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Is English a Romance language?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2016 at 00:54
Because language trees are not done by degrees.  A language tree is like a map, it is good for somethings, but it does not give the full story.  Language trees are modeled on trees, in general limbs of a tree don't grow apart and then back together.  You are not wrong that there is an influence of French on English, it is just that the use of a language tree doesn't really work in modeling that influence, nor does it model the influence of Hindi on English (which is probably bigger in India) or Spanish, or other languages.  Unlike French, English is relatively open to influences, whereas Quebec won't allow McDonald's use of an apostrophe, because that is English, and they're French.  I have heard that the French establishment rejects the name, "Sandwich," and instead wants people to use the French equivalent of "something between two slices of bread."  Which I am sure sounds nice in French, but is more linguistically cumbersome.

Again I would suggest looking at John McWhorter, I don't think of the priority on grammar as being right, but rather right now.  That's where linguistics is right now.  However, If you can build a _better_ mousetrap, they'll come running to your door.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2016 at 02:43
Good answer.  A language tree is like a map, it is good for somethings, but it does not give the full story.
I think this is all I'm trying to say in OP.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2016 at 02:54
And I want to add to that. I am not interested in the official family classes. I want to classify the true language families and tie them together in their historical roots.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2016 at 12:29
Gordon-

I don't know what you mean by "the true language families and tie them together in their historical routes".

As far as I know, all west European languages originated with the Indo European and were varied according to the needs of the individual countries. But you can't call one a Romance Language and another Indo European-they're two entirely different things.
"Romance languages Indo-European languages that evolved from Latin. They include ItalianFrenchSpanishPortugueseRomanianCatalan, Provençal, and Romansh (a language spoken in parts of Switzerland)." from www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Romance_languages.aspx



I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2016 at 00:40
You can slice it a different way, but whatever you do, you have to slice it.  "language family" is an abstract concept which is "imposed" on the mass of languages.  It is a very powerful idea, but there
are no firm boundaries to it.  For example is coup de etat a French term or an English term? hacienda?
Livin' the vida loca?  matrix, matrices.  chutney, These words/ terms live on the borders, depending on how you slice it, they could be one or the other, or both.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2016 at 02:36
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

You can slice it a different way, but whatever you do, you have to slice it.  "language family" is an abstract concept which is "imposed" on the mass of languages.  It is a very powerful idea, but there are no firm boundaries to it.  For example is coup de etat a French term or an English term? hacienda?
Livin' the vida loca?  matrix, matrices.  chutney, These words/ terms live on the borders, depending on how you slice it, they could be one or the other, or both.


The words you quote are Loan Words which have been in common use as part of the English Language for quite some years.

You can't isolate words and then claim that, because they are from a Romance Language, English is a Romance Language.

In Japan, words such as Baseball and Coca Cola are frequently used as part of the language, but no-one claims that the language is English or American.


Edited by toyomotor - 21 Aug 2016 at 02:26
I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 02:16
Yes, loan words or phrases, but for English, the fact that they are borrowed somewhere else doesn't effect their 'legitimacy.'  For French that is different, France and Francophiles police their language, rejecting foreign words.  In the context of usage, hacienda and mi casa es su casa, are perfectly acceptable in parts of the Anglo world, the Southwest and Florida.  Why not call them functioning as English?  Or we are using vocabulary to define language, why not selectively choose words so we can misdefine the whole as Spanish?  Depending on how you slice things, you can make things look like anything you want, and who knows, maybe you will come up with some new insight from looking at the topic from a completely different angle.  

Not all languages are alike, and Japanese is quite different using Chinese characters, plus one syllabary for native words, and another syllabary for foreign words and animal sounds.   So one can _see_ just by reading the words that they are foreign in origin.  I seem to remember that some foreign words have made it from katakana into hiragana, but I can't think of any off-hand.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 02:26
if a physicist can pretend that the cosmological constants are different, and thus imagine how the whole universe(s) would be different.  If a historian can engage in alternate histories in order to imagine our real history better, then why can't we pretend that English is a romance language, and thus try to imagine how it should be if that were the case.  What conclusions could we deduce if we started with the premise that English was a romance language?  Such a work would be mainly the work of the imagination, but also the intellect.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 02:33
Franciscosan:

I think our conversation is becoming too circular.

I don't believe that English is a Romance Language for the reasons that I've posted.

English, IMHO, is a Germanic Language with quite a large number of Loan Words, but coming back to your point, of course langauges are different, but many European languages use loan words, that doesn't make them all Romance Languages.

I think that the time has come for us to agree to disagree and leave it that.

(A very good book on the origins of Language is "The Horse, The Wheel and Language by David W.Anthony ISBN-13:978-0-691-05887-0)
I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 04:19
No, no, no:(

I am not saying that English is a romance language.  Classification-wise it is Germanic and Indo-European.  I am saying that one could come up with a subset of vocabulary words to argue just about anything.  Especially if one includes words from all the different cultures that speak "English."  One could even argue that English is Sino-Tibetan, I mean it would a very poor argument, but rhetorically it could be done.  Hey, you say that English is the heir (or error) of the lost world of Atlantis, or Shangdi-La and some people would trip over themselves to believe you.  Of course, you could say that is not scientific writing, and that would be true, but all that means is that linguists (scientists in the sphere of language), would be alarmed and offended at it, if it was taken seriously in the first place by a general audience.  There are many people who would likewise assume a posture of defensiveness because they follow scientism.  They don't know science that well themselves, but trust scientists based on the authority they have in society.  Some would like it because it is imaginative, and some would like it because they are contrarian and want to argue with society.  
No, I am not saying that English is a Romance language, I am saying that Romance languages represent a set.  What are the qualities of this set, and what would we have to change in order to add English to that set?  English is not a static thing, could we bend that set to include English?  Could we bend English to fit it into that set?  Or would we just be doing too much violence to the concepts by doing so?  Maybe the Roman Empire lasted longer or the Saxon invasion never happened.  England was part of the Roman Empire too, so if not in reality, then how about in our imagination, could it have ended up like part of the rest of the Roman Empire, where the Romance languages originated?  Of course, not everywhere in the Roman empire gave birth to Romance languages, but we can ask why some did and why some didn't.

Of course, this may sound ridiculous, or rather like sophistry.  But how can we know before we try?

  Such a "game" could be useful in imagining what it takes to form a language, no?  As long as we don't kid ourselves over it being a game.  Games of course can be very serious sometimes.  Just turn on the TV and see the games being played in Rio. 

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