Re: [tied] Reconstructing a future language

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 18379
Date: 2003-02-03

But it has been done for a long time. Romanicists have always emphasised the difference between Proto-Romance and written Latin. To do the reconstruction literally "without any knowledge of Latin" is of course impossible, and a historical linguist well-versed in the Romance languages but completely ignorant of Latin is hard to find, even nowadays :-). We can't erase what we know about Latin from our brains for the purpose of the experiment, but as far as I can see Romance linguists have no trouble avoiding any bias in this repect and don't patch the gaps in the reconstruction with Classival Latin material. The differences are quite revealing, but don't necessarily have much bearing for the actual/reconstructed PIE question, apart for the trivial observation that all comparative reconstruction is of necessity partial and very incomplete. Classical Latin is not the direct ancestor of Romance, so by comparing it with Proto-Romance we don't actually test the reconstruction. Instead, we learn more about Latin and its internal differentiation. The PIE counterpart of Classical Latin may have never existed, for all we know. Unless some PIE documents are found (and I don't think that's a realistic expectation), all that we shall ever know about PIE is what comparative analysis can yield.


----- Original Message -----
From: "alex_lycos" <altamix@...>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 6:19 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] Reconstructing a future language

> x99lynx@... wrote:
> > Joseph Greenberg once wrote that he would like to see someone
> > honestly try to reconstruct the proto-language of the modern Romance
> > languages -- without using any knowledge of Latin -- and then compare
> > it to Latin. The difference between that "reconstructed
> > proto-Romance" and Latin might not only illustrate the predictive
> > power of the methodology, it might also tell us how accurate our
> > reconstructions of PIE, for example, might be
> >
> > Steve Long
> That shouldnt be a bad idea Steve. If someone should do that, I will be
> the first who will buy his book:-)))