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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna, Lillia de Vaux, and Alys Mackyntoich

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February 2012 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

The idea of a language as a single entity that is more or less the same across an entire country is a post-period idea. Instead, in the Middle Ages, the dialect spoken in an area gradually changed as one moved from north to south or east to west, so that the kind of French spoken in Paris slowly faded until it became the kind of Occitan spoken in Marseilles. Even within what today we call French, a variety of dialects were spoken. Getting everyone to speak the language of the capital was a project that continued until well after the end of our period.

For purposes of registration, we have to define lines between languages, even if it wasn't always that clear-cut in period. Thus, we don't distinguish between the kind of Castilian (Spanish) spoken in Leon from that spoken in Aragon, even though linguists treat them as different during the Middle Ages. However, we do distinguish between Catalan and Occitan, two different languages spoken in eastern Spain and southern France. Likewise, we don't distinguish between the kind of Italian spoken in Tuscany from the kind of Italian spoken in Venice or in southern Italy. Thus, a registerable name may combine elements from Venice, from Tuscany, and from southern Italy without penalty.

For authenticity requests, on the other hand, we pay attention to those differences between regional forms. An authentic name should include elements from relatively close locations, because regional differences in name usage are often quite different. A name submission that requests authenticity for Venice should not depend on documentation from southern Italy (or at least the submitter should anticipate that the form of the name will be changed from the documented form).

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