(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

The Latin Legacy                    343
Pyrenees Before the planes of Hitler and Mussolini rained death on
them, Basque was the tongue of about half a milbon people, Spanish
Latin has survived all invasions of historic times At the beginning
of the fifth century Germanic hordes, including the Vandals who
gave their name to (fl)Andalusia, overran the Peninsula Then the
West Goths ruled for ovei two centimes, with Toledo as their capital
After them came the Arabs and Moors from Africa. The Muslims who
subdued the whole country with the exception of the Astunan moun-
tains, did not interfere with the religion or language of the people, and
intermamage was common under a benign regime. The Spanish
national hero, Rodrigo Diez de Bivar, otherwise called the Ctd> fought
both for infidels and Christians Cruelty and intolerance came with the
retonquista started by Catholic princes u? the unsubdued North
The Catholic conquest of lost terutory slowly spread fan-wise
towaids the South, ending in 1492, when Ferdinand and Isabella
appropriated Granada for the sacrament of inquisitorial fire During
the Moorish occupation the speech of the Peninsula was still a mixture
of dialects descended from Vulgar Latin In the East, and more closely
akin to the Proven$al of South France, there was Catalan , in the North,
Leonese, Aragonese3 and Astunan, in the centre Castihan^ in the West,
including Portugal, Gdiaan From Portugal, already a semi-indepen-
dent province m the eleventh century and foremost as a maritime power
under Henry the Navigator, what was originally a Gahoan dialect was
earned to Madeira and the Azores, later to Brazil In the neighbour-
hood of 50 million people now speak Portuguese This figure includes
about 40 million inhabitants of Brazil, which became a sovereign
state ^n 1822
In Spain itself the emergence of a common standard was early At
the suggestion of Alfonso X, the Coites of 1253 made the usage of
Toledo the pattern of correct Spanish Like Madrid and Burgos,
Toledo was in Castile Castihan, at first the vernacular of a handful
of folk in the Cantabnan mountains on the Basque border, thus became
what is now the official language of about ninety million people,
including 23 million Spaniards, 16 million Mexicans, 13 million Argen-
tinians, 30 million citizens of other South or Central American states,
3 millions in the Antilles, and one million in the Philippine Islands
American Spanish has some Andalusian features, partly because
emigrants to the New World came mainly from the South, and partly
because Cadiz was the commercial centre of the colonies
The vocabulary of a territory so repeatedly invaded inevitably has a