Latin Explained

Latin
Nativename:lingua latina
States:Latium, Roman Monarchy, Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Medieval and Early modern Europe, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (as lingua franca), Vatican City
Era:Vulgar Latin developed into Romance languages, 6th to 9th centuries; the formal language continued as the scholarly lingua franca of medieval Western Europe and as the liturgical language of the Roman Catholic Church
Familycolor:Indo-European
Fam2:Italic
Fam3:Latino-Faliscan
Imagecaption:Latin inscription in the Colosseum
Mapcaption:Greatest extent of the Roman Empire. Latin was by no means confined to these regions, and Koine Greek, Coptic, Syriac, and other native languages dominated the eastern half.
Agency:In antiquity, Roman schools of grammar and rhetoric.[1] Today, Opus Fundatum Latinitas.[2]
Script:Latin alphabet 
Iso1:la
Iso2:lat
Iso3:lat
Lingua:51-AAB-a
Notice:IPA

Latin (; Latin: Latin: ''lingua latīna'',) is an Italic language[3] originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. It originated in the Italian peninsula. Although it is considered a dead language, many scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and it is widely taught in secondary and post-secondary, and also in primary educational institutions.[4] [5] Latin is still used in the creation of new words in modern languages of many different families, including English, and in biological taxonomy. Latin and its daughter Romance languages are the only surviving languages of the Italic language family. Other languages of the Italic branch are attested in inscriptions surviving from early Italy, but were assimilated during the Roman Republic.

The extensive use of elements from vernacular speech by the earliest authors and inscriptions of the Roman Republic make it clear that the original, unwritten language of the Roman Monarchy was an only partially deducible colloquial form, the predecessor to Vulgar Latin. By the late Roman Republic, a standard, literate form had arisen from the speech of the educated, now referred to as Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin, by contrast, is the name given to the more rapidly changing colloquial language spoken throughout the empire. With the Roman conquest, Latin spread to many Mediterranean regions, and the dialects spoken in these areas, mixed to various degrees with the autochthonous languages, developed into the Romance tongues, including Aragonese, Catalan, Corsican, French, Galician, Italian, Occitan, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, and Spanish.[6] Classical Latin slowly changed with the Decline of the Roman Empire, as education and wealth became ever scarcer. The consequent Medieval Latin, influenced by various Germanic and proto-Romance languages until expurgated by Renaissance scholars, was used as the language of international communication, scholarship and science until well into the 18th century, when it began to be supplanted by vernacular languages.

Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, seven noun cases, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two aspects and two numbers. A dual number is present in Archaic Latin. One of the rarer of the seven cases is the locative, only used with nouns that signify a location. The vocative, used in direct discourse, is identical to the nominative except for words of the second declension. Though various authors have proposed differing totals, there are only five fully productive cases. Adjectives and adverbs are compared, and the former are inflected according to case, gender, and number. Although Classical Latin has demonstrative pronouns indicating varying degree of proximity, it doesn't have articles. Later Romance language articles developed from the demonstrative pronouns; e.g., le and la from ille and illa.

In terms of vocabulary, however, Latin tends to preserve the original forms of many Indo-European roots. Compared to other Indo-European languages of antiquity, such as Sanskrit and Ancient Greek, the word forms in the Classical era are far more reflective of their etyma. Languages such as Sanskrit, however, tend to be more conservative with regards to grammar.

Legacy

Latin's culture has been passed down through these broad genres:

Inscriptions

Most inscriptions have been published in an internationally agreed-upon, monumental, multi-volume series termed the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL). Authors and publishers vary but the format is approximately the same: volumes detailing inscriptions with a critical apparatus stating the provenance and relevant information. The reading and interpretation of these inscriptions is the subject matter of the field of epigraphy. There are approximately 270,000 known inscriptions.

Literature

The works of several hundred ancient authors who wrote in Latin have survived in whole or in part, in substantial works or in fragments to be analyzed in philology. They are in part the subject matter of the field of classics. Their works were published in manuscript form before the invention of printing and now exist in carefully annotated printed editions such as the Loeb Classical Library by Harvard University Press or the Oxford Classical Texts by Oxford University Press.

Influence on English

See main article: Latin influence in English. In the medieval period, much borrowing from Latin occurred through ecclesiastical usage established by Saint Augustine of Canterbury in the 6th century, or indirectly after the Norman Conquest through the Anglo-Norman language. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, English writers cobbled together huge numbers of new words from Latin and Greek words. These were dubbed "inkhorn terms", as if they had spilled from a pot of ink. Many of these words were used once by the author and then forgotten, but some which proved useful survived, such as imbibe and extrapolate. Many of the most common polysyllabic English words are of Latin origin, through the medium of Old French.

Classical education

See main article: Instruction in Latin.

Throughout European history, an education in the Classics was considered a must for those who wished to join literate circles. In today's world, a large number of Latin students in America learn from Wheelock's Latin: The Classic Introductory Latin Course, Based on Ancient Authors. This book, first published in 1956,[7] was written by Frederic M. Wheelock, who received a PhD from Harvard University. Wheelock's Latin has become the standard text for many American introductory Latin courses.

Formal support for the study of Latin

The Living Latin movement attempts to teach Latin in the same way that living languages are taught, i.e., as a means of both spoken and written communication. It is available at the Vatican, and at some institutions in the U.S., such as the University of Kentucky and Iowa State University. The British Cambridge University Press is a major supplier of Latin textbooks for all levels, such as the Cambridge Latin Course series. It has also published a subseries of children's texts in Latin by Bell & Forte, which recount the adventures of a mouse called Minimus.

In the United Kingdom, the Classical Association encourages the study of antiquity through various means, such as publications and grants. In the United States and Canada, the American Classical League supports every effort to further the study of classics. Its subsidiaries include: the National Junior Classical League (with more than 50,000 members), which encourages high school students to pursue the study of Latin, and the National Senior Classical League, which encourages students to continue their study of the classics into college. The league also sponsors the National Latin Exam. Classicist Mary Beard wrote in The Times Literary Supplement in 2006 that the reason for learning Latin is because of what was written in it.[8]

Latin is taught as a mandatory subject in gymnasia and other so-called classical high schools, located chiefly in Europe. In the United States, although once offered nearly universally, Latin is limited to elective status in a steadily declining number of grade schools, both public and private. The ordinary student can no longer count on being able to take Latin, but there are, however, extracurricular means. The College Board examinations, which serve as an educational tool for the admission of students into colleges, still features one Latin examination on a voluntary basis: .

Latin translations of modern literature

Latin translations of modern literature such as Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Tintin, Asterix, Harry Potter, Walter the Farting Dog, Le Petit Prince, Max und Moritz, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Cat in the Hat and a book of fairy tales, "fabulae mirabiles", are intended to garner popular interest in the language. Additional resources include phrasebooks and resources for rendering everyday phrases and concepts into Latin, such as Meissner's Latin Phrasebook.

Constructed languages based on Latin

Many international auxiliary languages have been heavily influenced by Latin. Interlingua, which lays claim to a sizeable following, is sometimes considered a simplified, modern version of the language. Latino sine Flexione, popular in the early 20th century, is Latin with its inflections stripped away, among other grammatical changes.

History

See main article: History of Latin. Latin has been divided into historical phases, each of which is distinguished by subtle differences in vocabulary, usage, spelling, morphology and syntax. In addition to the historical phases, Ecclesiastical Latin refers to the styles used by the writers of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as Protestant scholars, from Late Antiquity onward. It is also the longest living language to date.

Archaic Latin

See main article: Archaic Latin. The earliest known form is Archaic Latin, which was spoken from ancient times up to the middle Republican period, and attested in several inscriptions, as well as some of the earliest extant literary works. During this period, the Latin alphabet was first introduced by Rome's Etruscan rulers. The writing style later changed from an initial right-to-left or boustrophedon to a left-to-right script.[9] Archaic Latin is attested through thousands of inscriptions from the Roman Republic, and through the writings of early authors such as Plautus, whose comedies are the earliest substantial works written in Latin.

Classical Latin

See main article: Classical Latin. During the late republic and into the first years of the empire, a new Classical Latin arose, a conscious creation of the orators, poets, historians and other literate men, who wrote the great works of classical literature, which were taught in grammar and rhetoric schools. Today's instructional grammars trace their roots to these schools, which served as a sort of informal language academy dedicated to maintaining and perpetuating educated speech.[10] [11]

Vulgar Latin

See main article: Vulgar Latin. Philological analysis of Archaic Latin works, such as Plautus', which contain snippets of everyday speech, indicates that a spoken language, which has from ancient times been called Vulgar Latin (sermo vulgi by Cicero), the language of the vulgus or "commoners", existed alongside the literate Classical Latin. Since this language, by virtue of its informality, was rarely written, philologists have been left with individual words and phrases cited by Classical authors, as well as those found as graffiti.

As vernacular Latin was free to develop on its own, there is no reason to expect that the speech was uniform either diachronically or geographically. Just the opposite must have been true, as Romanized European populations developed their own dialects of the This is the situation that prevailed when the Migration Period, ca. 300-700 AD, brought an end to the unity of the Roman world and removed the stabilizing influence of its institutions upon the language. A post-classical phase of Latin appeared, Late Latin, which was far more influenced by the everyday parlance.

One of the tests as to whether a given Latin feature or usage was in the spoken language is to compare its reflex in a Romance language with the equivalent formation in classical Latin. If it appeared in the Romance language but was not preferred in classical Latin, then it is most likely vulgar Latin. For example, the noun-case system is present in classical Latin, but not in the Romance languages, apart from remnants in Romanian. One might conclude that case endings throughout most of the Roman world started fading some time after the abandonment of Dacia in AD 271, even while their use continued in literate circles. In addition, much Romance vocabulary arose in vulgar Latin, rather than classical. The following examples adhere to this formula: classical Latin/vulgar Latin/Italian/French/Spanish/Portuguese: ignis/focus/fuoco/feu/fuego/fogo, equus/caballus/cavallo/cheval/caballo/cavalo, loqui/parabolare/parlare/parler/hablar/falar (from fabulari). In each case, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese use terms that are derived from vulgar Latin (although classical equa gave rise to Spanish yegua and Portuguese égua, all meaning "mare"). Thus, we can deduce the everyday vocabulary of late Roman times.

The expansion of the Roman Empire spread Latin throughout Europe and North Africa. Vulgar Latin already began to diverge into distinct languages by the 9th century at the very latest, when the earliest extant Romance writings begin to appear. They were, throughout the Dark Ages, confined to everyday speech, as medieval Latin was used for writing.

Medieval Latin

See main article: Medieval Latin.

The term Medieval Latin refers to the written Latin in use during that portion of the post-classical period when no corresponding Latin vernacular existed. The spoken language had developed into the various incipient Romance Languages; however, in the educated and official world Latin continued without its natural spoken base. Moreover, this Latin spread into lands that had never spoken Latin, such as the Germanic and Slavic nations. It became useful as a means of international communication between the member states of the Holy Roman Empire and its allies.

Cut loose from its corrective spoken base and severed from the vanished institutions of the Roman empire that had supported its uniformity, medieval Latin lost its linguistic cohesion; for example, suus ("his/her own"), sui ("his/her own") and eius ("his/her") are used almost interchangeably, a confusion not resolved until the Renaissance, in works such as the tract of Lorenzo Valla, De reciprocatione suus et sui. In classical Latin sum and eram are used as auxiliary verbs in the perfect and pluperfect passive, which are compound tenses. Medieval Latin might use fui and fueram instead.[12] Furthermore the meanings of many words have been changed and new vocabulary has been introduced from the vernacular.

While these minor changes are not enough to impair comprehension of the language, they introduce a certain flexibility not in it previously. The style of each individual author is characterized by his own uses of classically incorrect Latin to such a degree that one can identify him just by reading his Latin. In that sense medieval Latin is a collection of individual idioms united loosely by the main structures of the language. Some are more classical, others less so.[12] The majority of these writers were influential members of the Christian church: bishops, monks, philosophers, etc.; however, the term "Ecclesiastical Latin" does not accurately apply. There was no uniform language of the church. Late Latin is sometimes classified as medieval, sometimes not. Certainly many of the individual Latins were influenced by the vernaculars of their authors.

Renaissance Latin

See main article: Renaissance Latin.

The Renaissance briefly reinforced the position of Latin as a spoken language, through its adoption by the Renaissance Humanists. Often led by members of the clergy, they were shocked by the accelerated dismantling of the vestiges of the classical world and the rapid loss of its literature. They strove to preserve what they could. It was they who introduced the practice of producing revised editions of the literary works that remained by comparing surviving manuscripts, and they who attempted to restore Latin to what it had been. They corrected medieval Latin out of existence no later than the 15th century and replaced it with more formally correct versions supported by the scholars of the rising universities, who attempted, through scholarship, to discover what the classical language had been.

Phonology

See main article: Latin spelling and pronunciation. Pronunciation of Latin by the Romans in ancient times has been reconstructed from a variety of data, such as the evolution of features of the Romance languages, the representation of Latin words in other languages, such as Greek, the metrical patterns of Latin poetry, and more.[13] This reconstruction is known as (pronuntiatio) restituta "restored pronunciation" among Latin speakers of today and widely adopted for reasons of perceptibility. The table below lists the consonant phonemes of Classical Latin (1st century BC, beginning 1st century AD)

 LabialDentalPalatalVelarGlottal
plainlabial
Plosivevoicedbdɡ 
voicelesspt k
aspirated 
Fricativevoiced z
voicelessfsh
Nasalmn   
Rhoticr   
Approximant ljw

Latin spelling of the Classical period seems to have been largely phonemic, with each letter corresponding to a specific phoneme in the language, save for some exceptions. In particular, all vowels varied in pronunciation depending upon their vowel length, the letter ‹n› represented either a dental nasal, a velar nasal, or lengthening and nasalization of the preceding vowel if an ‹f› or ‹s› follows, and the letters ‹i› and ‹u› represented either consonants or vowels depending on context. Although Classical Latin did not have a distinction between either i and j or u or v, in later publications, i and u can represent solely the vowel form while j and v solely the consonant form.

Most of the letters are (after this reconstruction) pronounced the same as in English, but note the following:

Consonants:

Long consonants are represented by doubled spelling: puella = ("girl"; similar to Italian nella), littera = ("letter", "character"; as in Italian petto), accidere = ("to happen"; stress on the second syllable; as in Italian ecco), addere = ("to add"), pessime = ("very/most badly") and the like.

It is also notable that consonants at the end of syllables close these syllables clearly, that means the latter are pronounced longer: e.g. amare = ("to love") has the quantitative structure short-long-short, whereas armare = ("to arm") shows long-long-short. This feature of classical Latin is crucial to the understanding and retracing of Latin poetical rhythms of classical and ensuing times, which are mainly based on syllable lengths, less on the word stresses.

Vowels:

Classical Latin distinguished between long and short vowels, and the use of the apex, which indicates long vowels, was quite widespread during classical and postclassical times. In modern texts, long vowels are often indicated by a macron ‹ā, ē, ī, ō, ū›, and short vowels are sometimes indicated by a breve ‹ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, ŭ›. The vowel length distinction began to fade by Late Latin.

A vowel followed by an ‹m› or ‹n› (maintained later by some Romance languages), either at the end of a word (‹m› only) or before another consonant, is nasal, as in monstrum, and in many cases the consonant is not pronounced, as in French and Portuguese.[14]

Orthography

See main article: Latin alphabet. Latin was written using the Latin Alphabet, derived from the Old Italic alphabet, in turn drawn from the Greek and ultimately the Phoenician alphabet. This alphabet has continued to be used throughout centuries as the script for the Romance, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Finnic, and many Slavic languages (Polish, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian and Czech), as well as for others as Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Niger–Congo languages.

The Latin alphabet has varied in number of letters. When it was first adopted from the Etruscan alphabet, it contained only 21. Later, “G”, representing, formerly included under “C”, was innovated to replace “Z”, which was non-functional, as the language had no voiced alveolar fricative at the time. The letters “Y” and “Z” were later added to represent the Greek Upsilon and Zeta respectively in Greek loanwords. “W” was created in the 11th century from VV. It represented in Germanic languages, not in Latin, which still uses “V” for the purpose. “J” was distinguished from the original “I” only during the late Middle Ages along with the letter “U” from “V”. Although some dictionaries use “J” it is for the most part eschewed for Latin text as non-original, although other languages use it.

Classical Latin did not contain punctuation, macrons (although apices were used to distinguish length in vowels), lowercase letters, or interword spacing (but the interpunct was used at times in Latin’s history). So, a sentence originally written as:

LVGETEOVENERESCVPIDINESQVE

would be rendered in a modern edition as

Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesqueor with macrons

Lūgēte, Ō Venerēs Cupīdinēsque.

and translated as

Mourn, O Venuses and Cupids.The Roman cursive script is commonly found on the many wax tablets excavated at sites such as forts, an especially extensive set having been discovered at Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall in Britain. Curiously enough, most of the Vindolanda tablets show spaces between words, though spaces were avoided in monumental inscriptions from that era.

Grammar

See main article: Latin grammar. Latin is a synthetic, fusional language: affixes (often suffixes, which usually encode more than one grammatical category) are attached to fixed stems to express gender, number, and case in adjectives, nouns, and pronouns—a process called declension. Affixes are attached to fixed stems of verbs, as well, to denote person, number, tense, voice, mood, and aspect—a process called conjugation.

Nouns

See main article: Latin declension.

There are seven Latin noun cases. These mark a noun's syntactic role in the sentence, so word order is not as important in Latin as it is in some other languages, such as English. Words can typically be moved around in a sentence without significantly altering its meaning, although the emphasis may have been altered.True order of nouns is:

  1. Nominative - used when the noun is the subject or a predicate nominative. The thing or person acting; e.g., the girl ran: puella cucurrit, or cucurrit puella
  2. Genitive - used when the noun is the possessor of an object (e.g., "the horse of the man", or "the man's horse"—in both of these instances, the word man would be in the genitive case when translated into Latin). Also indicates material of which something greater is made (e.g., "a group of people"; "a number of gifts"—people and gifts would be in the genitive case). Some nouns are genitive with special verbs and adjectives too. (e.g., The cup is full of wine. Poculum plenum vini est. The master of the slave had beaten him. Dominus servi eum verberaverat.)
  3. Dative - used when the noun is the indirect object of the sentence, with special verbs, with certain prepositions, and if used as agent, reference, or even possessor. (e.g., The merchant hands over the stola to the woman. Mercator feminae stolam tradit.)
  4. Accusative - used when the noun is the direct object of the sentence/phrase, with certain prepositions, or as the subject of an infinitive. The thing or person having something done to them. (e.g., The slave woman carries the wine. Ancilla vinum portat.) In addition, there are certain constructions where the accusative can be used for the subject of a clause, one being the indirect statement.
  5. Vocative - used when the noun is used in a direct address. The vocative form of a noun is the same as the nominative except for second declension nouns ending in -us. The -us becomes an -e or if it ends in -ius (such as filius) then the ending is just -i (fili) (as distinct from the plural nominative (filii)). (e.g., "Master!" shouted the slave. "Domine!" servus clamavit.)
  6. Ablative used when the noun demonstrates separation or movement from a source, cause, agent, or instrument, or when the noun is used as the object of certain prepositions; adverbial. (e.g., You walked with the boy. tu cum puero ambulavisti.)
  7. Locative, used to indicate a location and services (corresponding to the English "in" or "at"). This is far less common than the other six cases of Latin nouns and usually applies to cities, small towns, and islands smaller than the island of Rhodes, but not including Rhodes, along with a few common nouns. In the first and second declension singular, its form coincides with the genitive (Roma becomes Romae, "in Rome"). In the plural, and in the other declensions, it coincides with the dative and ablative (Athenae becomes Athenis, "at Athens"). In the case of the fourth declension word domus the locative form, domi ("at home") differs from the standard form of all the other cases.

Latin lacks definite and indefinite articles; thus puer currit can mean either "the boy is running" or "a boy is running."

Verbs

See main article: Latin conjugation. Verbs in Latin are usually identified by four main conjugations, groups of verbs with similarly inflected forms. The first conjugation is typified by active infinitive forms ending in -āre, the second by active infinitives ending in -ēre, the third by active infinitives ending in -ere, and the fourth by active infinitives ending in -īre. However, there are exceptions to these rules. Further, there is a subset of the 3rd conjugation, the -iō verbs, which behave somewhat like the 4th conjugation. There are six general tenses in Latin (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect), three grammatical moods (indicative, imperative and subjunctive, in addition to the infinitive, participle, gerund, gerundive and supine), three persons (first, second, and third), two numbers (singular and plural), two voices (active and passive), and a few aspects. Verbs are described by four principal parts:

  1. The first principal part is the first person (or third person for impersonal verbs) singular, present tense, indicative mood, active voice form of the verb (or passive voice for verbs lacking an active voice).
  2. The second principal part is the present infinitive active (or passive for verbs lacking an active) form.
  3. The third principal part is the first person (or third person for impersonal verbs) singular, perfect indicative active (or passive when there is no active) form.
  4. The fourth principal part is the supine form, or alternatively, the nominative singular, perfect passive participle form of the verb. The fourth principal part can show either one gender of the participle, or all three genders (-us for masculine, -a for feminine, and -um for neuter). It can also be the future participle when the verb cannot be made passive. Most modern Latin dictionaries, if only showing one gender, tend to show the masculine; however, many older dictionaries will instead show the neuter. The fourth principal part is sometimes omitted for intransitive verbs, although strictly in Latin these can be made passive if used impersonally.

There are six tenses in the Latin language; these are the present, future, future perfect, imperfect, perfect, and pluperfect. They each have a set of endings corresponding to the person and number referred to. This means that subject pronouns (e.g. ego "I") tend to be included only for emphasis or contrast. The following table lists the endings for the active voice of each of these tenses.

Tense1st singular ending2nd singular ending3rd singular ending1st plural ending2nd plural ending3rd plural ending
Future Perfect-ero-eris-erit-erimus-eritis-erint
Future-bo, -am-bis, -es-bit, -et-bimus, -emus-bitis, -etis-bunt, -ent
Present-o-s-t-mus-tis-nt
Imperfect-bam-bas-bat-bamus-batis-bant
Perfect-i-isti-it-imus-istis-erunt
Pluperfect-eram-eras-erat-eramus-eratis-erant

Vocabulary

As Latin is an Italic language, most of its vocabulary is likewise Italic, deriving ultimately from PIE. However, because of close cultural interaction, the Romans not only had adapted the Etruscan alphabet to form the Latin alphabet, but also had borrowed some Etruscan words into their language, including persona (mask) and histrio (actor). Latin also included vocabulary borrowed from Oscan, another Italic language.

After the Fall of Tarentum (272 BC), the Romans began hellenizing, or adopting features of Greek culture, including the borrowing of Greek words, such as camera (vaulted roof), sumbolum (symbol), and balineum (bath). This hellenization led to the addition of "Y" and "Z" to the alphabet to represent Greek sounds.[15] Subsequently the Romans transplanted Greek art, medicine, science and philosophy to Italy, paying almost any price to entice Greek skilled and educated persons to Rome, and sending their youth to be educated in Greece. Thus, many Latin scientific and philosophical words were Greek loanwords or had their meanings expanded by association with Greek words, as ars (craft) and τέχνη.

Because of the Roman Empire’s expansion and subsequent trade with outlying European tribes, the Romans borrowed some northern and central European words, such as beber (beaver), of Germanic origin, and bracae (breeches), of Celtic origin. The specific dialects of Latin across Latin-speaking regions of the former Roman Empire after its fall were influenced by languages specific to the regions. These spoken Latins evolved into particular Romance languages.

During and after the adoption of Christianity into Roman society, Christian vocabulary became a part of the language, formed either from Greek or Hebrew borrowings, or as Latin neologisms. Continuing into the Middle Ages, Latin incorporated many more words from surrounding languages, including Old English and other Germanic languages.

Over the ages Latin-speaking populations produced new adjectives, nouns and verbs by affixing or compounding meaningful segments. For example, the compound adjective, omnipotens, "all-powerful," was produced from the adjectives omnis, "all", and potens, "powerful", by dropping the final s of omnis and concatenating. Often the concatenation changed the part of speech; i.e., nouns were produced from verb segments or verbs from nouns and adjectives.

Modern use

See main article: Contemporary Latin. Latin lives in the form of Ecclesiastical Latin, used for laws and decrees issued by Hierarchs of the Catholic Church, and in the form of a sparse sprinkling of scientific or social articles written in it, as well as in numerous Latin clubs. Latin vocabulary is used in science, academia, and law. Classical Latin is taught in many schools often combined with Greek in the study of Classics, though its role has diminished since the early 20th century.

The Latin alphabet, together with its modern variants, such as the English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German alphabets, is the most widely used alphabet in the world. Terminology deriving from Latin words and concepts is widely used, among other fields, in philosophy, medicine, biology, and law, in terms and abbreviations such as subpoena duces tecum, q.i.d. (quater in die: "four times a day"), and inter alia (among other things). These Latin terms are used in isolation, as technical terms. In scientific names for organisms, Latin is typically the language of choice, followed by Greek.

The largest organization that still uses Latin in official and quasi-official contexts is the Catholic Church (particularly in the Latin Rite). The Tridentine Mass uses Latin, although the Mass of Paul VI is usually said in the local vernacular language; however, it can be and often is said in Latin, particularly in the Vatican. Indeed, Latin is still the official standard language of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, and the Second Vatican Council merely authorized that the liturgical books be translated and optionally used in the vernacular languages. Latin is the official language of the Holy See. The Vatican City is also home to the only ATM where instructions are given in Latin.[16]

Some films of relevant ancient settings, such as Sebastiane and The Passion of the Christ, have been made with dialogue in Latin for purposes of realism. Occasionally, Latin dialogue is used because of its association with religion or philosophy, in such film/TV series as The Exorcist and Lost ("Jughead"). Subtitles are usually employed for the benefit of audiences who do not understand Latin. There are also songs written with Latin lyrics.

Many organizations today have Latin mottos, such as "Semper Paratus" (always ready), the motto of the United States Coast Guard, and "Semper Fidelis" (always faithful), the motto of the United States Marine Corps. Several of the states of the United States also have Latin mottos, such as "Montani Semper Liberi" (Mountaineers are always free), the state motto of West Virginia; "Sic semper tyrannis" (Thus always to tyrants), that of Virginia; "Esse Quam Videri" (To be rather than to seem), that of North Carolina; and "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice" ("If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you") that of Michigan.

Latin grammar has been taught in most Italian schools since the 18th century: for example, in the Liceo classico and Liceo scientifico, Latin is still one of the primary subjects. Latin is taught in many schools and universities around the world as well.

Occasionally, some media outlets broadcast in Latin, which is targeted at the audience of enthusiasts. Notable examples include Radio Bremen in Germany, YLE radio in Finland and Vatican Radio & Television, all of which broadcast news segments and other material in Latin.[17] [18] [19]

There are many websites and forums maintained in Latin by enthusiasts. The Latin Wikipedia has more than 70,000 articles written in Latin.

See also

Lists:

References

External links

Michael de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages, Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries Series, Brill Academic Publishers, 2008, 826pp. (part available freely online)

Language tools

Courses

Grammar and study

Phonetics

Notes and References

  1. Encyclopedia: Schools. Britannica. 1911.
  2. Opus Fundatum Latinitas is an organ of the Roman Catholic Church, and regulates Latin with respect to its status as official language of the Holy See and for use by Catholic clergy.
  3. Book: Sandys, John Edwin. A companion to Latin studies. Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1910. 811–812.
  4. A Dead Language That's Very Much Alive. Winnie. Hu. Nytimes.com. October 6, 2008. harv.
  5. The New case for Latin. Mike. Eskenazi. TIME. December 2, 2000.
  6. Book: Bryson, Bill. 1996. The mother tongue: English and how it got that way. New York. Avon Books. 33–34. 014014305X.
  7. http://www.wheelockslatin.com/ The Official Wheelock's Latin Series Website
  8. Web site: Does Latin "train the brain"?. The Times Literary Supplement. July 10, 2006. December 20, 2011. Beard, Mary. No, you learn Latin because of what was written in it – and because of the direct access that Latin gives you to a literary tradition that lies at the very heart (not just at the root) of Western culture.. Mary Beard (classicist).
  9. Book: Sacks, David. 2003. Language Visible: Unraveling the Mystery of the Alphabet from A to Z. London. Broadway Books. 80. 0767911725.
  10. Book: Pope, Mildred K. Mildred Pope

    . 3. From Latin to modern French with especial consideration of Anglo-Norman; phonology and morphology. Mildred Pope. Manchester. Manchester university press. Publications of the University of Manchester, no. 229. French series, no. 6. 1966.

  11. Book: Monroe, Paul. Source book of the history of education for the Greek and Roman period. London, New York. Macmillan & Co.. 1902. 346–352.
  12. Book: Thorley, John. 13–15. Documents in medieval Latin. Ann Arbor. University of Michigan Press. 1998. 0472085670.
  13. Foreword to the First Edition.
  14. Lloyd, Paul M. (1987). From Latin to Spanish. Diane Publishing, p.81
  15. Book: Sacks, David. 2003. Language Visible: Unraveling the Mystery of the Alphabet from A to Z. London. Broadway Books. 351. 0767911725.
  16. Moore. Malcom. Pope's Latinist pronounces death of a language. The Daily Telegraph. 28 January 2007. 16 September 2009. harv.
  17. Web site: Latein: Nuntii Latini mensis lunii 2010: Lateinischer Monats rückblick. Radio Bremen. Latin. 16 July 2010.
  18. News: BBC NEWS. Dymond. Jonny. 24 October 2006. BBC Online. 29 January 2011.
  19. Web site: Nuntii Latini. YLE Radio 1. Latin. 17 July 2010.