I understand the question as following: we take all Old English texts available, and count all the words.How many words are there in these languages?
These languages are dead (well, actually Ancient Greek and Old English aren't), so it is possible to count all the words, right?
- Ancient Greek
- Old English
I think this part of the Wiki-article on dead languages summarises it well:How are Old English and Ancient Greek not dead, out of interest?
It would be the same as saying "early Modern English is a dead language"...This has happened to Latin, which (through Vulgar Latin) eventually developed into the family of Romance languages. Such a process is normally not described as "language death", because it involves an unbroken chain of normal transmission of the language from one generation to the next, with only minute changes at every single point in the chain. There is thus no one point where "Latin died".
What's the difference between let's say Old English > Middle English > Modern English and Latin > Old French > French, apart from the fact that we change the label Latin with the label French? I don't see technical problem labeling French as Modern French Latin.They evolved into modern English and Greek, and Latin didn't (at least not in the same way).
Yes, to mix different epochs of the development of Latin language would be to mix "different languages", in a way - as Medieval Latin significantly differs from Classical Latin already, and in the case of Latin there are still new words created continuously (not only for the benefit of the Vatican and the Pope - there are actually Latin words for Communism, to give an example; a political concept which didn't exist at Caesar's time).The problem is that to count the vocabulary makes sense only on the synchronic level. So you may count the vocabulary of Classical Latin and I am sure someone already did that, but to count the vocabulary of Latin in all epochs would hardly make any sense.
Radio Yerevan says, in principle yes, but it is more fun if you limit yourself to Seneca*).Actually I wondered if anyone could learn the whole (or close to the whole) vocabulary of a language such as Latin or Ancient Greek.
In our pre-Time Machine era, maybeThe thing is, certainly you could learn the whole known corpus of Latin of a certain period, but it would take awfully long - and when you've finished you'd possibly wonder why you've gone to all that trouble in the first place.
It's only usefulness would lie in making it into the Guiness Records... so, not really worth the time.The thing is, certainly you could learn the whole known corpus of Latin of a certain period, but it would take awfully long - and when you've finished you'd possibly wonder why you've gone to all that trouble in the first place.
We have discussed the 1 million words claim in this thread.By the way there was a thread, a few days ago, where some guy provided a link to some site that I don't recall now, that English had reached 1 million words, and was considered to be the richest language.
Please note that we started with the rather vague word "Latin".I disagree that it is impossible to count all known words of Classical Latin.
then we can only conclude that it has more to do with philology than with linguistics.The term refers to the canonicity of works of literature written in Latin in the late Roman republic and the early to middle Roman empire: "that is to say, that of belonging to an exclusive group of authors (or works) that were considered to be emblematic of a certain genre."