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Latin Alive


  • 7 maps
  • Page extent: 370 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.54 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 470.9
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PA2057 .S65 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Latin language--History
    • Latin language--Influence on Romance
    • Latin language--Influence on English
    • Romance languages--History

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521734189)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$27.99 (P)

In Latin Alive, Joseph Solodow tells the story of how Latin developed into modern French, Spanish, and Italian, and deeply affected English as well. Offering a gripping narrative of language change, Solodow charts Latin’s course from classical times to the modern era, with focus on the first millennium of the Common Era. Though the Romance languages evolved directly from Latin, Solodow shows how every important feature of Latin’s evolution is also reflected in English. His story includes scores of intriguing etymologies, along with many concrete examples of texts, studies, scholars, anecdotes, and historical events; observations on language; and more. Written with crystalline clarity, this is the first book to tell the story of the Romance languages for the general reader and to illustrate so amply Latin’s many-sided survival in English as well.


1. Introduction: is English a cousin to the Romance languages?; Part I. Latin: 2. The career of Latin, I: from earliest times to the height of empire; 3. The career of Latin, II: the empire succeeded by barbarian kingdoms; 4. Latin at work, I: nature of the language; names and qualities; pronunciation; 5. Latin at work, II: actions and states; 6. Vulgar Latin; Part II. The Romance Vocabulary: 7. The lexicon in general; shifts in the meaning of words; 8. Changes in the form of words; 9. When words collide: conflict and resolution in the lexicon; 10. Immigrants: non-Latin words in the Romance languages; Part III. Proto-Romance, or What the Languages Share: 11. The sound of proto-Romance; 12. The noun in proto-Romance; 13. The verb in proto-Romance; Part IV. Earliest Texts and Future Directions, or Where the Languages Diverge: 14. French; 15. Italian; 16. Spanish.


"Joseph Solodow, lecturer in Classics at Yale, joins the expanding ranks of scholars writing accessible histories of Latin, with his Latin Alive...the readers will be attracted by the mixture of perspectives, and the majority of readers will learn details they had not realized before....We can all read it with pleasure. " --BMCR

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