De Vulgari Eloquentia (Cambridge Medieval Classics) by Dante Alighieri

By Dante Alighieri

De vulgari eloquentia, written by way of Dante within the early years of the fourteenth century, is the single identified paintings of medieval literary concept to were produced through a training poet, and the 1st to say the intrinsic superiority of residing, vernacular languages over Latin.

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Starting from the furthest point reached by this vernacular (that is, from the boundary of the Hungarians towards the east), another occupied all the rest of what, from there onwards, is called Europe; and it stretches even beyond that. All the rest of Europe that was not dominated by these two vernaculars was held by a third, although nowadays this itself seems to be divided in three: for some now say oc, some o'il and some si when they answer in the affirmative; and these are the Hispanic,28 the French, and the Italians.

What other father would have borne so many insults from his child? Yet, rising up not with an enemy's whip but that of a father, already accustomed to dealing out punishment, He chastised His rebellious offspring with a lesson as holy as it was memorable. Almost the whole of the human race had collaborated in this work of 6 evil. Some gave orders, some drew up designs; some built walls, some measured them with plumb-lines, some smeared mortar on them with trowels; some were intent on breaking stones, some on carrying them by sea, some by land; and other groups still were engaged in other activities - until they were all struck by a great blow from heaven.

IV Soli homini datum fuit ut loqueretur, ut ex premissis manifestum est. 4 And if it be claimed that, to this day, magpies and other birds do indeed speak, I say that this is not so; for their act is not speaking, but rather an imitation of the sound of the human voice - or it may be that they try to imitate us in so far as we make a noise, but not in so far as we speak. So that, if to someone who said 'pied 5 aloud the bird were to return the word 'pied, this would only be a reproduction or imitation of the sound made by the person who uttered the word first.

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