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date: 22 January 2021

British Latinlocked

  • Benjamin Fortson

Extract

The Latin spoken in the British Isles during and shortly after the Roman occupation (43–410ce). It left numerous traces in loanwords into British Celtic (spoken by the indigenous Celtic population of England and ancestral to Welsh, Cornish, and Breton) and early Anglo-Saxon (Old English). It is probable that British Latin over time developed differently from the Latin spoken on the Continent, but scholars do not agree on what its distinctive features were. This is in spite of the dramatic discoveries starting in the late 20th century (e.g., the Vindolanda tablets) that have greatly augmented the documentation of British Latin. Unlike on the Continent, Latin in Britain did not live on past the Roman occupation, and no Romance language grew out of it; the reasons for this have also been the subject of debate.

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