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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Discussion Details

Title: Latin Etymology
Submitter: Lynn Guindon
Description: It is basic to comparative Indo-European linguistics that one use the
oldest attested forms from any language family to establish relatedness
between languages and units from those languages, such as words.
Therefore, the evidence one wants when discussing Latin derivatives of
Indo-European is written evidence from the oldest states of languages
related to Latin. Rather than using Modern English words, for instance,
Gothic is preferred to demonstrate the relationship between Latin (or
rather the Italic branch of IE) and the Germanic family. The reasons one
uses the oldest attested forms are various, but one reason is that it is
best to compare languages of similar antiquity, and another is that using
the oldest forms available avoids needless complications to comparisons
created by analogical and sociological changes, so that one can focus as
much as possible on what are clearly purely phonological changes.
Date Posted: 15-Jun-2010
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Language Specialty: Latin Indo-European
LL Issue: 21.2604
Posted: 15-Jun-2010

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