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Thread: Eastern Romance, survival or loss

  1. #1
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    Eastern Romance, survival or loss

    A thought occurred to me today, why did romance dialects only survive in Dacia/Romania and Dalmatia while in other areas they were replaced by Hungarian, German(ic) or Slavic. How is it that in Dacia the invaders were adsorbed into the Romance population while in Dalmatia, Noricum and Pannonia the reverse happened? Related to this are the other eastern romance languages Aromanian, Istro-Romanian etc descended from a from a common post Vulgar Latin dialect/language (proto-Romanian) and then spread into the speaking now slavic speaking areas or are they regional developments from Balkan vulgar Latin with only a lose relationship with each other.


  2. #2
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    Re: Eastern Romance, survival or loss

    Put in physics terminology, the system "society-language" is a dynamic system, i.e. a minor event or factor can create large-scale phenomena in long terms. So, in some cases you may never identify that minor factor of the past, if that was not documented.

    About the Aromunian speakers of Greece and Balkans I know that most of them used to be nomadic sepherds moving around the Balkans with their flocks. At certain times the nomads settled more permanently to certain places, changing profession and way of living. In Greece this life-style became almost extinct in 1960's and the Aromunian language (spoken by bilinguals in Greek/Aromunian) became gradually extinct.

    Possibly, East Europe became a pool for Aromunian speakers because in great part was under the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires for many centuries, and thus, people did not require formalities to move around. Places like Dalmatia and Pannonia were not for long or at all under those Empires. Religion (Orthodoxy) was possibly another factor and national identity another. On the other hand, the dichotomy in "romance" and "non-romance" languages/populations may be artificial in certain cases. For example, the Albanian language is not considered "romance" but its vocabulary is about 50% latin, while many Albanians were/are bilinguals in Aromunian and Albanian or other but this is not reflected in official cencus data for various reasons.

  3. #3
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    Re: Eastern Romance, survival or loss

    This is a much discussed and controversial question. One very plausible view is that Romanian does not descend from the Latin spoken in the (very short-lived) Roman province of Dacia, but rather that the ancestors of the Romanians migrated from Dalmatia/Illyria to their present homeland in the Middle Ages, probably after the collapse of the Bulgar khanate. The Aromanians (Vlach) would then be the descendants of their cousins who stay behind in, or near, their original homeland.

  4. #4
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    Re: Eastern Romance, survival or loss

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    This is a much discussed and controversial question. One very plausible view is that Romanian does not descend from the Latin spoken in the (very short-lived) Roman province of Dacia, but rather that the ancestors of the Romanians migrated from Dalmatia/Illyria to their present homeland in the Middle Ages, probably after the collapse of the Bulgar khanate. The Aromanians (Vlach) would then be the descendants of their cousins who stay behind in, or near, their original homeland.
    Another plausible theory is that of continuity – despite being a short-lived province (from 106-275 CE), more than a few indicators suggest that the cultural and linguistic impact of the Romans was considerable on the region of Dacia. Don't forget that although the Roman Empire collapsed in the 4th century, the Eastern Roman Empire survived and it sustained the use of Latin as an administrative language (although Greek dominated after 620 CE) for several centuries. As you mentioned, this subject is disputable – currently there is no consensus amongst scholars.

    Personally, I have a hard time adhering to the migration theory, mainly because of demographic issues. Logically it must have required a significant migration from Dalmatia/Illyria – possibly in several waves – to Dacia in order to create a "dominant" population. Yet no records of such a migration are documented. I believe that when it comes to Eastern Romance we have to consider the possibility of clusters – different language clusters spread out which created the different languages we have today.


    Robbie

  5. #5
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    Re: Eastern Romance, survival or loss

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    This is a much discussed and controversial question. One very plausible view is that Romanian does not descend from the Latin spoken in the (very short-lived) Roman province of Dacia, but rather that the ancestors of the Romanians migrated from Dalmatia/Illyria to their present homeland in the Middle Ages, probably after the collapse of the Bulgar khanate. The Aromanians (Vlach) would then be the descendants of their cousins who stay behind in, or near, their original homeland.
    Dalmatia/Illyria? I'd be interested in reading more if you could provide some references to those making that claim. I vaguely remember reading about the northern migration theory that you speak of, but if I'm not mistaken a more easterly original homeland was in play there, not Dalmatia/Illyria.

  6. #6
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    Re: Eastern Romance, survival or loss

    I had a thought yesterday that perhaps the reason Latin lost so much territory in the Balkans, might be due to the plague of Justinian. If the region was depopulated due to plague before the Slavs arrived that might explain the language shift.
    Last edited by killerbee256; 15th February 2013 at 12:44 AM.

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