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A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson

A Natural History of Latin (edition 2004)

by Tore Janson

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385544,458 (3.48)22
Latin is alive and well. Beginning in Rome around 600 BC it became the international language of the civilized world for 2,000 years. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are among its direct descendants. It provides the vocabulary for law and life science. No known language, including English - itself enriched by Latin words and phrases - has achieved such success and longevity. This book tells its history from origins to the present. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing but. authoritative, and written with the fluency and light touch that have made the author's Speak so attractive to tens o… (more)
Title:A Natural History of Latin
Authors:Tore Janson
Info:Oxford University Press (2004), Hardcover, 316 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson

  1. 10
    Grekiska : språket, kulturen, myterna by Eva-Carin Gerö (AndreasJ)
    AndreasJ: Both are looks at ancient (and, in Janson's case, later) society through the prism of language.

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I thought this was a really good cursory look at the history of latin. When I say cursory though, I mean it (only the first half of the book is actually devoted to its history). It does not go into great detail, it just rather charts its course through western history. Easy to read though and it gives a decent sense of the language and how it stands today. I will say though, for those who have actually studied the language, the second part could come in handy when trying to brush up. It gives a good concise overview of all the verb conjugations and noun declensions et cetera, so if you were going to try and read something again in Latin, it would be a great reference if you no longer possess your old text books.

In the authors defence, I have seen some people write criticisms as to how he presents Christianity. I have to disagree, it is not a bias on his part. What I enjoyed most was how much he balanced the ancient and sometimes pagan traditions along side the assimilation of the language within the Church. Obviously, the church won out, and the history of that battle is far from pretty on the side of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless he does give credit where credit is deserved, and that is in how the church was in fact able to preserve the language and ancient texts through the several houndred years of the middle ages during which a great amount of writings were lost.

I only give this a three because of how sketched out the history is told (and for the fact that it surprisingly has a good deal of spelling and grammer errors of its own, much like this post). I would still recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the subject but who does not wish to devote years of their life reading the actual scholarly work. ( )
  PhilSroka | Apr 12, 2016 |
Written in readable simple language - accessible and interesting. ( )
  SofiaB | Nov 1, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tore Jansonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sørensen, Merethe DamsgårdTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vincent, NigelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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