and present.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...valuable is the enthusiasm [Janson] directs to the history of Latin words and the variety of their uses (with attention even to such divagations as the "Latin" spells in the Harry Potter books). The translators do a fine job of Anglicizing both the language and the cultural assumptions...Recommended"--CHOICE

"An authoritative introduction to arguably the most influential language of all time."--Chicago Tribune

"Janson...comes not to praise the Romans but instead the lingua Latina, whose evolution he traces from its origin some 2,700 years ago as a local language to its apotheosis as the official language of the Roman Empire--and later, when it was no longer anyone's native tongue, of the victorious Christian religion--to an exercise forced upon schoolchildren. He also offers an enthusiastic appreciation of Latin's role, for the better part of yet another millennium, as the language of enlightened Europeans from Chaucer and Abelard to Erasmus, Galileo, Newton, and Rene 'Cogito, ergo sum' Descartes. Nor does he fail to point out Latin's enduring place in medicine, botany, and zoology--or its more recent uses, from Oscar Wilde's 'De Profundis' to the first names of J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' characters, including Albus ('White') Dumbledore."--Boston Globe

"In the hands of a teacher introducing students to Latin, the classics, or to general themes in Western history, this book could be very useful. ... May the Latin is Important movement, assisted by books like Janson's, prosper."--Books & Culture

"It is hard to imagine how this book could be improved. ...from now on, if anyone who has never studied Latin asks me to recommend a short, readable book in which they can find out about the history of Latin and get a feel for the grammar, I will be able to answer unhesitatingly."--Linguist List 16.965

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191622656
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
01/25/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,315,675
File size:
4 MB

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