Thursday, December 1, 2022

Language Related

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Is Avestan different from Latin?

Answer requested by
Pell Premier

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Is Ukrainean different from Irish? Is Old Slavonic different from Old Irish?

Pretty much yes to all three of the questions.

Avestan is a language of ancient Persia, still used by Zoroastrians.

Latin is a language of Old Rome, still used by Catholics and Medieval Geeks among other interested parties.

Are romance languages dialects of Latin?

Answer requested by

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
I do call them that.

A bit exaggerated, but think of it in terms of Homer’s Ionic and Sappho’s Aeolian being two different dialects. Doesn’t mean mutual intelligibility without study.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
It can be added at least two Romance languages are actually called Latin.
  • Ladino as the more ritual version of Judeo-Spanish (the more colloquial being Djudezmo);
  • Ladin as a North Italian / South Tyrolean version of Occitan.

Dante speaking of words for “yes” considered Spaniards as saying “si”, French as saying “oïl” and “Latins” as saying “oc” - it was obviously Occitan in North Italy and South France he meant, and the dialect of it in North Italy is called “Ladin” … so, I am not the first to call Romance “dialects of Latin”

What is the "mother" of Germanic languages if Latin is the "mother" of all Romance languages?

Answer requested by

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University

A very probable proto-language, as contrasted with Latin, an actually documented one, and Nostratic a very improbable one. Or Proto-Indo-European, supposed mother of both Proto-Germanic and Latin, an at least dubious one.

Why is it not "Gloria in excelsissimis Deo"?

Answer requested by
Anatolio Custodio

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Because “excelsus” is already superlative in meaning.

It already means “most high”.

How do we know that Linear B, the script used by the Mycenaeans, was primarily an administrative tool?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
St. Andrew, 30.XI.2022
Because the texts have been deciphered and the uses were uniformly administrative.

Not even one text has been found with as much as a narrative, not even an official report.

No, just tax receits and tax bills - 100 oxen for the temple of Poseidon and things.

Would someone from the Middle Ages be able to understand our language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
In written form and if given opportunity (for instance by wikipedia) to see new words for new concepts, yes.

In spoken form, he would need more or less time to acclimatise to the changes in pronunciation, perhaps at least 2 weeks.

He would have understood your question above, but pronounced it:
Woolld sawmeh-awneh from the Middle Ahges bay ahbleh taw oonderstund oor lunguahge?

He would have liked to correct it to:
Woolldeh sawmeh-awneh from the Middle Ahges bay ahbleh taw oonderstunden ooreh lunguahge?

Or in the orthography we have nearly inherited:
Woulde someone from the Middle Ages be able to understanden oure language?

I presume here we are talking of the late Middle Ages, Chaucer on.

Between 1166 and 1350’s we know too little. Before 1166 - no, Anglo-Saxon was actually another language. Just as a Roman speaking Latin could not have understood modern Italian.

How do linguists determine the meaning of words that have been lost to history?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
They do in fact not do so, the cases where they determine meanings of words in reconstructed languages, are cases when the words have been reconstructed from cognates that have NOT been lost to history.

If in the very hypothetical *pχtehr (if that’s how pH2teH1r is supposed to be pronounced), the linguists determine the meaning to be father, it is because “father” is the meaning of these actual non-lost words that are supposed to derive from pχtehr, namely:

  • Sanskrit pita(r)
  • Greek πατὴρ
  • Latin pater
  • English father and other versions of Germanic
  • Irish athair

the meaning of all these attested words is supposed to be “father” and nothing else, primarily.

Conversely, if the Greek words for “one” is ἓν in the neutre gender, (heis, mia, hen, I found the Greek writing for the last one) and linguists say this is *sem meaning “same”, this is because these words are all supposed to derive from sems, sem / soms, som:

  • Greek heis, mia, hen “one” (feminine “mia” is supposed to have been “smia” with s lost before m, and the other forms have s turn into h before a vowel - so, *sems, *smia, *sem)
  • English same “same”
  • Polish sam “same, self-same”

and here the Greek is the odd one out. Especially as other Indo-European groups have another word for “one” … so, again, it’s not about words that have been lost to history.

But what about the Indo-European word for “if” … well, turns out, there is none that we can reconstruct so far. Even those who DO believe there was an Indo-European Proto-Language, the one we call Proto-Indo-European.

What is the connection between ancient civilizations such as Sumerian, Egyptian, Indian (Harrapa-Mohenjadaro), Chinese, etc.? If there is a connection, how strong is it?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
I would say the connection is, they are usually a few centuries after Babel.

Fu Hsi in China would have been there already in the Palaeolithic, as can be seen from the tale men lived in the woods under him, that is, in the 350 years between Flood and Babel when Noah was still alive.

How have ancient languages influenced the development of modern day language families?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Some ancient languages very certainly are mother languages for language families.

Latin for Romance, Koiné for Neo-Hellenic (Dhimotiki, Pontic, to some degree Tsakonian), these are known ancient languages. So is Old Irish for the Goidelic or Q-Celtic languages, and to some degree Old Brythonic, which is so for the P-Celtic ones.

Proto-Germanic for the Germanic ones is nearly unknown. Proto-Celtic behind Old Irish and Old Brythonic is unknown, but probable.

What is the etymology of numbers? Do they have different names depending on the language used? If so, what are these names for each number and why is that so?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Three questions, I’ll answer each.

"What is the etymology of numbers?"

I'll assume that numbers actually usually meant that number as far back as one can safely reach.

"Do they have different names depending on the language used?"

Language or language group, yes. I'll give you 1 to 10 in two Indo-European languages and 2 Finno-Ugric ones. In cases a given number has more than one form depending on gender or case, I give the one given first in dictionaries.

1  unus  heis  egy  yksi
2  duo  duo  két  kaksi
3  tres  treis  három  kolme
4  quatuor  tettares  négy  neljä
5  quinque  pente  öt  viisi
6  sex  hexa  hat  kuusi
7  septem  hepta  hét  seitsemän
8  octo  okto  nyolc  kahdeksan
9  novem  ennea  kilenc  yhdeksän
10  decem  deka  tíz  kymmenen

Between Latin and Greek, unus and heis are different, the rest are the same. The Greek word for one is related to a common Indo-European word for same. The common Indo-European word for one also exists in Greek, but only as "one on the diceroll"

Between Hungarian and Finnish hét and seitsemän could be different, or hét could be related to the first part, seit. The last three are clearly different. The first six are the same. While Hungarian and Finnish ARE (probably) related, Quechua and Aymara share as many number words, and are not considered related.

This is a good caution against taking the number words of diverse Indo-European languages as proof they are related through a same mother language.

Reasons why unrelated languages would borrow from each other - to avoid confusion (if a word means ten in one language and four in the other, they will use the word for four of the first language and the word for ten of the second, and ditch the word that means different things totally), to update number systems (if one language only counts up to four, or is ridiculously hard to learn because it is consistently base 20, it may align on a language that counts to 10), to conform to a prestige language or a help language. For instance, one to ten aligned objects could have ritual meanings in a lost but once common cult.

"If so, what are these names for each number and why is that so?"

Look, with 6000 - 8000 languages in somewhat fewer than 300 recognised language families, that is an impossible task.

In what two gendered languages do all the nouns have the same gender in both languages?

Answer requested by
Man Martinez

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
I don’t know any two languages that are both two gendered and have all nouns of the same gender, unless it’s very closely related ones.

Hebrew and Arabic may have all nouns that exist in both have same gender in both, but not Hebrew and Welsh or Welsh and French.

How do linguists know that Proto-Indo-European was spoken thousands of years ago?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 25th, 2022
St. Catherine's day
For the commonalities between the languages that on the ground of these commonalities are classified as Indo-European, there are two explanations:

  • ancestral identity of languages (like between French and Spanish, which in the most ancestral form known are the same language Latin), and this explanation is what is meant by Proto-Indo-European;
  • ancestral neighbourhood of languages (as between Bulgarian and Romanian sharing traits) including of languages that are not neighbours now.

So, we don’t know THAT Proto-Indo-European was spoken.

But we know, IF it was, THEN it was so thousands of years ago.

Earliest Hittite text, Anitta’s decree, is carbon dated (in itself or associated material) to 2000 BC, and earliest Greek text in Mycenaean Greek to 1600 BC. Each is, as far as I am concerned, a bit younger, since the carbon 14 levels were still rising, but it’s still within the millennium prior to King David, the millennium near the end of which Troy fell, the second millennium BC.

And by then, Mycenaean Greek and Hittite were two clearly distinct languages, Mitanni (very early Armenian) coming in a bit later than the two, so three. And I think already in the very first texts, you can find the commonalities.

Therefore, the cause of these commonalities, be it ancestral neighbourhood or ancestral identity, needs to be prior to these. And prior to 1500 BC certainly is “thousands of years ago”

If Greeks came from much older Minoans, then how exactly do the Indoiranians fit into anything? How did the language just magically attain cognates with Sanskrit?

Answer requested by
Carlos Grey

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Nov 24th, 2022
You are asking more questions than one.

“If Greeks came from much older Minoans,”

I have no indication Greeks came from Minoans, nor that Minoans were much older.

A certain culture type was fashionable with Minoans before it became so in Greece too. Englishmen aren’t older than Algonquins, just because stone-houses in England are older than similar stone-houses among Algonquins in reservations.

“then how exactly do the Indoiranians fit into anything?”

According to some, the ancient Minoans could be very early Indoiranians.

But it seems the linguist who proposed this changed his mind and considers the language of Linear A as close to Hattic instead.

“How did the language just magically attain cognates with Sanskrit?”

I don’t think there is anyone - including myself - who considers that Greek “just magically” attained cognates with Sanskrit.

I just looked up my lists with 32 reconstructed proto-words from Pokorny. 13 had cognates in both Hellenic and Indoiranian, and I have divided these into three groups:

Hellenic Iranian IIII (four words)
Hellenic Indian IIII (four words)
Hellenic Iranian and Indian V (five words).

There are exactly two possibilities for two languages to attain cognates without magic, the one is, they have a common origin, and the other is, they borrowed one direction or the other.

Obviously, for the mutual borrowing theory, I’d have been very happy to have an Indoiranic Minoan, since that’s the area of Greek and Hittite, two early IE languages, also had opportunity to borrow from each other.

Carlos Grey
Nov 24
So I worked it out. Basically Greek civilisation began with minoans who are non indoaryans. They mixed with the Iranians in Anatolia somehow. And their language replaced whatever they were using. Kinda sounds like an indoaryan invasion type of thing.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Where do you find Iranians in Anatolia?

How do you figure Minoans replaced anyone?

Carlos Grey
Science says that the Mycenaeans were the earliest Greeks and minoans share DNA with the Greeks. « The ancient Mycenaeans and Minoans were most closely related to each other, and they both got three-quarters of their DNA from early farmers who lived in Greece and southwestern Anatolia, which is now part of Turkey » it’s clear that minoans weren’t indoeuropean. They spoke a different language and were genetically different in prehistory. They learned the language from somewhere. And there’s so many hundreds of years of different empires that it is no suprise how they gained indoeuropean languages and Iranian dna. Similar thing occurred with the austronesians and Sanskrit, and ancient Indians and Iranian. Chinese and Japanese all gained Sanskrit words. So it’s easy to say that early Greeks were genetically different and they eventually evolved over time. Their civilisation however began with the minoans. And if we look at africa they can speak lots of European languages but their civilisation is very different

Hans-Georg Lundahl
“Science says that the Mycenaeans were the earliest Greeks”

Archaeology says they were the earliest Greeks we have writing from.

“minoans share DNA with the Greeks.”


"it’s clear that minoans weren’t indoeuropean."

Whatever that means …

"They spoke a different language and were genetically different in prehistory."

Different from Yamnaya? Certainly.

"They learned the language from somewhere."

By THE language, do you mean Greek or "Indo-European"?

"And there’s so many hundreds of years of different empires that it is no suprise how they gained indoeuropean languages and Iranian dna."

Where does any Iranian DNA come in? Sources?

"Chinese and Japanese all gained Sanskrit words."

Not sure they did. Apart from the very few that go with Buddhism.

"So it’s easy to say that early Greeks were genetically different and they eventually evolved over time. Their civilisation however began with the minoans."

But their people doesn't necessarily begin with Minoans - does it?

Carlos Grey
It’s all speculation. They mostly descend from Anatolia farmers. And some of their hieroglyphs match greek. And I think they have a little bit of yamnaya dna, but it’s not of significance. There’s been lots of empires like the hitties, but I think they are too modern. All I can do is speculate that early Greeks were descended from Anatolian farmers since we know next to nothing

This objectively began with the minoans.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Oh, the writing certainly is from first Crete, Linear A, then Mycenaean Greece, Linear B.

I note that the blue in the Mycenaean at most gets to 15 %.

That blue would be the most possible connection to Yamnaya.

Now, there are two differences of opinion between people who argue:
  • whether the Indo-Europeans came from Yamnaya or from Anatolian Farmers
  • whether they began as a single proto-language and its speakers or as speakers of different languages in a Sprachbund.

I would actually advocate that Indo-European began as a Sprachbund involving Hittite, Luwian and Greek, with Armenian just to the East too, among Anatolian farmers.

That’s why I asked where the Iranians come in.

Beautiful pictures of Minoan-Mycenaean culture, but remember that culture can spread even where language and genes do not do so.

Do the Magyars have their own language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 25th, 2022
St. Catherine's day
No, they share it with the Szekely of Romania.

But yes, they have a language which is different from German or Slavic, and in English that language is called Hungarian.

What is the most complete fictional language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
3 years ago
“Fictional language” usually refers to languages that aren’t actually shown and which the author doesn’t actually have to complete even a sentence in.

You mean “conlang” and more precisely “artlang” - a language which is constructed as opposed to inherited (Esperanto, PIE and Quenya ass opposed to French and English) and for artistic purposes rather than international communication or historical linguistics (Quenya as opposed to PIE or Esperanto).

Of Tolkien’s artlangs, Quenya and Sindarin are the most complete, but since then Dothraki, Klingon and a language in Avatar … Näävi? … have been more completed.

Steven Lytle
1 year ago
The Avatar language (and race) is Na’vi.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Thank you!

Do Icelanders speak a Scandinavian language that is different from other Scandinavians, and if so, how is it different?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 20th, 2022
All Scandinavian languages are different from each other.

Main batch, so to speak, are East Norse languages. Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian Bokmål. About as close as English and Scots Leid.

Other batch - Guthnic. Counts as a dialect of Sweden, sometimes, but linguists have unearthed it is actually a language of its own.

Yet another batch. West Norse. Norwegian Landsmål, Icelandic and Faroese.

The Norwegian Landsmål is on the hedge, since connected to Norwegian Bokmål, but Icelandic and Faroese are clearly different.

Vocabulary, sounds, and Icelandic and Faroese still have four cases.

If one were to learn ancient Greek or Latin for the purpose of reading ancient texts as they were originally written, would it be okay to learn only to read and write, or does being able to speak/understand a language play a role in comprehension?

Answer requested by
Logan Perry

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Studied Latin (language) at Lund University
Nov 26th, 2022
Being able to speak and understand the language as spoken exposes you to more situations of using the language and therefore works as a booster.

The last few centuries it has been deemed OK to get writing and reading only, that’s how I learned Latin and (partly, and lost some since) Greek. In decades after I learned, speaking and understanding spoken Latin has made a comeback, so anyone training to be a Latin teacher now would arguably be trained to speak too.

Catholic priests are usually trained to speak, since they are using it as an international help language, a bit like non-priest tourists tend to use English, Spanish or French in foreign countries.

How did Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio contribute to the development of the Italian language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 26th, 2022
They were the three first major authors to write in Italian, Dante and (to a smaller extent) Petrarch writing poetry and Boccaccio in prose.

What is the origin of human language? Do all human languages share a common origin, or did different groups independently invent language over time? What evidence can you point to for one theory over another?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 17th, 2022
I will give the Biblical and Catholic answer to each.

What is the origin of human language?

God gave it to Adam

Do all human languages share a common origin, or did different groups independently invent language over time?

Neither exactly.

At Babel, different groups certainly got new languages, but they didn't invent them.

Human language cannot be invented. Each except Hebrews got a new language God gave them.

After that, each Babelic language has diversified, and some have also in part or totally coalesced.

What evidence can you point to for one theory over another?

For human language being by God:

it is structurally very different from that of any beast and its communications. A message by a beast has a sound, or perhaps a sound component and a gesture component. A message by a man has a subdivision into morphemes, and these are incomplete messages conveying concepts. A morpheme in turn has a subdivision in sounds, that form a kind of code for the morpheme, and one agreed on "artificially." Or rather in the borderland between artifice and nature called tradition. It is anyway arbitrary. This allows a human message to convey knowledge, and not just communicate.

It also presupposes an anatomy very different from that pretendedly had by ancestors of ours, and there is no scenario for some of the transitions, though this is not the case with the ear.

For human languages having different origins that don't come from a single one, and this at Babel:

For the tower of Babel, there is very little evidence in traditions around especially the Old World. Most cultures are kind of landlocked into themselves and take monoglotty for granted. Example, to a Hindoo, Sanskrit is the origin and not just Prakrits and their descendants like Hindi, but also Tamil and Telegu are incomplete or even debased forms of Sanskrit.

But for the Flood, apart from geology, we have stories around the world.

Now, to have the kind of language diversity we see 1000 years after the Flood, in Abraham's day, we need more than just diversified language change, which is even now splitting and merging languages from or with each other. That other thing is most likely divinely imposed, as it is unlikely that people knowing the original language would all have simply given it up for new languages they invented as an "anti-esperanto"

Also, as I identify Babel with Göbekli Tepe, it is interesting to note that in the years I identify as Noah's remaining lifespan after the Flood, there was one collection of 32 signs used on Upper Palaeolithic all over the world. If alphabetic (and the number of symbols suggests that), this suggests a single language.

At the precise time of Göbekli Tepe, there aren't any at all.

After Göbekli Tepe, we have different proto-writings in Vinča, Gradeshnitsa, Kamyana Mohyla, Jiahu, Harappa and some more. This suggests different languages.

What is the oldest surviving text in any Indo-European language?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 17th, 2022
I think it is King Anitta’s decree.

It’s about treating Hattusha as the Israelites treated Jericho under Joshua.

Difference is, Hattusha was not just rebuilt but also made the capital after this decree.

Associated material would be carbon dated to 2000 BC, meaning the real date would be a bit later than 1610 BC:

1610 B. Chr.
0.952011 pmC/100, so dated as 2020 B. Chr.
1610 B.C.
95.2011 pmC, so dated as 2020 B.C.
New Tables

What is the definition of Proto-Indo European (PIE)? Can you speak it if you are fluent in all its descendants/branches?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Nov 4th, 2022
These are two questions.

"What is the definition of Proto-Indo European (PIE)?"

The definition of Proto-Indo-European, by those who believe it, is, one language (or a reconstruction of it) that is mother language of all Indo-European languages and no other languages.

Proto-Celtic is not it, since it is ancestral to all Celtic languages and only to Celtic languages, and therefore leaving out all of the other branches of Indo-European : not ancestral to Indic, not ancestral to Baltic, not ancestral to Greek etc. And PIE is ancestral (if such a common ancestor existed) to all of these.

This poses a question - if a reconstructed language state were a theoretically possible ancestor to a language group outside those already considered as Indo-European, but also of all those including it, what would one do?

One could consider PIE a daughter language of that language state, and one could consider the language group as a hitherto missed branch of Indo-European.

For Tokharic, one opted for the latter.

With Finno-Ugric, a language having both all Indo-European as daughter languages and all Finno-Ugric ones would be a pre-Indo-European one. If it also included daughter languages like Greenlandic and Japanese and Turkic, it would be the one called Nostratic.

"Can you speak it if you are fluent in all its descendants/branches?"

No, you can't. That is one reason why the theory is hard to test.

If you are fluent in all Romance languages, you aren't automatically fluent in Latin. And Latin is far closer to any Romance language, than PIE if it existed is to any IE language. Similarily, you don't become fluent in Proto-Germanic by speaking all Germanic languages alive today, or Proto-Celtic by speaking all Celtic languages alive today.

Proto-Germanic, like Proto-Celtic, like Proto-Indo-European, are conlangs, reconstructions of what ancestor languages could have looked like, and like any other conlang, like any other language overall, that kind of conlang too has to be learned before you know it.

And while Proto-Germanic can be considered nearly testable because the very oldest inscriptions in Proto-Norse (a language actually documented, but you can't call it Old Norse because Old Norse is a language about 1000 years younger) are considered as close to Proto-Germanic, so the documentation of Proto-Norse is nearly a standin for documenting Proto-Germanic, you do not have a similar documentation of Proto-Indo-European - except by one linguist's reconstruction of it (yes different linguists reconstruct PIE differently, these are different conlangs), where it reminds fairly closely of Hittite.

Now, is Hittite in fact proof of the PIE theory, that there was such a language?

In his studies of the Hittite tablets, Hrozný observed that numerous words possessed endings which corresponded to those well known in the Indo-European languages. He demonstrated other lexical correspondences as well, including wātar “water” with Old Saxon watar, ug “I” with Latin ego , kuis “who” with Latin quis.

As confirmation, Hrozný cited a sentence from an instruction for temple servants which can be considered the first fully understood sentence of Hittitology:


Rediscovery of the Hittites

There is no doubt that words are in fact shared.

But there is also no doubt that languages can come to share words by other processes than by one descending from the other or vice versa or both from a third.

How similar are the Sanskrit people to the Latin people? Why do they say “tu”?

Answer requested by
Carlos Grey

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
“How similar” …?

Genetically, culturally and linguistically - not very.

Linguistically, there certainly is a set of words common even between Latin and Sanskrit, but not as many as between Latin, Celtic and Germanic or Latin and Greek, and not as many as between Sanskrit and Avestan. Or probably even Slavic and Sanskrit.


There are two options. Ursprache (Proto-Language) or Sprachbund (or several successives ones, it means areal features).

How do linguists decipher extinct (ancient) languages such as Latin?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
St. Nicolas of Myra
Latin never went extinct and never needed deciphering by linguists.

Same for Classical Greek.

By contrast, Akkadian and Sumerian actually did go extinct.

And these were deciphered due to bilingual or trilingual texts involving already known, since preserved, ancient languages.

“The inscription was crucial to the decipherment of cuneiform as it includes three versions of the same text written in different cuneiform-based languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and the Babylonian variety of Akkadian.”

Behistun Inscription - Wikipedia

The one of the languages that was already known (since preserved from then to our time) on this one being Old Persian.

Akkadian then gave us Sumerian:

“Whatever the status of spoken Sumerian between 2000 and 1700 BC, it is from then that a particularly large quantity of literary texts and bilingual Sumerian-Akkadian lexical lists survive, especially from the scribal school of Nippur.”

Sumerian language - Wikipedia

What is the difference between Old Latin, New Latin, and Medieval Latin?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Classic Latin is the Latin one tends to imitate. Prose authors like Cicero, Caesar, Tacitus, Sueton. Poets like Catullus, Horace and Virgil, starting with the comic poet Terence.

Old Latin is Latin that’s older than Terence.

After Classic Latin you have Late Antiquity and two types of Medieval Latin, namely the kind that starts to deviate from Classic (Jordanes, St. Gregory of Tours), and the type that’s very roughly a copy of Classic Latin, concentrating (even for prose) on Virgil and on works from Late Antiquity like Sts Augustine and Jerome.

New Latin starts when Petrarch rediscovers Cicero, and starts using this to make his prose more like Classic Latin.

I’ll give you samples of each in order.

Old Latin (Plautus):
Mercator Siculus, quoi erant gemini filii,
Ei surrupto altero mors optigit.

“A merchant from Sicily, who had twin sons, [to] him death covered after one of them had been taken away.”

In Classic Latin, quoi would have been cui, and instead of “Mercator Siculus” (nominative) + “ei” (dative) you would start with dative straight away. Mercatori Siculo, cui erant gemini filii, surrepto altero mors obtigit. And arguably “mors obtigit” + dative is not the first go-to phrase for saying someone died.

Classic Latin (Cicero):
Q. Mucius augur multa narrare de C. Laelio socero suo memoriter et iucunde solebat nec dubitare illum in omni sermone appellare sapientem; ego autem a patre ita eram deductus ad Scaevolam sumpta virili toga, ut, quoad possem et liceret, a senis latere numquam discederem; itaque multa ab eo prudenter disputata, multa etiam breviter et commode dicta memoriae mandabam fierique studebam eius prudentia doctior. Quo mortuo me ad pontificem Scaevolam contuli, quem unum nostrae civitatis et ingenio et iustitia praestantissimum audeo dicere. Sed de hoc alias; nunc redeo ad augurem.

“Quintus Mucius the augur used to tell much about his father-in-law Caius Laelius from memory and with gusto and to not hesitate to call him wise in every conversation; but I had been handed over to Scaevola by my father on taking my manlike toga on this condition, that, as much as I could and were allowed, never meave the side of the old man, and this way I confided to my memory much prudently discussed by him, much also briefly and aptly said and sought to become by his prudence more learned. When he had died, I took myself on to the pontifex Scaevola, whom singly I dare to name for our City the foremost in both talent and justice. But of him elsewhere, now I return to the augur.”

As this is Classic, no need to say how it differs from Classic, it doesn’t.

Late Antiquity (St. Augustine): Gloriosissimam ciuitatem Dei siue in hoc temporum cursu, cum inter impios peregrinatur ex fide uiuens, siue in illa stabilitate sedis aeternae, quam nunc expectat per patientiam, quoadusque iustitia conuertatur in iudicium, deinceps adeptura per excellentiam uictoria ultima et pace perfecta, hoc opere instituto et mea ad te promissione debito defendere aduersus eos, qui conditori eius deos suos praeferunt, fili carissime Marcelline, suscepi, magnum opus et arduum, sed Deus adiutor noster est.

“To defend the most glorious City of God either in this course of times, when it is stranger among the impious and lives by faith, or in that stability of its eternal seat, which now it expects with patience until justice be turned into judgement, and again the perfect peace to be attained by the most high last victory, in this work, instituted both by my promise to you and my duty [to defend it] against them who prefer their gods to its Founder, my dear son Marcellinus, I undertook a huge work and a difficult one, but God is our helper.”

Pretty close to Classic latin too.

Medieval Latin I (St. Gregory of Tours):
Principio Dominus caelum terramque in christo suo, qui est omnium principium, id est in Filio suo, furmavit, qui post creata mundi totius elementa, glebam adsumens fragilis limi, hominem ad suam imaginem similitudinemque plasmavit et insufflavit in faciem eius spiraculum vitae, et factus est in animam viventem.

“In the beginning the Lord in His Christ, who is the principle of all, that is, in His Son, formed heaven and earth, and after all elements of the entire world had been created took to Him a piece of brittle mud, formed man in his image and likeness and blew into his face the breath of life and he was made into a living soul.”

It is possible to say “principio” for “in principio”? St. Gregory of Tours does. It is possible to say “plasmavit” instead of “formavit”? St. Gregory of Tours does, especially as he has already said … “furmavit” - ah, yes, some of the vowels tend to get confused. Instead of “creatis elementis” he uses “post creata elementa” …

Medieval Latin II (Petrus Comestor):
Deinde subditur de creatione hominis sic: Faciamus hominem, etc. (Gen. I). Et loquitur Pater ad Filium, et Spiritum sanctum. Vel est quasi communis vox trium personarum, Faciamus, et nostram: factus est autem homo ad imaginem Dei, quantum ad animam . Sed imago Dei est anima in essentia, et ratione ejus, quia spiritus factus est et rationalis ut Deus. Similitudo in virtutibus, quia bona, justa, sapiens. Cum imagine pertransit homo (Psal. XXXVIII), quia illam habet etiam homo peccans, similitudine vero saepe privatur. Masculum vero et feminam creavit eos. Hoc quantum ad corpus, tamen dicitur creasse propter animam .

“Then it’s added on the creation of man, like this: “Let us make man etc” (Gen. I). And the Father is speaking to the Son and the Holy Ghost. Or the voice is like common to the three persons, “Let us make” and “our” - and man is made into the image of God, as to the soul. But the image of God is soul in essence, and for the reason because it is made spirit and rational, like God. The likeness is in virtues, since good, just, wise. With the image man goes beyond (Psalm 38), since even a sinning man has that, but is often bereft of the likeness. But “Man and woman He created them” - This as to the body, while He is said to have created for the soul.”

New Latin (St. Thomas More):

Th. Morus Domino Erasmo suo s.

Epistolae Obscurorum virorum operae pretium est videre, quantopere placent omnibus, et doctis ioco et indoctis serio, qui dum ridemus putant rideri stylum tantum, quem illi non defendunt, sed gravitate sententiarum dicunt compensatum et latere sub rudi vagina pulcherrimum gladium. Utinam fuisset inditus libello alius titulus: profecto intra centum annos homines studio stupidi non sensissent nasum quamquam rhinocerotico longiorem.

Londino 31. Oct. 1516.

“Thomas More to his Master Erasmus, salutations

The Letters of the Dark Men is a prize of work to see, how much it pleases everyone, both learned by the joke and unlearned by the seriousness, who, when we laugh think that only the style is being laughed at, which those don’t defend, but say [is] compensated by the weight of sentences and that under a rude sheath a most beautiful sword is hidden. Oh that the booklet were given another title: surely, in a hundred years men stupid by study would not sense the nose as it were longer than that of a rhinocerus.

London, 31. Oct 1516″

Back to fairly Classical Latin, plus some modern sentiment we identify easier with than with Cicero or Augustine.

Credits to Vicifons and their conspectus of categories of writers from different centuries:

Categoria:Scriptorum index chronologicus - Wikisource
[Subcategoriae Huic categoriae sunt hae 30 subcategoriae ex omnino 30 subcategoriis.]