De vulgari eloquentia (I, viii, 1-9)

(1) Ex precedenter memorata confusione linguarum non leviter oppinamur per universa mundi climata climatumque plagas incolendas et angulos tunc primum homines fuisse dispersos. Et cum radix humane propaginis principalis in oris orientalibus sit plantata, nec non ab inde ad utrunque latus per diffusos multipliciter palmites nostra sit extensa propago demumque ad fines occidentales protracta, forte primitus tunc vel totius Europe flumina, vel saltim quedam, rationalia guttura potaverunt. (1) The confusion of languages recorded above leads me, on no trivial grounds, to the opinion that it was then that human beings were first scattered throughout the whole world, into every temperate zone and habitable region, right to its furthest corners. And since the principal root from which the human race has grown was planted in the East, and from there our growth has spread, through many branches and in all directions, finally reaching the furthest limits of the West, perhaps it was then that the rivers of all Europe, or at least some of them, first refreshed the throats of rational beings.
(2) Sed, sive advene tunc primitus advenissent, sive ad Europam indigene repedissent, ydioma secum tripharium homines attulerunt; et afferentium hoc alii meridionalem, alii septentrionalem regionem in Europa sibi sortiti sunt; et tertii, quos nunc Grecos vocamus, partim Europe, partim Asie occuparunt. (2) But, whether they were arriving then for the a first time, or whether they had been born in Europe and were now returning there, these people brought with them a tripartite language. Of those who brought it, some found their way to southern Europe and some to northern; and a third group, whom we now call Greeks, settled partly in Europe and partly in Asia.
(3) Ab uno postea eodemque ydiomate in vindice confusione recepto, diversa vulgaria traxerunt originem, sicut inferius ostendemus. (3) Later, from this tripartite language (which had been received in that vengeful confusion), different vernaculars developed, as I shall show below.
(4) Nam totum quod ab hostiis Danubii sive Meotidis Paludibus usque ad fines occidentales Anglie, Ytalorum Francorumque finibus et Occeano limitatur, solum unum obtinuit ydioma, licet postea per Sclavones, Ungaros, Teotonicos, Saxones, Anglicos, et alias nationes quamplures fuerit per diversa vulgaria dirivatum, hoc solo fere omnibus in signum eiusdem principii remanente, quod quasi predicti omnes affirmando respondent. (4) For in that whole area that extends from the mouth of the Danube (or the Meotide marshes) to the westernmost shores of England, and which is defined by the boundaries of the Italians and the French, and by the ocean, only one language prevailed, although later it was split up into many vernaculars by the Slavs, the Hungarians, the Teutons, the Saxons, the English, and several other nations. Only one sign of their common origin remains in almost all of them, namely that nearly all the nations listed above, when they answer in the affirmative, say iò.
(5) Ab isto incipiens ydiomate, videlicet a finibus Ungarorum versus orientem, aliud occupavit totum quod ab inde vocatur Europa, nec non ulterius est protractum. (5) Starting from the furthest point reached by this vernacular (that is, from the boundary of the Hungarians towards the east), another occupied all the rest of what, from there onwards, is called Europe; and it stretches even beyond that.
(6) Totum vero quod in Europa restat ab istis, tertium tenuit ydioma, licet nunc tripharium videatur; nam alii oc, alii oïl, alii affirmando locuntur; ut puta Yspani, Franci et Latini. Signum autem quod ab uno eodemque ydiomate istarum trium gentium progrediantur vulgaria, in promptu est, quia multa per eadem vocabula nominare videntur, ut Deum, celum, amorem, mare, terram, est, vivit, moritur, amat, alia fere omnia. (6) All the rest of Europe that was not dominated by these two vernaculars was held by a third, although nowadays this itself seems to be divided in three: for some now say oc, some oïl, and some sì, when they answer in the affirmative; and these are the Hispanic, the French, and the Italians. Yet the sign that the vernaculars of these three peoples derive from one and the same language is plainly apparent: for they can be seen to use the same words to signify many things, such as 'God', 'heaven', 'love', 'sea,' 'earth', 'is', 'lives', 'dies', 'loves', and almost all others.
(7) Istorum vero proferentes oc meridionalis Europe tenent partem occidentalem, a Ianuensium finibus incipientes. (7) Of these peoples, those who say oc live in the western part of southern Europe, beginning from the boundaries of the Genoese.
(8) Qui autem dicunt a predictis finibus orientalem tenent, videlicet usque ad promuntorium illud Ytalie, qua sinus Adriatici maris incipit, et Siciliam. (8) Those who say sì, however, live to the east of those boundaries, all the way to that outcrop of Italy from which the gulf of the Adriatic begins, and in Sicily.
(9) Sed loquentes oïl quodam modo septentrionales sunt respectu istorum: nam ab oriente Alamanos habent; a septentrione et ab occidente Anglico mari vallati sunt et montibus Aragonie terminati; a meridie quoque Provincialibus et Apennini devexione clauduntur. (9) But those who say oïl live somewhat to the north of these others, for to the east they have the Germans, on the west and north they are hemmed in by the English sea and by the mountains of Aragon, and to the south they are enclosed by the people of Provence and the slopes of the Apennines.