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Baltic Palaeocomparativism And The Idea That Lithuanian Is A Neo-Latin Language

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Chapter Summary

Among the humanists active at the Vilnius court in the second half of the sixteenth century Venceslaus Agrippa is worthy of mention, because of his peculiar linguistic ideas. This chapter discusses V. Agrippa's conception of the linguistic relationships between Latin and Lithuanian. Agrippa expressed his ideas in some passages of the Oratio fvnebris de illvstrissimi principis, a text composed in Latin on the occasion of Jonas Radvila's death, and published in Germany. With this sort of panegyric Agrippa intended to present his homeland to the other European nations and hoped that it would attain a preeminent position among them. In modern terms one sees that in Agrippa's mind Lithuanian, like Italian, belonged to the so-called Neo-Latin or Romance languages.

Keywords: Lithuanian language; neo-Latin language; palaeocomparativism; Venceslaus Agrippa



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