Volume 48, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781



The concept of a colloquial variety of Latin as an intermediate variety between Latin and the Romance languages has a long standing. Sometimes called or , this variety is often conceptualized as a discrete linguistic variety, which is held responsible for the changes in the provincial realization of Latin. Since a great deal of evidence for this variety is collected from written texts, studies on the emergence of the Romance languages have tended to ignore the actual process of language acquisition in the provinces of the Roman empire. In the present paper I draw attention to the work of two early scholars, the Italian Celso Cittadini (1533–1627) and the Frenchman Pierre-Nicolas Bonamy (1694–1770), who did concern themselves with the acquisition of Latin, referring to the role of the Roman army in spreading the Latin language throughout the empire. Their suggestions about the process of Latinization can be substantiated with data on the military presence in the provinces of the Roman empire.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Biondo, Flavio
    2015 [1435]De verbis romanae locutionis Biondi ad Leonardum Arretinum. Flavio Biondo, Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini, Lorenzo Valla: Débats humanistes sur la langue parlée dans l’Antiquité. Textes édités, traduits, présentés, annotés et commentésed. byAnne Raffarin, 123–169. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bonamy, Pierre-Nicolas
    1756Mémoire sur l’introduction de la langue latine dans les Gaules, sous la domination des Romains. Mémoires de Littérature tirés des registres de l’Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles-LettresXXIV, 582–602. Paris: L’Imprimerie Royale. (Repr. inPierre-Nicolas Bonamy: Vier Abhandlungen zum Vulgärlatein und zur Frühgeschichte des Französischen, ausgewählt, eingeleitet und kommentierted. byJörn Albrecht, 1–22. Tübingen: Gunter Narr 1975.)
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bruni, Leonardo
    2015 [1435]Leonardus Flavio Foroliviensi S. Quaerit an vulgus et litterati eodem modo locuti sint. Flavio Biondo, Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini, Lorenzo Valla: Débats humanistes sur la langue parlée dans l’Antiquité. Textes édités, traduits, présentés, annotés et commentésed. byAnne Raffarin, 171–189. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Cittadini, Celso
    2019 [1601]Trattato della vera origine e del processo, e nome della nostra lingua, scritto in volgar sanese (Venezia Ciotti). Edited byPierluigi Ortolano. Florence: Franco Cesati. [Originally published inVenice: Ciotti 1601.]
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Adamik, Béla
    2019 “Transformation of the Case System in A. L. as Evidenced in Inscriptions”. Acta Classica Universitatis Scientiarum Debreceniensis55.13–36.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Adams, James N.
    2007The Regional Diversification of Latin 200 BC – AD 600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511482977
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482977 [Google Scholar]
  7. 2013Social Variation and the Latin Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511843433
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511843433 [Google Scholar]
  8. Albrecht, Jörn
    ed. 1975Pierre-Nicolas Bonamy: Vier Abhandlungen zum Vulgärlatein und zur Frühgeschichte des Französischen, ausgewählt, eingeleitet und kommentiert. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Alessio, Gian Carlo
    2015 “La grammatica speculativa e Dante”. Gian Carlo Alessio, Lucidissima dictandi peritia: Studi di grammatica e retorica medievaleed. byFilippo Bognini, 127–144. Venice: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Bakker, Peter
    2008 “Pidgins versus Creoles versus Pidgincreoles”. The Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Studiesed. bySilvia Kouwenberg & John Victor Singler, 130–157. Malden, Mass. & Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 10.1002/9781444305982.ch6
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444305982.ch6 [Google Scholar]
  11. Banniard, Michel
    2011 “Du latin tardif (IIIe-VIIe siècle) au protofrançais (VIIIe siècle): Vers un nouveau paradigme”. Diachroniques. Revue de linguistique française diachronique1.39–58.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Becker, Lidia
    2014 “La protohistoire médiévale des langues romanes”. Manuel des langues romanesed. byAndré Klump, Johannes Kramer & Aline Willems, 261–286. Berlin & New York: W. de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110302585.261
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110302585.261 [Google Scholar]
  13. Blau, Joshua
    1982 “Das frühe Neuarabisch in mittelarabischen Texten”. Grundriß der arabischen Philologie. I. Sprachwissenschafted. byWolfdietrich Fischer, 83–95. Wiesbaden: Reichert.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Clackson, James
    2016a “Latin as a Source for the Romance Languages”. The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languagesed. byAdam Ledgeway & Martin Maiden, 3–13. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0001 [Google Scholar]
  15. 2016b “The language of a Pompeian Tavern: Submerged Latin?”. Early and Late Latin: Continuity or Change?ed. byJames N. Adams & Nigel Vincent, 70–86. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781316450826.005
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316450826.005 [Google Scholar]
  16. Coseriu, Eugenio
    1954 “El llamado « latín vulgar » y las primeras diferenciaciones romances: Breve introducción a la lingüística románica”. Montevideo: Universidad de la República.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Curchin, Leonard A.
    2004The Romanization of Central Spain: Complexity, Diversity and Change in a Provincial Hinterland. London & New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203633717
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203633717 [Google Scholar]
  18. Dardel, Robert de & Jacob Wüest
    1993a “Latin vulgaire et créolisation”. Actes du XXe Congrès international de linguistique et philologie romanesed. byGerold Hilty, II, 656–661. Tübingen & Basel: Francke.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. 1993b “Les systèmes casuels du protoroman: Les deux cycles de simplification”. Vox Romanica52.25–65.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Diez, Friedrich
    1836Grammatik der romanischen Sprachen, I. Bonn: E. Weber.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Eskhult, Josef
    2018 “Vulgar Latin as an Emergent Concept in the Italian Renaissance (1435–1601): Its ancient and medieval prehistory and its emergence and development in Renaissance linguistic thought”. Journal of Latin Linguistics17:2.191–230. 10.1515/joll‑2018‑0006
    https://doi.org/10.1515/joll-2018-0006 [Google Scholar]
  22. Ferguson, Charles A.
    1959 “Diglossia”. Word15.325–40. 10.1080/00437956.1959.11659702
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1959.11659702 [Google Scholar]
  23. Frank-Job, Barbara & Maria Selig
    2016 “Early Evidence and Sources”. The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languagesed. byAdam Ledgeway & Martin Maiden, 24–34. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0003
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0003 [Google Scholar]
  24. Gaeng, Paul A.
    1992 “The Extent to which Inscriptional Evidence may serve as Source of ‘Vulgar,’ i.e. Spoken Latin”. Linguistica (Ljubljana) 32.19–29.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Gensini, Stefano
    2009 “Dante Alighieri”. Lexicon grammaticorum: A bio-bibliographical companion to the history of linguisticsed. byHarro Stammerjohann, I, 351–356. 2nd ed. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Goetz, Hans-Werner
    2003Europa im frühen Mittelalter: 500–1050. Stuttgart: Ulmer. 10.36198/9783838524276
    https://doi.org/10.36198/9783838524276 [Google Scholar]
  27. Grandgent, Charles Hall
    1907An Introduction to Vulgar Latin. Boston: D.C. Heath.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Gulyás, Adrienn
    2019 “How Do New Languages Arise? A comparison of romanization and gallicization”. Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae59.9–18. 10.1556/068.2019.59.1‑4.3
    https://doi.org/10.1556/068.2019.59.1-4.3 [Google Scholar]
  29. Haynes, Ian
    1999 “Military Service and Cultural Identity in the Auxilia”. The Roman Army as a Community, including papers of a conference held at Birkbeck College, University of London on 11–12 January, 1997ed. byAdrian Goldsworthy & Ian Haynes, 165–174. (= Journal of Roman Archaeology, supplementary series 34.) Portsmouth, RI: Journal of Roman Archaeology.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. 2013Blood of the Provinces: The Roman Auxilia and the Making of Provincial Society from Augustus to the Severans. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655342.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655342.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  31. Herman, József
    2000 [1967]Vulgar Latin. English transl. byRoger Wright. University Park, Penn.: The Pennsylvania State University Press. [Originally published asLe latin vulgaire. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France 1967.]
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Holtus, Günter
    1989 “Das ‘vulgare illustre’ als Modell einer italienischen Kunstsprache: Standard, Substandard und Varietät in Dante Alighieri’s Traktat ‘De vulgari eloquentia’ (1305)”. Sprachlicher Substandard. II. Standard und Substandard in der Sprachgeschichte und in der Grammatiked. byGünter Holtus & Edgar Radtke, 1–13. Tübingen: Niemeyer. 10.1515/9783110935820‑002
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110935820-002 [Google Scholar]
  33. Imbach, Ruedi & Irène Rosier-Catach
    2005 “De l’un au multiple, du multiple à l’un: Une clef d’interprétation pour le De vulgari eloquentia”. Mélanges de l’École française de Rome. Moyen Âge117:2.509–529.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Janson, Tore
    2012 “Vulgar Latin and Middle Arabic”. High vs. Low and Mixed Varieties: Status, norms and functions across time and languagesed. byGunvor Mejdell & Lutz Edzard, 24–31. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. John, Alison
    2022 “Cultural Memory and Classical Education in Late Antique Gaul”. Making and Unmaking Ancient Memoryed. byRajiv K. Bhola & Martine De Marre, 256–272. New York & London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780429352843‑17
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429352843-17 [Google Scholar]
  36. Jorge, Muriel
    2018Philologie, grammaire historique, histoire de la langue: Constructions disciplinaires et savoirs enseignés (1867–1923). Thèse de doctorat, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle–Paris 3.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Kiesler, Reinhard
    2018Einführung in die Problematik des Vulgärlateinsed. byVolkert Noll. 2nd ed.Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110546361
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110546361 [Google Scholar]
  38. Kramer, Johannes
    1998Die Sprachbezeichnungen Latinus und Romanus im Lateinischen und Romanischen. Berlin: Erich Schmidt.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Křepinský, Maximilian
    1958 “Romanica. II. La naissance des langues communes et l’existence d’une période de leur évolution commune (latin vulgaire, période romane)”. Rozpravy Československé Akademie Věd, Řada Společenských Věd13.1–55.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Lloyd, Paul M.
    1979 “On the Definition of ‘Vulgar Latin’: The eternal return”. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen80:2.110–122.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Löfstedt, Einar
    1956 [1933]Syntactica: Studien und Beiträge zur historischen Syntax des Lateins, II. Lund: C.W.K. Gleerup. [Originally published, Lund: C. W. K. Gleerup 1933.]
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Lo Piparo, Franco
    1986 “Sign and Grammar in Dante: A non-Modistic language theory”. The History of Linguistics in Italyed. byPaolo Ramat, Hans-Josef Niederehe & Konrad Koerner, 1–22. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: J. Benjamins. 10.1075/sihols.33.02pip
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sihols.33.02pip [Google Scholar]
  43. Lüdtke, Helmut
    2016Der Ursprung der romanischen Sprachen: Eine Geschichte der sprachlichen Kommunikation. 2nd ed.Kiel: Westensee-Verlag. (1st ed. 2009.)
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Mańczak, Witold
    1977Le latin classique: Langue romane commune. Wrocław: Ossolineum.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Marazzini, Claudio
    2018Breve storia della questione della lingua. Rome: Carocci.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Mathisen, Ralph W.
    2018 “‘Roman’ Identity in Late Antiquity, with Special Attention to Gaul”. Transformations of Romanness in the Early Middle Agesed. byWalter Pohl, 255–274. Berlin: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110598384‑018
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110598384-018 [Google Scholar]
  47. Maurer, Theodoro Henrique
    1962O problema do latim vulgar. Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Acadêmica.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Meyer-Lübke, Wilhelm
    1890Grammatik der romanischen Sprachen, I. Leipzig: Fues’s Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Marcellino, Giuseppe
    2019 “Latin and the Vernacular in Biondo Flavio’s Thought and Works”. Neo-Latin and the Vernaculars: Bilingual interactions in the Early Modern Perioded. byAlexander Winkler & Florian Schaffenrath, 11–35. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Millett, Martin
    1990 “Romanization: Historical issues and archaeological interpretation”. The Early Roman Empire in the Wested. byThomas Blagg & Martin Millett, 35–41. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Mohrmann, Christine
    1951 “Les formes du latin dit ‘vulgaire’: Essai de chronologie et de systématisation de l’époque augustinéenne aux langues romanes”. Actes du Premier Congrès d’études classiques, 207–220. Paris: Klincksieck.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Nedeljković, Vojin
    2015 “Castles Made of Sand? Balkan Latin from Petar Skok to J.N. Adams”. The Danubian Lands between the Black, Aegean and Adriatic Seas (7th century BC – 10th century AD): Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities (Belgrade 17–21 September 2013)ed. byGocha R. Tsetskhladze, Alexandru Avram & James Hargrave, 323–328. Oxford: Archaeopress. 10.2307/j.ctvr43k44.49
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvr43k44.49 [Google Scholar]
  53. Palmer, Leonard Robert
    1954The Latin Language. London: Faber and Faber. (Repr., Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press 1988.)
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Raffarin, Anne
    ed. 2015Flavio Biondo, Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini, Lorenzo Valla: Débats humanistes sur la langue parlée dans l’Antiquité. Textes édités, traduits, présentés, annotés et commentés. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Raynouard, François Just Marie
    1821Grammaire comparée des langues de l’Europe latine dans leurs rapports avec la langue des troubadours. Paris: Firmin Didot.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Rochette, Bruno
    2011 “The Language Policies in the Roman Republic and Empire”. A Companion to the Latin Languageed. byJames Clackson, 549–563. Oxford: Blackwell. 10.1002/9781444343397.ch30
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444343397.ch30 [Google Scholar]
  57. Rutgers, Leonard Victor
    1995The Jews in Late Ancient Rome: Evidence of Cultural Interaction in the Roman Diaspora. Leiden: E.J. Brill. (Repr. 2000.) 10.1163/9789004283473
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004283473 [Google Scholar]
  58. Schlieben-Lange, Brigitte
    1977 “L’origine des langues romanes: Un cas de créolisation”. Langues en contact, pidgins – Creoles, Languages in Contacted. byJürgen M. Meisel, 81–101. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Schöntag, Roger
    2017a “Das Verständnis von Vulgärlatein in der Frühen Neuzeit vor dem Hintergrund der questione della lingua: Eine Untersuchung zur Begriffsgeschichte im Rahmen einer varietätenlinguistischen Verortung”. Synchronie und Diachronie (= Bavarian Working Papers in Linguistics, 6) ed. byBarbara Sonnenhauser, Caroline Trautmann, Daniel Holl & Patrizia Noel Aziz Hanna, 111–129. Munich: Ibykos Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. 2017b “Il dibattito intorno al volgare antico tra Leonardo Bruni e Flavio Biondo sullo sfondo della cognizione linguistica di Dante”. Forum Italicum51:3.553–572. 10.1177/0014585817711685
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0014585817711685 [Google Scholar]
  61. Schuchardt, Hugo
    1866Der Vokalismus des Vulgärlateins, I. Leipzig: B.G. Teubner.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Speidel, Michael Alexander
    1995 “Das römische Heer als Kulturträger”. La politique édilitaire dans les provinces de l’Empire romain. IIème-IVème siècles après J.-C.: Actes du IIe Colloque roumano-suisse (Berne, 12–19 septembre 1993)ed. byRegula Frei-Stolba & Heinz E. Herzig, 187–209. Bern: P. Lang. (Repr., Heer und Herrschaft im römischen Reich der Hohen Kaiserzeit, ed. byMichael Alexander Speidel, 515–544. Stuttgart: F. Steiner 2009.)
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Swiggers, Pierre
    2001 “Les débuts et l’évolution de la philologie romane au XIXe siècle, surtout en Allemagne”. History of the Language Sciencesed. bySylvain Auroux, Konrad Koerner, Hans-Josef Niederehe & Kees Versteegh, II, 1272–1285. Berlin & New York: W. de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. 2014 “Les études linguistiques romanes des origines jusqu’au début du XIXe siècle: Les ‘prémices’ de la romanistique”. Manuel des langues romanesed. byAndré Klump, Johannes Kramer & Aline Willems, 13–42. Berlin and New York: W. de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110302585.13
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110302585.13 [Google Scholar]
  65. Tavoni, Mirko
    1990 “‘Ydioma tripharium’ (Dante, De vulgari eloquentia, I 8–9)”. History and Historiography of Linguistics: papers from the fourth International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences (ICHoLS IV), Trier, 24–28 August 1987ed. byHans-Josef Niederehe & Konrad Koerner, I, 233–247. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/sihols.51.1.26tav
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sihols.51.1.26tav [Google Scholar]
  66. ed. 2017Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia. Milan: Mondadori.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Tovar, Antonio
    1964 “A Research Report on Vulgar Latin and its Local Variations”. Kratylos9.113–134.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Väänänen, Veikko
    1981Introduction au latin vulgaire. 3rd ed.Paris: Klincksieck. (Repr. 2012; 1st ed. 1963.)
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Versluys, Miguel John
    2014 “Understanding Objects in Motion: An archaeological dialogue on Romanization”. Archaeological Dialogues21:1.1–20. 10.1017/S1380203814000038
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1380203814000038 [Google Scholar]
  70. Versteegh, Kees
    2002 “Dead or Alive: The status of the standard language”. Bilingualism in Ancient Society: Language Contact and the Written Worded. byJames N. Adams, Mark Janse & Simon Swain, 52–74. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245062.003.0003
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245062.003.0003 [Google Scholar]
  71. 2005 “Breaking the Rules without Wanting to: Hypercorrection in Middle Arabic texts”. Investigating Arabic: Current Parameters in Analysis and Learninged. byAlaa Elgibali, 3–18. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Vincent, Nigel
    2016 “Continuity and Change from Latin to Romance”. Early and Late Latin: Continuity or Change?ed. byJames N. Adams & Nigel Vincent, 1–13. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781316450826.002
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316450826.002 [Google Scholar]
  73. Webster, Jane
    2001 “Creolizing the Roman Provinces”. American Journal of Archaeology105:2.209–225. 10.2307/507271
    https://doi.org/10.2307/507271 [Google Scholar]
  74. Woolf, Greg
    1998Becoming Roman: The Origins of Provincial Civilization in Gaul. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511518614
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511518614 [Google Scholar]
  75. Wright, Roger
    1982Late Latin and Early Romance in Spain and Carolingian France. Liverpool: Cairns.
    [Google Scholar]
  76. 2002A Sociophilological Study of Late Latin. Turnhout: Brepols. 10.1484/M.USML‑EB.5.106445
    https://doi.org/10.1484/M.USML-EB.5.106445 [Google Scholar]
  77. 2016 “Latin and Romance in the Medieval Period: A sociophilological approach”. The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languagesed. byAdam Ledgeway & Martin Maiden, 14–23. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0002
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677108.003.0002 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error