Fellow ECPR-THEORY listers,
Those involved with studying the evolution of the modern Romance languages may be interested in a recent development. The writing system of a Medieval manuscript has been revealed as a form of proto-Romance, thereby providing the transitional link between spoken Latin and the modern Romance languages.

It is evident that Mediterranean spoken Latin became mixed with words from other languages due to trade, slavery, conquest, royal marriage and the general exchange of information and ideas. In other words, proto-Romance was a lingua franca for communication between peoples from many places. It subsequently evolved into the modern Romance languages during the Renaissance, when the political map became more stable, thus limiting meme flow in southern Europe. 

A number of southern European scholars are now studying the manuscript, both for its linguistic value and its historic content. It divulges a great deal of information about the culture and beliefs in the Mediterranean during the 15th century.

Two draft papers, explaining the writing system, can be freely downloaded from the preprint website LingBuzz:
1. Linguistic Missing Links: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003737
2. Linguistically Dating and Locating: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003808
G. E. Cheshire.

University of Bristol. 

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