Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Romance Languages as Dumbed-Down Latin

I finally understand what the Icelanders are getting at when they say that listening to their fellow Scandinavians speak is like listening to baby-talk. The grammatical simplification that Latin underwent in its evolution into the various Romance languages really is astonishing, so much so that it really does feel like listening to the babbling of a child when one comes face to face with languages like French, Spanish and Italian, with their inflexible word orders, definite articles, invariant word endings and so forth. Something has been lost at the expense of their gain in simplicity, a certain economy and suppleness, they require one to be so explicit.