Medieval names of Romance languages

francisgranada

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello!

How did the Romance speaking people in the Middle Ages, living in the territory of the today's Romance speaking countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Romania, etc.) call their own vernacular/regional language, as the national identity (in the modern sense of the word) did not yet exist?

For example, the language of the "French" version of the Oaths of Strasbourg is called romana lingua in some sources and the Castilian poet Gonzalo de Berceo wrote in "Spanish":
Quiero fer una prosa en román paladino,
En qual suele el pueblo fablar a su vecino,
Ca non so tan letrado por fer otro latino:
Bien valdrá, como creo, un vaso de bon vino.


Was the term román/romano (or variants of this) generally used, for example also in Northern Italy, Rome, Sardinia, Sicily, etc. ..., or there are other documented denominations/terms used to distinguish the Latin from the proper vernacular/regional language?

Thanks in advance.
 
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  • Riverplatense

    Senior Member
    German — Austria
    Well, in Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia (1303—1304) he rather uses the expression vulgare (in opposition to gramatica = Latin) when he talks about the «Italian» he has in mind. As far as the «ydiomata Italica» are concerned, he calls them more or less as we’d call the corresponding dialects.

    Interesting maybe also Oswald von Wolkenstein (Sëlva, 1377—1445), who wrote —in German— that he speaks the following languages:

    franzoisch, mörisch, katlonisch und kastilian,
    teutsch, latein, windisch, lampertisch, reuschisch und roman
    Es fügt sich
     

    Cossue

    Senior Member
    Galician & Spanish
    For Galician, Galician in Galician texts is called mostly "our language", at least during the 13th century (but in Latin early texts Vulgar language is mostly referenced through expressions meaning "vulgar use" and the like):
    "hũa aruore aque chamauã agnocasto que diz ẽna nosa linguage tanto cõmo cordeyro casto" (c. 1300, General Estoria)

    As in opposition for example to the "language of Castille":
    "onde podroga tãto quer dizer ẽna lengoagẽ de Castella com̃o enfirmidade de coytura dos pees" (1295, Cronica General)

    In the 14th century Galician (Galego) it is already identified as "Galician language":
    " "Osana fili[o] Dauidi", que quer dizer en lingoajen galego" (1390, Miragres de Santiago)
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    In modern Italian, we still say parlare in Volgare to mean ''speaking ancient/medieval Italian''. Also Un testo scritto in Volgare as opposed to a text written in Latin. ''Volgare'' is the Italian form of Latin ''vulgare'' (from ''vulgus/volgo = ''low people''), the neuter form of the adjective ''vulgaris''.
     
    In modern Italian, we still say parlare in Volgare to mean ''speaking ancient/medieval Italian''. Also Un testo scritto in Volgare as opposed to a text written in Latin. ''Volgare'' is the Italian form of Latin ''vulgare'' (from ''vulgus/volgo = ''low people''), the neuter form of the adjective ''vulgaris''.
    A sidenote. Interestingly, the Latin form with u was short-lived: it finally replaced the older volgus to the end of the Republic and four centuries later obtained the o timbre again (vọlgọs).
     

    Cossue

    Senior Member
    Galician & Spanish
    Was the term román/romano (or variants of this) generally used, for example also in Northern Italy, Rome, Sardinia, Sicily, etc. ..., or there are other documented denominations/terms used to distinguish the Latin from the proper vernacular/regional language?

    In Galicia, romanço was also used, at least in oposition to Latin:
    "O qual privilegio era bolado de [...] bola de chunbo et de fios de sirgo do qual o tenor era tal en latin feyto, et por quanto en latin non entendian [todo homes pidio al] dito sennor que llo traladasse en romanço et o fezesse a min escrivir en tal que podessen entender aquelles a que tangesse et se guardassen d'errar a o dito mosteiro d'Osseyra" 1342 (CDMO 1612)
     
    Did the form volgos really ever exist, or did it rather become volgus again, and then 'volgo' from its accusative according to normal evolution? An -os ending in the nominative does not seem to be documented. Do you have sources? Thank you.
    As far as I understand, the relative chronology depended on the area: I have not read any work dealing with this in detail so I can only rely on the scant examples from the manuals. The literature mentions that the first examples of u>ọ go back to the beginning of the 3rd century. In Dalmatia, we find e. g. latronebos: since this is the Dat./Abl. Pl., this shift preceded the loss of the declension. In the north-west, the Nom. Sg. -s was present still in Old French (Old French - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), so, before the loss of most final vowels around the 8th century, the ending should have sounded -ọs. Don't know if future non-southern Italian lost its -s prior to the opening u>ọ or after that. I suppose it should have depended on the social idiolect: educated late Latin speech probably had i>ẹ and u>ọ anyway since such changes are automatic and not always realized by the speakers.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    The situation was similar to the one with Arabic today. The proto-Romance languages were just considered colloquial registres of the same Latin language, so that's why the names for them were variants of "Latin", "Roman/Romanic" or "Vulgar" all over the territory.
     

    Walshie79

    Member
    English (British)
    Well, in Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia (1303—1304) he rather uses the expression vulgare (in opposition to gramatica = Latin) when he talks about the «Italian» he has in mind. As far as the «ydiomata Italica» are concerned, he calls them more or less as we’d call the corresponding dialects.

    Interesting maybe also Oswald von Wolkenstein (Sëlva, 1377—1445), who wrote —in German— that he speaks the following languages:

    franzoisch, mörisch, katlonisch und kastilian,
    teutsch, latein, windisch, lampertisch, reuschisch und roman
    Es fügt sich

    French, Arabic? ("Moorish"), Catalan, Castilian, German, Latin, Sorbian? (Also called "Wendish"), Russian, what are "Lampertisch" and "Roman"?

    I'm thinking "Lombard" for Lampertisch, but did it mean the Germanic dialect or the Italian one? Roman could be anything Italic: French, Latin, Catalan, Castilian are already named, so Italian (of Rome)?
     

    Cossue

    Senior Member
    Galician & Spanish
    I'm thinking "Lombard" for Lampertisch, but did it mean the Germanic dialect or the Italian one?

    I'm guessing the Italian one. In a certain 13th-century document from the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela a certain official is instructed in the way he must address Lombard and Tuscan people: "et lombardis et toscanis debet dicere: o micer lombardo, queste larcha de la lavoree de micer Saiacome. questo uay á la gage fayr."
     
    Is it possible that with "roman" von Wolkenstein describes mediaeval (Byzantine) Greek? the language of the subjects of the Eastern Roman Emperor in the 14th c. -according to its speakers- is "Roman" (Ρωμαϊκή) after all. And for the Ottomans later, the language of the Ottoman Empire's Greek speaking subjects is "Rumca"
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Given the time and place in which he was born and raised, my guess would be that by Roman he either means Italian or more probably Ladin-Friulian, the Romance in his area; by Lombard he'd mean the language in the Duchy of Milan; by German,the Austro-Bavarian variety; and by Wendish, my guess would go for Slovenian, the first Slavic language beyond the so-called Windic March. These languages would at least be the closest to his place.

    Then, as a diplomat, French for the Kingdom of France, Arabic for the Moorish kingdoms, Catalan for the Crown of Aragon, Spanish for the Crown of Castile and Latin for the Papal States and, well, Europe.

    The one that puzzles me a bit is Russian, to be honest.
     

    Walshie79

    Member
    English (British)
    Just looking at more information on Oswald:

    The "Durch Barbarei, Arabia" song he wrote interestingly does contain the line "Durch Romani in Turggia"- Romans in Turkey? That could only have meant Greeks.

    I wondered if "Reuschisch" was actually supposed to say "Preuschisch", meaning Old Prussian; but in the Durch Barbarei song they are both mentioned.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Probably one of the earliest attested references to Catalan as a language was in the tract Regles de trobar (Guidelines for troubadour composition) by Catalan troubadour Jofre de Foixà in 1294.

    alcun mot que.i sia francés o catalanesch = any word that is French or Catalan​

    A document stating how the official language in Athens was Catalan for a long period of the 14th century said:

    << in vulgari catalanorum eloquio , secundum usum et mores civitatis Athenarum>> (Duchy of Athens, 1374)​
    = In the common speech of the Catalans, according to the use and customs of the citizens of Athens.​
     

    dihydrogen monoxide

    Senior Member
    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    French, Arabic? ("Moorish"), Catalan, Castilian, German, Latin, Sorbian? (Also called "Wendish"), Russian, what are "Lampertisch" and "Roman"?

    I'm thinking "Lombard" for Lampertisch, but did it mean the Germanic dialect or the Italian one? Roman could be anything Italic: French, Latin, Catalan, Castilian are already named, so Italian (of Rome)?

    Windisch can also be Slovene.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Methinks this is best illustrated by the quite hilarious fact that in Sardinian, the adjective látinu/ladínu (with a regular stress shift/suffix substitution) still means "clear, evident, comprehensible": a sa ladina "clearly", a boghe ladina "aloud" (+ vōce), est ladinu "it's obvious". Now it might be partly mixed with lactinus "milky", seeing as there also exists a homophone meaning "producing much milk", but the bulk of the uses seem rather straightforwardly to go back to latīnus (e.g. surely not "with a milky voice"). This meaning exists already since the ancient times, as in Cicero's Latīnē loquī (, nōn accūsātōriē) "to speak plainly, literally (and not in the langauge of a prosecutor)" (cf. the etymology of Deutsch). Here's a very telling synonym: padriu. Rather paradoxically, a sa latina also means "in Latin", as when prefacing a Latin expression.

    Among other illustrations there's the names of languages Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish) and Ladin (Rhaeto-Romance) - seems like nobody was around to tell these people that - tadam! - actually the language they were speaking wasn't what they thought it was! And then there's the fact that even Dante refers to Tuscans in Latin as Latini - that despite the confused idea that was widespread during his time, which supposed that in ancient Rome, the same situation of diglossia existed between Latin as a literary language and the volgare as the natural language as in their own time; some even believed that Latin was created purely artificially.

    As far as I can tell, that word - volgare/vulgāre - was only used in Medieval/Renaissance times as part of that opposition, specifically as an antonym to grammatica/ē "(in) Latin" and was probably unknown (at least in this use) to those who weren't exposed to grammatica itself. In classical-period Latin, it simply meant "popular, widespread, common to everybody".
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Windisch can also be Slovene.
    Yes. Windisch or Wendisch is a generic German term for anything Slavic. I don't think it can refer to a Romance language. The corresponding generic term for Romance but also for Gallic (which isn't always clearly separated) is Welsch which originally means strange or foreign. This word can still be found in terms like Welschschweiz for the French speaking part of Switzerland. Cognates are found in the toponyms Wallonie and Wales.
     

    Ithilien

    Member
    Português
    Yes. Windisch or Wendisch is a generic German term for anything Slavic. I don't think it can refer to a Romance language. The corresponding generic term for Romance but also for Gallic (which isn't always clearly separated) is Welsch which originally means strange or foreign. This word can still be found in terms like Welschschweiz for the French speaking part of Switzerland. Cognates are found in the toponyms Wallonie and Wales.
    Also Wallachia, the historical region in Romanian, and Vlachs, an exonym for Romanians. And as endonym, vlași is used by Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians, but I'm not able to say when they started using this word nor how they called their languages in Medieval times.
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Not off topic, I hope, because it relates to people's misapprehensions about language names, but in English, "Dutch" does not mean "Deutsch" although "German" does.
    Ironically except in that slew of American expressions (many derogatory) with "Dutch" in it, such as "go Dutch", "Dutch courage", "Dutch treat", "double Dutch" etc, all probably originating with German immigrants in the US, of whom the largest group is known as "Pennsylvania Dutch".
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Ironically except in that slew of American expressions (many derogatory) with "Dutch" in it, such as "go Dutch", "Dutch courage", "Dutch treat", "double Dutch" etc, all probably originating with German immigrants in the US, of whom the largest group is known as "Pennsylvania Dutch".

    None of the phrases you listed are specifically American English (apart from Pennsylvania Dutch), and most originate in England (especially in the 17th century when England was often fighting the Dutch).
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Whatever status or meaning "Dutch", it is certainly not among the "Medieval names of Romance languages". Could we maybe end this side discussion now?:)

    Thank you.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I've just found this curious little translation of Disticha Catōnis into medieval Romanesco by Catenaccio Catenacci, with a linguistic commentary. The introduction ends:

    Lu Cato ch’è de gran doctrina plino
    translateraiu p(er) vulgar(e) latino.

    vulgar(e): si leggerà vulgar. Cfr.ED, s.v. volgare (vulgare) (a cura di P. V. Mengaldo): «In senso tecnico, linguistico, cioè in riferimento alla nozione di lingua ‘popolare’, parlata, l’aggettivo, e tanto più il relativo aggettivo sostantivato, sono assenti nel latino classico; per quello medievale i lessici non offrono di più che un vulgariter (già del 1117), nel senso di “in lingua volgare”, e un vulgarica lingua (Ducange […]); ma certo sia l’aggettivo che il sostantivo sono saldamente affermati in francese antico e in provenzale […], e così in italiano antico se ne hanno esempi anteriori a Dante […]. Comunque è in D. che troviamo l’attestazione più abbondante earticolata dell’aggettivo e del sostantivo, sia in latino che in volgare; e anzitutto è da notare che la stragrande maggioranza delle occorrenze copre proprio il senso tecnico-linguistico di cui sopra». Vedi anche Folena 1991: 31.

    latino: “d’Italia”. Cfr. GDLI, s.v. (6): «Agg. Che si riferisce, che è proprio, che ècaratteristico o fa parte dei paesi neolatini e della loro civiltà, della loropopolazione, della loro cultura, della loro lingua, dei loro costumi, ecc. - Ant. e letter.: che si riferisce, che è proprio dell’Italia […]. - Ant. Italiano, volgare (l’idioma)», con i seguenti due esempi tratti da Boccaccio: «La giovane, udendo la FAVELLA LATINA, dubitò non forse altro vento l’avesse a Lipari ritornata», «Parlando LATINO la domandò come fosse che ella quivi in quella barca cosìsoletta fosse arrivata». Vedi inoltre s.v. (17): «Ant. Lingua italiana», con esempi da Brunetto Latini, Giovanni Villani, Boccaccio (in particolare: «Trovata una antichissima istoria e alle più delle genti non manifesta, … IN LATINO VOLGARE e per rima, … disiderando di piacervi, HO RIDOTTA»); Porta 1995: vol. I, p. 363: «Lo ’mperadore che sapea la LINGUA LATINA conobbe la indiscreta parola» enota: «latina: “italiana”».
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Lu Cato ch’è de gran doctrina plino, translateraiu p(er) vulgar(e) latino.
    Thanks, this is really interesting. Hovewer, in my opinion:

    1. The Latin was surely not consciously distinguished from the "vulgar" Romance languages in the earliest periods of the evolution of the Romance languages. These languages "coexisted" and were also used mixed together in the early manuscripts. So probably rather the idea of "vulgar/spoken" versus "educated/written" could be then the criterion to distinguish the Latin from spoken Romance, i.e. not an exact linguistic point of view.

    2. It is fact that the terms román/romano/romance do/did exist and they refer/referred (also) to languages. In Latin, there were terms like latinice and romanice. As far as I know, the adverb latinice refers to the standard or classical Latin, while the adverb romanice to the varieties spoken by people in their everyday life.

    Question: Was it really so? When did the term romanice appear the first time in written Latin documents and in what sense?

    3. Let's imagine a hypothetical situation: in the year 1254 the merchant señor Martínez from Toledo (Castilla) arrives to Florence (Toscana) and negotiates with signor Martini. They understand each other quite well, as they both speak "vulgar Latin". After the negotiation when they turned back home, their respective wives put the question: "What language did Martínez/Martini speak?" I can hardly imagine that the spontaneous answer was "vulgar latino" or "favella latina" or "fabla latina" ....

    Question: What terms did the "common people" use to distinguish the Latin from the spoken Romance languages and the Romance languages among themselves in the Middle Ages, when the differences were already evident? (perhaps "toledano" and "toscano" in the above example ....).
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    1. The Latin was surely not consciously distinguished from the "vulgar" Romance languages in the earliest periods of the evolution of the Romance languages. These languages "coexisted" and were also used mixed together in the early manuscripts. So probably rather the idea of "vulgar/spoken" versus "educated/written" could be then the criterion to distinguish the Latin from spoken Romance, i.e. not an exact linguistic point of view.
    Yes, that's about the gist of what I've been saying. Only I don't really understand why you mention a linguistic point of view, when nothing like what we'd call linguistics (or even science) existed and wouldn't until the 17th century or so. What's more, calling two varieties one or different languages isn't really in the domain of linguistics, but in the domain of politics and social attitude. Isn't this exactly what your question was about - how did the people call them, and by extension what did they think of the relation between them? It seems to me that this has been answered.
    2. It is fact that the terms román/romano/romance do/did exist and they refer/referred (also) to languages. In Latin, there were terms like latinice and romanice. As far as I know, the adverb latinice refers to the standard or classical Latin, while the adverb romanice to the varieties spoken by people in their everyday life.

    Question: Was it really so? When did the term romanice appear the first time in written Latin documents and in what sense?
    The adverb is Latīnē, corresponding to lingua Latīna; Rōmānicē appeared later (I don't find it attested before the 11th century) and corresponded to lingua Rōmāna, which first appears in Pliny the Younger. Its appearance reflects the fact that the common language was no longer dictated by the speech of Rome or Latium, and there had appeared a distinct national identity across the entirety of the empire - Rōmānus, with a national language of the same name which was felt to be the property of the entire population. Meanwhile Latīnus had come to mean "Italian" just like Italus, Ausonius and probably other local tribal names did earlier; conversely Italī could mean "Latin speakers". The population of Italy would continue to think of themselves as being Latīnī and speaking Latīnē even to the beginning of the Renaissance, as the quotations illustrate. Again, Ladino and Ladin speakers still kind of do, and then there's the whole of Latin America.

    Isidore distinguishes lingua Latīna prīsca, Latīna, Rōmāna, mixta, of which the last translates Greek κοινή and that's what he thought people spoke during his time. Oh, and then there's the famous lingua Rōmāna rūstica "peasant Latin" of the Oaths of Strasburg, referring to what we call Old French.
    3. Let's imagine a hypothetical situation: in the year 1254 the merchant señor Martínez from Toledo (Castilla) arrives to Florence (Toscana) and negotiates with signor Martini. They understand each other quite well, as they both speak "vulgar Latin". After the negotiation when they turned back home, their respective wives put the question: "What language did Martínez/Martini speak?" I can hardly imagine that the spontaneous answer was "vulgar latino" or "favella latina" or "fabla latina" ....
    But that is precisely what the quotations say. Could you explain? Do you not believe the quotations are authentic? Do you think the use was rare and poetic? To be honest, I think that the pressupposition that medieval Romance speakers thought of their speech varieties as "languages" the way you understand a language is incorrect. Even today you can see Italians calling Sardinian "an Italian dialect", of all things, and Sardinians themselves might tell you they're speaking "in dialetto". In fact, all Italians not speaking Standard Italian normally refer to their speech indiscriminately as "dialetto".

    It's possible that the question itself would seem strange to a person for whom lingua Rōmāna is any Romance language. Knowing that the person is from Spain would already answer that question. There was no national consciousness and no consciousness of national languages that a modern person would expect.
    Question: What terms did the "common people" use to distinguish the Latin from the spoken Romance languages and the Romance languages among themselves in the Middle Ages, when the differences were already evident? (perhaps "toledano" and "toscano" in the above example ....).
    I attempted to answer that in the end of message 19 - I imagine that the term grammatica was common knowledge, at least in the cities and monasteries, to refer to the written language; vulgare latino seems like a good candidate for the other part of the equation, and a simple latino would normally suffice. Here I have to ask again: could you elaborate on why you doubt this term would have been used? Do you believe the "common people" understood latino to be the written grammatica?
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Hello Francis,
    I think that year is a bit too late ;). In 1254 ''vulgar Latin'' was already much differentiated, as far as I know. Mutual understanding could have been easier a couple of centuries earlier.

    Indeed. Not only were descendants differentiated already, but even some descendants of descendants -like Catalan and Occitan- were already clearly differentiated by then.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ... vulgare latino seems like a good candidate for the other part of the equation, and a simple latino would normally suffice. Here I have to ask again: could you elaborate on why you doubt this term would have been used? ....
    The term "vulgar(e) latino " surely did and does exist and it's OK, but it seems to me rather a terminus technicus used by educated people even in the middle ages, not a "natural" denomination, spontaneously used for e.g. the mother tongue of someone in those times.

    Of course, the simple latino in theory could suffice, but circa from the 7th-8th century the difference between the classical Latin and the vulgar Latin had to be evident also for non-educated people, in my opinion ....

    So my question is if the term román/romano, etc ... for Romance languages (as opposite to Latin) was used in all the territory of the ex Roman Empire, e.g. also in Italy, or not. Without going into details, there are ethnonyms that seem to confirm this, e.g. Rumantsch, Român (=Romanian) and also the existence of the modern words romance, romanzo, etc.

    If I understand correctly your last post, you suggest that the the term latino was used continuously especially in Italy, even for the "local" variants of the so called vulgar Latin. Well, let's imagine once more a hypothetical situation: The Spanish poet Gonzalo de Berceo (12th-13th century) calls his "native" language román. Now, if he visited Italy (concretely Tuscany), would he call the language spoken in Tuscany Latino or Roman(o) ?... This is an absurd question, I know ....

    Even today you can see Italians calling Sardinian "an Italian dialect", of all things, and Sardinians themselves might tell you they're speaking "in dialetto". In fact, all Italians not speaking Standard Italian normally refer to their speech indiscriminately as "dialetto".
    Yes I know, but this terminology is artificial and politically motivated. I can hardly believe that, in general, the Italians spontaneously believe that the Sardinian language is a variety of the Italian (< toscano) .... In other words, if Sardinia politically belonged e.g. to Spain, then the same Italians would probably call the Sardinian language as "a Spanish dialect". (By the way, omitting the influence of the standard Italian on the Sardinian, the Sardinian language is absolutely not more "Italian-like" than "Spanish-like", in my opinion) .... However, I understand what you wanted to say/express.

    Hello Francis,
    I think that year is a bit too late ;). In 1254 ''vulgar Latin'' was already much differentiated, as far as I know. Mutual understanding could have been easier a couple of centuries earlier.
    Ciao Bearded! Of course, but this is a part of my question. Concretly: Did the "Romance speaking people", even so late, still identify their respective languages as "romano/romanico/latino ...", i.e. as varieties or "dialects" of the same language, even if the differences among them were already evident for them?


    *****************************************
    P.S. While Gonzalo de Berceo (XII-XIII century) calls román what we now call Spanish, the author of the first grammar of Spanish (considered the first grammar of a modern European language) Antonio de Nebrija (XV century) calls the Spanish language already as "lengua castellana", i.e. no more "lengua romana" nor "román". A propos: I wonder how did Dante Alighieri (XIII-XIV century) perceive or call his own language? Was it toscano or latino volgare or, perhaps, alredy lingua italiana for him? ....
     
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    jimquk

    Member
    English
    It seems to me that the vast majority of people in that period would have had little contact with speakers of other languages, and little concept of anything other than "our spoken dialect" and written Latin.

    In the context of Spain, surely the primary linguistic division for literate people would be Latin versus Arabic.

    People travelling around the Iberia, France, and Italy, would just encounter dialects which they would probably associate with Lisbon, Toledo, Barcelona, Marseilles, Florence, Naples, without troubling themselves to work out which were more similar or different and should be grouped together as Portuguese, Castillian, Catalan, etc.

    I would imagine that, with some effort, there was still a fair degree of mutual intelligibility, except perhaps for Langue d'Oeil.

    The situation would be rather similar to that of Arabic today.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    A propos: I wonder how did Dante Alighieri (XIII-XIV century) .... call his own language? Was it toscano or latino volgare or, perhaps, alredy lingua italiana for him? ....
    I think he called it ''volgare''. Cf. the title of his book De vulgari eloquentia, where he tried to define a 'high style' for the 'vulgar' speech.
    Considering the fact that his Commedia was written in the Florentine ''volgare'', I think that by ''volgare'' he meant the ''Italian dialect'' par excellence, i.e Florentine.
     
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