A Natural History of Latin

A Natural History of Latin

By (author) Tore Janson

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Beginning in Rome around 600 BC, Latin became the language of the civilized world and remained so for more than two millennia. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are among its progeny and it provides the international vocabulary of law and life science. No known language, including English - itself enriched by Latin words and phrases - has achieved such success and longevity. Tore Janson tells its history from origins to present. Brilliantly conceived and written with the same light touch as his bestselling history of languages, A Natural History of Latin is a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The author charts the expansion of Latin in the classical world, its renewed importance in the Middle Ages, and its survival into modern times. He shows how spoken and written Latin evolved in different places and its central role in European history and culture. He ends with a concise Latin grammar and lists of Latin words and phrases still in common use. Considered elitist and irrelevant in the second half of the twentieth century and often even banned from schools, Latin is now enjoying a huge revival of interest across Europe, the UK, and the USA. Tore Janson offers persuasive arguments for its value and gives direct access to its fascinating worlds, past and present.

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  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 144 x 214 x 20mm | 419.99g
  • 15 Mar 2007
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 0199214050
  • 9780199214051
  • 144,795

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Author Information

Tore Janson was Professor successively of Latin and African Languages at the University of Goteborg and is a world expert on the history of Languages. His books include A Short History of Languages (OUP 2002; hardback edition 2007).

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Review quote

Review from previous edition Natural History of Latin is an authoritative introduction to arguably the most influential language of all time. Chicago Tribune This always readable book is full of interest. The Scotsman It is hard to imagine how this book could be improved... From now on, if anyone who has never studied Latin askes me to recommend a short, readable book in which they can find out about the history of Latin and get a feel for the grammar, I will be able to answer unhesitatingly. Linguist List

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