Although the language is considered "dead", Latin is still used in the creation of new words in modern languages of many different families, including English, and largely in biological taxonomy. Latin and its derivative Romance languages are the only surviving languages of the Italic language family. Other languages of the Italic branch were attested in the inscriptions of early Italy, but were assimilated to Latin 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 Kingdom was an only partially deducible[clarification needed]colloquial form, the predecessor to Vulgar Latin. By the arrival of 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, which was spoken throughout the empire.
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 ("a pair of") is present in Old Latin. The rarest of the seven cases is the locative, only marked in proper place names and a few common nouns. Otherwise, the locative function ("place where") has merged with the ablative. The vocative, a case of direct address, is marked by an ending only in words of the second declension. Otherwise, the vocative has merged with the nominative, except that the particle O typically precedes any vocative, marked or not.
As a result of this case ambiguity, different authors list different numbers of cases: 5, 6, or 7. Adjectives and adverbs are compared, and the former are inflected according to case, gender, and number. In view of the fact that adjectives are often used for nouns, the two are termed substantives. Although Classical Latin has demonstrative pronouns indicating different degrees of proximity ("this one here", "that one there"), it does not have articles. Later Romance language articles developed from the demonstrative pronouns, e.g. le and la (French) from ille and illa, and su and sa (Sardinian) from ipse and ipsa.
The Latin culture has been passed down through a number of broad genres.
Some 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.
Latin influence in English has been significant at all stages of its insular development. 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. Some useful ones, though, survived, such as imbibe and extrapolate. Many of the most common polysyllabic English words are of Latin origin, through the medium of Old French.
Due to the influence of Roman governance and Roman technology on the less developed nations under Roman dominion, those nations adopted Latin phraseology in some specialized areas, such as science, technology, medicine, and law. For example, the Linnaean system of plant and animal classification was heavily influenced by Historia Naturalis, an encyclopedia of people, places, plants, animals, and things published by Pliny the Elder. Roman medicine, recorded in the works of such physicians as Galen, established that today's medical terminology would be primarily derived from Latin and Greek words, the Greek being filtered through the Latin. Roman engineering had the same effect on scientific terminology as a whole. Latin law principles have survived partly in a long list of legal Latin terms.
Many international auxiliary languages have been heavily influenced by Latin. Interlingua, which lays claim to a sizable 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.
Throughout European history, an education in the Classics was considered crucial for those who wished to join literate circles. Instruction in Latin is an essential aspect of Classics. 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, 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.
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 recounts the adventures of a mouse called Minimus.
A number of historical phases of the language have been recognized, each distinguished by subtle differences in vocabulary, usage, spelling, morphology and syntax. There are no hard and fast rules of classification; different scholars emphasize different features. As a result, the list has variants, as well as alternative names. In addition to the historical phases, Ecclesiastical Latin refers to the styles used by the writers of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as by Protestant scholars, from Late Antiquity onward.
After the Roman Empire in Western Europe fell, tribes and kingdoms began to take form. As the Germanic people moved in to form kingdoms and provinces they needed a language to form laws. Since they brought no new ideas with them they "also, with the exception of Anglo-Saxons, allowed the Latin Language to remain as the only means of communication wherever they settled. Here, in all other spheres, they assimilated...As soon their kings gained a firm footing they surrounded themselves with rhetoricians, jurists and poets." Latin soon became corrupt but it was still Latin.
The generally recognized main phases under their most frequent names are introduced below.
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.
Philological analysis of Archaic Latin works, such as those of Plautus, which contain snippets of everyday speech, indicates that a spoken language, Vulgar Latin (sermo vulgi ("the speech of the masses") by Cicero), existed at the same time as the literate Classical Latin. This informal language was rarely written, so philologists have been left with only 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 suppose that the speech was uniform either diachronically or geographically. On the contrary, Romanized European populations developed their own dialects of the language. The Decline of the Roman Empire meant a deterioration in educational standards that brought about Late Latin, a post-classical stage of the language seen in Christian writings of the time. This language was more in line with the everyday speech not only because of a decline in education, but also because of a desire to spread the word to the masses.
Despite dialect variation (which is found in any sufficiently widespread language) the languages of Spain, France, Portugal and Italy retained a remarkable unity in phonological forms and developments, bolstered by the stabilizing influence of their common Christian (Roman Catholic) culture. It was not until the Moorish conquest of Spain in 711 cut off communications between the major Romance regions that the languages began to diverge seriously. The Vulgar Latin dialect that would later become Romanian diverged somewhat more from the other varieties due to its being largely cut off from the unifying influences in the western part of the Empire.
One way to determine whether a Romance language feature was in Vulgar Latin is to compare it with its parallel in Classical Latin. If it was not preferred in classical Latin, then it most likely came from the invisible contemporaneous vulgar Latin. For example, Romance "horse" (cavallo/cheval/caballo/cavalo) came from Latin caballus. However, classical Latin used equus. Caballus therefore was most likely the spoken form.
Vulgar Latin began to diverge into distinct languages by the 9th century at the latest, when the earliest extant Romance writings begin to appear. They were, throughout this period, confined to everyday speech, as, subsequent to Late Latin, Medieval Latin was used for writing.
Medieval Latin is 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 for international communication between the member states of the Holy Roman Empire and its allies.
Without the institutions of the Roman empire that had supported its uniformity, medieval Latin lost its linguistic cohesion: for example, 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. Furthermore the meanings of many words have been changed and new vocabularies have been introduced from the vernacular. Identifiable individual styles of classically incorrect Latin prevail.
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.
In the Anglican Church, after the publication of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer of 1559, a 1560 Latin edition was published for use at universities such as Oxford and the leading public schools, where the liturgy was still permitted to be conducted in Latin and there have been several Latin translations since. Most recently a Latin edition of the 1979 USA Anglican Book of Common Prayer has appeared.
Switzerland adopts the country's Latin short name "Helvetia" on coins and stamps, since there is no room to use all of the nation's four official languages. For a similar reason it adopted the international vehicle and internet code CH, which stands for Confoederatio Helvetica, the country's full Latin name.
The polyglot European Union has adopted Latin names in the logos of some of its institutions for the sake of linguistic compromise and as a sign of the continent's heritage (e.g. the EU Council: Consilium)
Similarly Canada's motto "A mari usque ad mare" (from sea to sea) and most provincial mottos are also in Latin (for example, British Columbia's is Splendor Sine Occasu (splendor without diminishment).
Occasionally, some media outlets broadcast in Latin, which is targeted at 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.
There are many websites and forums maintained in Latin by enthusiasts. The Latin Wikipedia has more than 100,000 articles written in Latin.
No inherited verbal knowledge of the ancient pronunciation of Latin exists. It must be reconstructed. Among the data used for reconstruction listed by Allen are explicit statements by ancient authors, especially grammarians, about the pronunciation of a word, puns, ancient etymologies, Latin words stated in other languages, and so forth.
As with any language, pronunciation varied according to historical period. There are several schools of pronunciation in use today. The main division is between the "classical" pronunciation, and "Ecclesiastical" pronunciation. Standard practice in Latin education is to teach the pronunciation of classical Latin first. Most Latinists know the opening words of De Bello Gallico, Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres ... and know that divisa is nowadays most often pronounced as "diwisa". It makes little difference whether the refrain of Oh come all ye faithful is sung as "venite, venite" or "wenite, wenite", although the first is more appropriate to the period. Period differences are generally taught with the works of their authors; however, the classical pronunciation is always generally acceptable.[original research?]
The consonant phonemes of classical Latin are shown in the following table.
The period graphemes representing these phonemes are only a partial match to today's English alphabet, which, except for the capital letters, dates to the Middle Ages. Latin texts are nevertheless printed in it. The inscription from the Colosseum shown at the top of the article is a good example of the appearance of native Roman graphemes. Some notes concerning the mapping of Latin phonemes to English graphemes are given below.
Never as in nice; without aspiration, as in Italian peccare or English "sky"
Never as in germ
Before /n/, as in dignus/dɪŋnʊs/ 'worthy'
Existed in two allophones: l exilis before /l/ and /i/, and l pinguis in all other positions, however the precise phonetic realisation of these allophones is uncertain.
If /n/ occurs before /c/, /g/ or /x/, it is the velar nasal, /ŋ/ ("ng" as in "sing"). Otherwise, it is the alveolar nasal, /n/, however n was lost before f and s with compensatory vowel lengthening several centuries before the Imperial Age hence consul/koːsʊl/. [Note that COSVL is a very common epigraphic variant for CONSVL.]
Never as in English nation.
A labiovelar, considered one consonant. As such, it is possible for qu to be followed by a u, as in loquuntur/lokʷʊntʊr/ "they speak".
This letter stood for both the consonant /w/ and the vowel /u/. 〈u〉 is /w/ at the beginning of a syllable. E.g., uehebantur/wɛheːˈbantʊr/ "they were driving", inuehebantur/inwɛheːˈbantʊr/ "they were attacking verbally", quattuor/kʷatːwɔr/ "four", which is disyllabic in verse. A [w] was also pronounced, but not written, between /u/ and a vowel: duo[ˈduwo]. Loans to Germanic languages such as those represented by OE win "wine" and pea "peacock" suggest that in early Imperial times [v] was pronounced as /w/ only shifting to /v/ in first few centuries AD but may still have been pronounced /w/ as late as the 5th century AD
Also 〈j〉. These are graphic variants. Like the previous, 〈i〉 stood for both consonant /j/ and vowel /i/: iucundus/juːkʊndʊs/ "pleasant", periucundus/pɛrjuːkʊndʊs/ "very pleasant".
A double consonant, considered two consonants.
Geminate (long) consonants are represented by doubled spelling: puella = /pʊˈɛlːa/ ("girl"; similar to Italian nella), littera = /ˈlɪtːɛra/ ("letter", "character"; as in Italian petto), accidere = /akːɪdɛrɛ/ ("to happen"; stress on the second syllable; as in Italian ecco), addere = /ˈadːɛrɛ/ ("to add"), pessime = /ˈpɛsːimeː/ ("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 = /aˈmaːrɛ/ ("to love") has the quantitative structure short-long-short, whereas armare = /arˈmaːrɛ/ ("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.
〈a〉 = /a/ when short 〈Ă〉, 〈ă〉 and /aː/ when long 〈Ā〉, 〈ā〉
〈e〉 = /ɛ/ (as in pet) when short 〈Ĕ〉, 〈ĕ〉 and /eː/ (somewhat as in English they) when long 〈Ē〉, 〈ē〉
〈i〉 = /ɪ/ (as in pin) when short 〈Ĭ〉, 〈ĭ〉 and /iː/ (as in machine) when long 〈Ī〉, 〈ī〉
〈o〉 = /ɔ/ (as in British English law) when short 〈Ŏ〉, 〈ŏ〉 and /oː/ (somewhat as in holy) when long 〈Ō〉, 〈ō〉
〈u〉 = /ʊ/ (as in put) when short 〈Ŭ〉, 〈ŭ〉 and /uː/ (as in true) when long 〈Ū〉, 〈ū〉. Also 〈v〉.
〈y〉 = /y/ (as in Frenchlune), used for Latinized Greek loanwords, is always long 〈Ȳ〉, 〈ȳ〉
In inscriptions, and in upper case in handwriting, the letter u, whether as a consonant or as a vowel, was invariably written as V.
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 (á, é, I, ó, ú). 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 a fricative, is nasal, as in monstrum/mõːstrũː/.
Latin was written in the Latin alphabet, derived from the Old Italic alphabet, which was in turn drawn from the Greek and ultimately the Phoenician alphabet. This alphabet has continued to be used over the centuries as the script for the Romance, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Finnic, and many Slavic languages (Polish, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian and Czech), and has been adopted by many languages around the world, including Vietnamese, the Austronesian languages, many Turkic languages, and most languages in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, and Oceania, making it by far the world's single most widely-used writing system.
The number of letters in the Latin alphabet has varied. When it was first derived from the Etruscan alphabet, it contained only 21. Later, G was added to represent /ɡ/, which had previously been spelled C; while Z ceased to be included in the alphabet due to non-use, as the language had no voiced alveolar fricative at the time. The letters Y and Z were later added to represent the Greek letters upsilon and zeta respectively in Greek loanwords.W was created in the 11th century from VV. It represented /w/ 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, as was the letter U from V. Although some Latin dictionaries use J it is for the most part not used for Latin text as it was not used in classical times, although many other languages use it.
Classical Latin did not contain sentence punctuation, letter case, or interword spacing, though apices were sometimes used to distinguish length in vowels and the interpunct was used at times to separate words. So, a sentence originally written:
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.
Occasionally Latin has been written in other scripts:
The disputed Praeneste fibula is a 7th-century BC pin with an Old Latin inscription written using the Etruscan script.
Latin is a synthetic, fusional language, in the terminology of linguistic typology. In more traditional terminology, it is an inflected language, although the typologists are apt to say "inflecting". Thus words include an objective semantic element, and also markers specifying the grammatical use of the word. This fusion of root meaning and markers produces very compact sentence elements. For example, amō, "I love," is produced from a semantic element, ama-, "love," to which -ō, a first person singular marker, is suffixed. English requires two words to express the same meaning.
The grammatical function can be changed by changing the markers: the word is "inflected" to express different grammatical functions. The semantic element does not change. Inflection uses affixing and infixing. Affixing is prefixing and suffixing. Latin inflections are never prefixed. For example, amābit, "he or she will love", is formed from the same stem, amā-, to which a future tense marker, -bi-, is suffixed, and a third person singular marker, -t, is suffixed. There is an inherent ambiguity: -t may denote more than one grammatical category, in this case either masculine, feminine, or neuter gender. A major task in understanding Latin phrases and clauses is to clarify such ambiguities by an analysis of context. All natural languages contain ambiguities of one sort or another.
There are seven Latin noun cases, which also apply to adjectives and pronouns. These mark a noun's syntactic role in the sentence by means of inflections, so word order is not as important in Latin as it is in other less inflected languages, such as English. The general structure and word order of a Latin sentence can therefore vary. The cases are as follows:
Genitive – used when the noun is the possessor of or connected with 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 the partitive, in which the material is quantified (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 plēnum vīnī est. The master of the slave had beaten him. Dominus servī eum verberāverat.)
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 the stolato the woman. Mercātor fēminae stolam trādit.)
Accusative – used when the noun is the direct object of the subject, and as object of a preposition demonstrating place to which. (e.g., The man killed the boy. Homō necāvit puerum.)
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. cum puerō ambulāvistī.)
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 fīlius) then the ending is just -ī (filī) (as distinct from the nominative plural (filiī)). (e.g., "Master!" shouted the slave. "Domine!" clāmāvit servus.)
Locative – used to indicate a location (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, along with a few common nouns, such as the word domus, house. 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 ablative (Athēnae becomes Athēnīs, "at Athens"). In the case of the fourth declension word domus, the locative form, domī ("at home") differs from the standard form of all the other cases.
Latin lacks both definite and indefinite articles; thus puer currit can mean either "the boy is running" or "a boy is running". Latin sometimes uses prepositions, and sometimes does not, depending on the type of prepositional phrase being used.
A regular verb in Latin belongs to one of four main conjugations. A conjugation is "a class of verbs with similar inflected forms." The conjugations are identified by the last letter of the verb's present stem. The present stem can be found by taking the -re (or -ri, in the case of a deponent verb) ending off of the present infinitive. The infinitive of the first conjugation ends in -ā-re or -ā-ri (active and passive respectively); e.g., amāre, "to love," hortārī, "to exhort"; of the second conjugation by -ē-re or -ē-rī; e.g., monēre, "to warn", verērī, "to fear;" of the third conjugation by -ere, -ī; e.g., dūcere, "to lead," ūtī, "to use"; of the fourth by -ī-re, -ī-rī; e.g., audīre, "to hear," experīrī, "to attempt". Irregular verbs may not follow these types, or may be marked in a different way. The "endings" presented above are not the suffixed infinitive markers. The first letter in each case is the last of the stem, because of which the conjugations are also called the a-conjugation, e-conjugation and i-conjugation. The fused infinitive ending is -re or -rī. Third-conjugation stems end in a consonant: the consonant conjugation. Further, there is a subset of the 3rd conjugation, the i-stems, which behave somewhat like the 4th conjugation, as they are both i-stems, one short and the other long. These stem categories descend from PIE, and can therefore be compared to similar conjugations in other IE languages.
The first principal part is the first person singular, present tense, indicative mood, active voice form of the verb. If the verb is impersonal, the first principal part will be in the third person.
The second principal part is the present infinitive active.
The third principal part is the first person singular, perfect indicative active form.
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), in the nominative singular. The fourth principal part will be the future participle if 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, as this coincides with the supine. The fourth principal part is sometimes omitted for intransitive verbs, although strictly in Latin these can be made passive if used impersonally, and the supine exists for these verbs.
There are six tenses in the Latin language. These are divided into two tense systems: the present system, which is made up of the present, imperfect, and future tenses, and the perfect system, which is made up of the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect tenses. Each tense has a set of endings corresponding to the person and number referred to. This means that subject (nominative) pronouns are generally unnecessary, unless emphasis on the subject is needed.
The graphic below displays the common inflected endings for the indicative mood in the active voice in all six tenses.
1st Person Singular
2nd Person Singular
3rd Person Singular
1st Person Plural
2nd Person Plural
3rd Person Plural
A number of Latin words are deponent, causing their forms to be in the passive mood, while retaining an active meaning, e.g. hortor, hortārī, hortātus sum (to urge).
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 adapted the Etruscan alphabet to form the Latin alphabet, but also 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. 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.
Here the phrases are mentioned with accents to know where to stress. In the Latin language, most of the Latin words are stressed at the second to last (penultimate) syllable, called in Latin paenultimus or syllaba paenultima. Lesser words are stressed at the third to last syllable, called in Latin antepaenultimus or syllaba antepaenultima.
sálve to one person / salvéte to more than one person - hello
áve to one person / avéte to more than one person - greetings
vále to one person / valéte to more than one person - goodbye
cúra ut váleas - take care
exoptátus to male / exoptáta to female, optátus to male / optáta to female, grátus to male / gráta to female, accéptus to male / accépta to female - welcome
quómodo váles?, ut váles? - how are you?
béne - good
amabo te - please
béne váleo - I'm fine
mále - bad
mále váleo - I'm not good
quáeso (['kwajso]/['kwe:so]) - please
íta, íta est, íta véro, sic, sic est, étiam - yes
non - no
grátias tíbi, grátias tíbi ágo - thank you
mágnas grátias, mágnas grátias ágo - big thanks
máximas grátias, máximas grátias ágo, ingéntes grátias ágo - thank you very much
accípe sis to one person / accípite sítis to more than one person, libénter - you're welcome
qua aetáte es? - how old are you?
25 ánnos nátus to male / 25 ánnos náta to female - 25 years old
loquerísne ... - do you speak ...
Latíne? - Latin?
Gráece? (['grajke]/['gre:ko']) - Greek?
Ánglice? (['aŋlike]) - English?
Italiáne? - Italian?
Hispánice? - Spanish?
Theodísce? ([teo'diske]) - German?
Sínice? - Chinese?
Iapónice? ([ja'po:nike]) - Japanese?
Arábice? - Arabic?
Pérsice? - Persian?
Indice? - Hindi?
Rússice? - Russian?
úbi latrína est? - where is the toilet?
ámo te / te ámo - I love you
In ancient times, numbers in Latin were only written with letters. Today, the numbers can be written with the Arabic numbers and also the Roman numbers. The numbers 1, 2 and 3, and from 200 to 900, are declined as nouns and adjectives.
ūnus, ūna, ūnum (masculine, feminine, neuter)
duo, duae, duo (m., f., n.)
trēs, tria (m./f., n.)
IIII or IV
VIIII or IX
While these numerals are common to see in the world some others more difficult and must be learned.
One Hundred (100)
Five Hundred (500)
One Thousand (1000)
The numbers from quattor to centum do not change their endings.
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt. Gallos ab Aquitanis Garumna flumen, a Belgis Matrona et Sequana dividit. Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae, propterea quod a cultu atque humanitate provinciae longissime absunt, minimeque ad eos mercatores saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effeminandos animos pertinent important, proximique sunt Germanis, qui trans Rhenum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt. Qua de causa Helvetii quoque reliquos Gallos virtute praecedunt, quod fere cotidianis proeliis cum Germanis contendunt, cum aut suis finibus eos prohibent aut ipsi in eorum finibus bellum gerunt. Eorum una pars, quam Gallos obtinere dictum est, initium capit a flumine Rhodano, continetur Garumna flumine, Oceano, finibus Belgarum; attingit etiam ab Sequanis et Helvetiis flumen Rhenum; vergit ad septentriones. Belgae ab extremis Galliae finibus oriuntur; pertinent ad inferiorem partem fluminis Rheni; spectant in septentrionem et orientem solem. Aquitania a Garumna flumine ad Pyrenaeos montes et eam partem Oceani quae est ad Hispaniam pertinet; spectat inter occasum solis et septentriones.
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Beard, Mary (10 July 2006). "Does Latin "train the brain"?". The Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved 20 December 2011. "No, you learn Latin because of what was written in it – and because of the sexual side of life direct access that Latin gives you to a literary tradition that lies at the very heart (not just at the root) of Western culture."
Who only knows Latin can go across the whole Poland from one side to the other one just like he was at his own home, just like he was born there. So great happiness! I wish a traveler in England could travel without knowing any other language than Latin!, Daniel Defoe, 1728
Anatol Lieven, The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence, Yale University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-300-06078-5, Google Print, p.48
Kevin O'Connor, Culture And Customs of the Baltic States, Greenwood Press, 2006, ISBN 0-313-33125-1, Google Print, p.115
Karin Friedrich et al., The Other Prussia: Royal Prussia, Poland and Liberty, 1569–1772, Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-521-58335-7, Google Print, p.88
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Monroe, Paul (1902). Source book of the history of education for the Greek and Roman period. London, New York: Macmillan & Co. pp. 346–352.
Pei, Mario; compiled,, ; Gaeng, arranged by Paul A. (1976). The story of Latin and the Romance languages (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row. pp. 76–81. ISBN 0-06-013312-0.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
^ Elabani, Moe (1998). Documents in medieval Latin. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 13–15. ISBN 0-472-08567-0.
"Incunabula Short Title Catalogue". British Library. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
Moore, Malcolm (28 January 2007). "Pope's Latinist pronounces death of a language". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
"Liber Precum Publicarum, The Book of Common Prayer in Latin (1560). Society of Archbishop Justus, resources, Book of Common Prayer, Latin, 1560. Retrieved 22 May 2012". Justus.anglican.org. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
"Society of Archbishop Justus, resources, Book of Common Prayer, Latin, 1979. Retrieved 22 May 2012". Justus.anglican.org. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
"Latein: Nuntii Latini mensis lunii 2010: Lateinischer Monats rückblick" (in Latin). Radio Bremen. Retrieved 16 July 2010. Dymond, Jonny (24 October 2006). "BBC NEWS | Europe | Finland makes Latin the King". BBC Online. Retrieved 29 January 2011. "Nuntii Latini" (in Latin). YLE Radio 1. Retrieved 17 July 2010.