jeudi 4 janvier 2007


Sometimes it seems that when Latin is looked at a certain way, it sounds eccentric and eerily similar to various Indian languages. And there perhaps is good reason - Sanskrit, that other cousin of Latin besides Greek, had way too many similarities to Latin for philologists of the 18th century to overlook, giving rise to PIE theory.

Perhaps, it is all about perspective: today Sanskrit is rather dead (though more alive than Latin), but like Latin, it has given rise to a large family of vernacular languages with hundreds of millions of speakers: Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi. But unlike Latin (for me), it seems to have the same "sentiment" or "atmosphere" as Sanskrit, unlike what I feel for the vernacular Romance tongues of being very different from Latin, more lively and less dreary. Yet for many North Indian speakers, it's perhaps the opposite (so I guess): Sanskrit as a prestige language sounds very different and would have that same classical feel like I have for Latin, while Latin and modern Italian would not be felt to have any significant difference.

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