Questions tagged [language]

Questions on historical use of languages and their development.

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61
votes
6answers
20k views

Why are the German and French languages so different?

My understanding (which could be wrong) is the following: During and before the period of the fall of western Rome (roughly 400 AD), the Franks and the Alemanni were tribal people who moved around a ...
96
votes
3answers
13k views

Why are Germans referred to so differently in different languages?

I was inspired by the other question "Why are the German and French languages so different?". But while, for me, the answer was obvious (the Romans did not conquer most parts of today's Germany and so ...
31
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5answers
5k views

Why did modern “Romania” remain the most “Roman” part of the Balkans?

The so-called "Romanians" are the Vlachs who inhabited the territory just north of the Danube in Roman times, and today. Wallachia (home of the Vlachs), represented the outer limit or Roman expansion. ...
38
votes
5answers
12k views

When did the Greeks stop calling themselves “Roman”?

I've been reading a lot about the Byzantine Empire recently, and one of the things I see pointed out over and over again is that "Byzantine" is a term coined by historians, not by the people ...
31
votes
7answers
6k views

Why does Romanian culture have Latin influences?

Romania is located between Bulgaria, Serbia on one side and Ukraine/many Slavic countries on the other. Romanian is however a Romance (Latin) language, and not Slavic. They don't use the Cyrillic ...
9
votes
3answers
747 views

In the “Immigrationist theory” of Romanians (Vlachs), how did they became the vast majority in Transylvania?

The origins of Romanians is, for me, one of history's more interesting problems and I mostly agree with the "Immigrationist theory". The great mystery for me is how could they become the majority in ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Language of Franks vs later French

I am reading that before the 8-9th(10th?) century, Franks were a Germanic-speaking nation. How it is possible to explain that in later centuries their language became a totally different Latin-...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century?

I have been reading about European history in the XII century and I am finding out that several of the modern day languages hadn't yet evolved to what they are now: Langue d'oïl was still being used ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

The practice of translating foreign monarch's or noble's name

In history texts, past foreign monarchs are normally referred to by the English version of their name, e.g. Francis I (not François), Charles V (not Carlos, Karel, or Karl), Phillip II (not Felipe). ...
115
votes
2answers
13k views

How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

If we take hieroglyphic writings like the Egyptian one, an Egyptologist knows that this hieroglyph must be interpreted as Nefertiti. Or we can see in the following Sumerian cuneiform script that ...
43
votes
14answers
7k views

Are there confirmed cases where a country changed its language without being conquered?

I thought about this question and wondered: Are there any known cases where a country switched to a different language other than because of being conquered? If some country ever did this I would be ...
29
votes
1answer
4k views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
14
votes
2answers
651 views

Are there any existing foreign language teaching texts from the Ancient Near East?

The various cultures of the Ancient Near East spoke a wide array of languages and we know that there was plenty of communication between cultures. We even have a language like Akkadian that served as ...
5
votes
2answers
381 views

Did 20% of the Soviet Population use a Latin script in 1935?

Did 20% of the Soviet Population use a Latin script in 1935? The literacy campaigns in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1940 taught many people to read. Many people who did not speak Russian had no ...
4
votes
6answers
5k views

Why did the the East-Pakistanis oppose Urdu as their national language while Indians accepted Hindi as theirs?

In 1947, Both India and Pakistan were given independence from Britain. India was able to establish Hindi as its national language with minimal problems. Pakistan on the other hand, was created with ...
0
votes
4answers
827 views

Why are Turkish people and other Turkik people considered of Mongolic race if their language is not in the Mongolic language family? [closed]

I saw that Turkish people are considered of Mongolic race even though Mongolic and Turkic are separate language families? Why are those races considered the same but their languages are so different ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

During the French Revolution, how did the French address non-citizens?

I've read in multiple books and articles that during the French Revolution the address of monsieur / madame (my lord / my lady) was suspended in favor of the more égalité-friendly citoyen / citoyenne (...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What was the standard spoken language (dialect) in the Three Kingdoms period?

Mandarin is the standard spoken language (dialect) in today's China, meaning distinct regions may have their own dialect, but they can all use Mandarin to communicate with each other. Since all ...
8
votes
3answers
626 views

What language was the Charter of Liberties written in?

While researching my answer for the What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century? question I came upon the Charter of Liberties, or Coronation Charter, issued by ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

How did it happen that countries and cities got different names in different languages?

I wonder why a single city's (or country's) name is different in various languages. To me, city and country names are somewhat similar to a person's given name, and it doesn't seem right to call ...