Latin language


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Latin language,

member of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Latin was first encountered in ancient times as the language of Latium, the region of central Italy in which Rome is located (see Italic languagesItalic languages,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages that may be divided into two groups. The first group consists of the ancient Italic languages and dialects that were once spoken in Italy.
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). Roman conquests later spread Latin throughout Italy and the vast Roman Empire. Numerous documents, such as Latin inscriptions and literary works, furnish much information about the language, as do the comments of ancient scholars and various related dialects and languages. After the ancient Romans began to develop a literature (in the 3d cent. B.C.), a gap emerged between literary, or classical, Latin and Vulgar Latin, which was the popular (spoken) form of the language. This division had become considerable by the beginning of the Roman Empire. It is especially from Vulgar Latin, carried by the soldiers and colonists of Rome throughout the Roman Empire, that the modern Romance languagesRomance languages,
group of languages belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Italic languages). Also called Romanic, they are spoken by about 670 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
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 are descended.

Classical Latin

Classical Latin, distinguished by its formality and elegance, was greatly influenced in vocabulary, grammar, and style by Greek. By the end of the Roman Republic (1st cent. B.C.) classical Latin had become a suitable medium for the greatest poetry and prose of the day. Grammatically, classical Latin featured five declensions and six cases in its inflection of the noun; there was no definite article. Noun subclassifications included three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and two numbers (singular and plural). Verb inflection was highly developed, expressing tense, mood, voice, person, and number. Latin is written in the Roman alphabet, which was apparently derived from the Etruscan alphabet. The latter, in turn, was adapted from the Greek alphabet (see Greek languageGreek language,
member of the Indo-European family of languages (see Indo-European). It is the language of one of the major civilizations of the world and of one of the greatest literatures of all time.
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).

Vulgar Latin

Vulgar Latin differed from classical Latin in its increased use of prepositions, its less frequent employment of inflection, its greater regularity of word order, and, to some extent, in its vocabulary. Classical Latin was more formal and elegant stylistically. With the triumph of Christianity in the 4th cent. A.D., Vulgar Latin grew in literary significance, as evidenced by the Vulgate, St. Jerome's translation of the Bible into Vulgar Latin. The new religion stressed equality before God, and its advocates tried to reach as many in the empire as possible through the everyday speech of the common people.

Latin in the Modern World

Latin survives as the official tongue of Vatican City and as the official language of communication of the Roman Catholic Church. Until the 1960s, it was also the language of the Roman Catholic liturgy and is still so used under certain conditions. During the Middle Ages it flourished as the language of the universities, scholars, and writers. It was the language of diplomacy in Europe as late as the 17th cent. and was still widely used in scholarly writing in the 19th cent. Today, although the language has a diminished role in the school curriculum, Latin roots continue to serve as a major source for the derivation of new terms in the sciences and technologies.

Bibliography

See C. D. Buck, Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin (3d ed. 1948); E. Pulgram, The Tongues of Italy: Prehistory and History (1958); A. M. Gessman, The Tongue of the Romans (1970); R. S. Conway, The Making of Latin (1983); L. R. Palmer, The Latin Language (new ed. 1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
It is pertinent to mention here that the Europeans Renaissance was started with the work of translations of different sciences and philosophies in Europe and many Christian and Jews scholars did translations of many Arabic scholars' work such as Ibn Khaldun, Zehravi into Latin language which were later on translated into urdu, English and German languages.
This version of Latin is usually referred to as "Italianate Latin," and is the modern adaptation of the Latin language most prevalent in sacred choral singing today, and thus the most likely to be familiar to the reader.
7) For a bibliography of authors who have undertaken to give histories of the Latin language from ancient Rome to the present, see Coffee 2012:256.
Dr Bracke said: "The Latin language lies at the basis of most Western European languages, and a grasp of Latin makes it easier to learn languages such as French, Spanish, and Italian.
Although the Latin language possesses no word for empathy, it is clear from this volume that 'fellow-feeling' was recognised as part of interaction and bonding long before the neologism Einfuhlung emerged from German philology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
My education background is ancient Greek and Latin language and literature.
One may either sound boring as, in principle, merely technical details are presented -- think "the Latin language and today's high school curricula" -- or is confronted with harsh decisions.
This comprehensive study which details the Latin language used in Britain between 540 AD and the year 1600 has been continuous for 100 years and includes more than 58,000 entries compiled from the Domesday Book, the Magna Carta and thousands of other documents.
CLOSER TO HISTORY Jason Pedicone from The Paideia Institute, which started running Latin language immersion courses in Rome in 2011, said interest was increasing so much they had to turn applicants away for their university-level programme this year.
10 Pontificia Academia Latinitatis, or the Pontifical Academy of Latinity, to promote the study of the Latin language and culture.
On the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians: Drawn out from the Origins of the Latin Language.
I put up with the Latin language for a good portion of my life, all through grammar and high school.