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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

CHAPTER  IX
MODERN DESCENDANTS OF LATIN
A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF FRENCH,  SPANISH,
PORTUGUESE, AND  ITALIAN GRAMMAR
ON the whole, differences between modern descendants of Latin are
less than differences between the two main branches of the Teutonic
family The Teutonic dialects had drifted apart before differentiation
of the Romance languages began The Romance languages have many
common features which they share with Vulgar Latin, and others
which are products of parallel evolution Because it is the most regular
representative of the group, Italian offers the least difficulty to a be-
ginner, especially to anyone who intends merely to get a reading
knowledge of it Our bird's-eye view will therefore deal mainly with
Spanish and French. We shall discuss them together The readei
can assemble information appropriate to individual needs from dif-
ferent sections of this chapter, from tables printed elsewhere, or
from relevant remarks in other chapters With the aid of a dictionary
the reader, who is learning Portuguese or intends to do so, will be able
to supplement previous tables of essential words (Chapters V and
VIII or elsewhere) listing only French, Spanish, and Italian items.
The standpoint of the Loam of Language is practical Our definition of
grammar is knowledge essential for intelligible correspondence in a
language or for ability to read it, other than information contained in a
good dictionary So we shall not waste space over what is common to the
idiom of our own language and to that of those dealt with in this chap-
ter What the home student cannot find in a dictionary are tricks of
expression or characteristics of word-equivalence peculiar to them
There are illustrations of outstanding features of word-order in the
Romance languages in Chapter IV, p 153 et $eq> and hints about
pronunciation of French, Italian, and Spanish in Chapter VI, p 254 et
seq All there is need to say about comparison of the adjective is in Chap-
ter VIII (pp. 333-337) Other grammatical peculiarities of Spanish,
Portuguese, French, or Italian essential for reading or writing know-
ledge are included in three topics (a) concord of noun and adjective,