Latin languages

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Fri May 21 15:29:25 UTC 2004

On Fri, May 21, 2004 at 08:19:54AM -0700, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> both the computer usage and khader's show a language/script confusion,
> but they come at it from different directions: the computer usage is
> intended to pick out scripts (namely, the ones that are troublesome for
> the  most common encoding schemes) by referring to the languages that
> use those scripts, while khader's aims to pick out languages (namely,
> the ones not associated with the religion islam or with arab culture)
> by referring to the scripts those languages use.  a subtle difference,
> perhaps, but i think a very important one.
> lexicographers: would this difference merit two subentries for LATIN
> LANGUAGE?  if so, how would the two subentries be distinguished in
> their definitions?

While I agree that the difference is important, I think that it is one
that can't be adequately treated in a dictionary entry.

I also note that OED, at _Latin_ n. 2.a., includes the lemma _Latin
letter_ 'a letter of the Latin alphabet', and this does seem to be
the sense we're discussing. Two recent examples are from K. H.
Jackson's _Language & History in Early Britain,_ and OED only
cites "Latin-letter inscriptions"; while I don't have the book handy
I assume this is in contrast to Ogham; and a 1965 _Language_ which
notes that "All Serbo-Croatian examples..are cited in conventional
Latin-letter orthography".

When we revise this we'll allow _Latin_ to be used in this sense
outside of the lemma _Latin letter,_ but it seems the core is there.

Jesse Sheidlower

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