I am not clear why Roman mosaic pavements would illuminate the
subject. They were doubtless expensive accountrements to a villa or
settlement which might not be affordable to most of the population.
It would seem somewhat tenuous to ssume their presence or absence points
to the language they were speaking? Linguistics is not my field of
study but I am wondering, if there are few Latin loan words in English,
if that is because English became mandatory at the Reformation?
>Raimund Karl wrote:
>>> 1) The linguists who say that the widespread loss of the Celtic
>>> languages and very few loan words into English can only be examined
>>> by mass extermination of the local population by a mass immigration
>> Except of course those linguists who argue that the area where AS
>> became dominant was that which had been most thoroughly romanised,
>> and where in all likelihood (much as in 'romanised' Gaul) Latin had
>> already more or less completely replaced 'native British' languages.
>> Which allows nicely to explain why there are only a few British
>> loanwords in English without any need for either comet-induced or
>> other mass extinctions, mass migrations or apartheid policies.
>> Whereas in areas that hadn't been as thoroughly romanised (Cornwall,
>> much of Wales, Cumbria & the North), British languages are well
>> attested after the 'end of Roman Britain'.
>I would certainly agree that there is a much greater likelihood of Latin
>being spoken in lowland England. I was very struck by a distribution map of
>Roman mosaic pavements in which they avoided 'Celtic' areas of Britain
>(including Devon, in this case.) But this retains the problem, while just
>changing the language: if that was the case, and there was assimilation of
>the local population, there should be vastly more Latin loanwords in
>English. After all, in France (except for Brittany) they don't speak
>Gaulish, or even Frankish: they speak Latin!