This question was just recently closed as off-topic:

When and why did Latin mutate into Italian, French and Spanish?

I think the 'too broad' closure was appropriate. In terms of defining the scope of Latin.SE more clearly, though, I'm wondering if the question might be narrowed/split into a form where the divided pieces are on-topic.

So, for example, should one or more of the following, narrower questions be on-topic?

  • When and why did Latin evolve into Italian?

  • When and how did Latin evolve into Italian?

  • When did Latin evolve into Italian?

  • How did Latin evolve into Italian?

More generally: Do we want questions about the relationships between Latin and other languages to be on- or off-topic?

  • 2
    Um … the how questions could fill books, I’m afraid.
    – chirlu
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 22:02
  • @chirlu <nod>, such how and why questions are very likely too broad. But, that's why I'm raising the question here, so that it gets explicitly discussed. A high level overview of the transformation may or may not be too lengthy for the format. I don't really know.
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 22:10
  • Broad questions can still be answered concisely...
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


I think the questions you propose are still too broad, although not as badly as the closed question you mention. Latin evolving into Italian is a large phenomenon, and it would be better to ask about one specific thing at a time. For example, something along the following lines would look good to me:

  • Can you give two example texts, one written in Latin and one in early Italian that were written at almost the same time? Please indicate times and places for the texts and argue why one is Latin and the other is Italian. I would like to understand the transition from Latin to Italian via a concrete example.
  • What are some early signs of regional dialects developing in Latin? I am mainly looking for regional properties that persist in some form in today's Romance languages. In other words, I want an early example of Latin starting to develop into its daughter languages.
  • Did developments in medieval Latin influence Italian language in any way after the two languages were generally considered separate? If yes, can you give an example?
  • This text is described as early Italian: <insert quote>. How can we argue that this text is no longer Latin?

In my opinion SE sites work much better via small(ish) concrete questions. Even if you want to see a bigger picture, ask so that a good answer can be given concisely. Often big pictures are best seen through examples and specific sub-questions.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .