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Vulgar Latin as an emergent concept in the Italian Renaissance (1435–1601): its ancient and medieval prehistory and its Renaissance emergence and development
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2018 (English)In: Journal of Latin linguistics, Vol. 2, p. 1-39Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

This article explores the formation of Vulgar Latin as a metalinguistic concept in the Italian Renaissance (1435–1601) considering its continued, although criticized, use as a concept and term in modern Romance and Latin linguistics (1826 until the present). The choice of this topic is justified in view of the divergent previous modern historiography and because of the lack of a coherent historical investigation. The present study is based on a broad selection of primary sources, in particular from classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance.

Firstly, this article traces and clarifies the prehistory of the concept of Vulgar Latin in ancient and medieval linguistic thought. Section 2 demonstrates that the concept of Vulgar Latin as a low social variety does not exist in pre-Renaissance linguistic thought.

Secondly, this article describes and analyzes how, why and when the con- cept of Vulgar Latin emerged and developed in the linguistic thought of the Italian Renaissance. Section 3 surveys the historical intellectual contexts of the debates in which this concept was formed, namely questione della lingua in the Latin and Vernacular Italian Renaissances. Section 4 demonstrates how the ancient concept and term of sermo vulgaris as a diaphasic variety was revived, but also modified, in the Latin Renaissance of the fifteenth century, when the leading humanists developed new ideas on the history, nature and variability of ancient Latin. Section 5 demonstrates how a diglossic concept of Vulgar Latin was formed in the vernacular Italian Renaissance of the sixteenth century, when Italian philologists more carefully approached the topic of the historical origin and emergence of Italian.

Thirdly, Section 6 presents a synthesis of the historiographical results that are attained and revises modern historiography on some important points

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2018. Vol. 2, p. 1-39
Keywords [en]
Ancient Latin, Vulgar Latin, literary Latin, sermo vulgaris, diaphasic variety, low variety, diglossia, Italian Renaissance, Cicero, Bruni, Biondo, Poggio, Valla, Castelvetro, Cittadini
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Latin
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-348875DOI: 10.1515/joll-2018-0006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-348875DiVA, id: diva2:1198730
Available from: 2018-04-18 Created: 2018-04-18 Last updated: 2018-10-15

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