Learn Latin

Latin phrases

Learn phrases in the Latin language by selecting the phrases that you want to learn from the list on the right. These cover a wide variety of Latin topics, including eclesiatical Latin, legal Latin, general phrases and proverbs and maxims. The Latin phrases have audio.



Latin

Latin is generally considered to be a dead language - although this is open to dispute while sites like Nuntii Latini are in existence, and long may this continue.

And so, while there are some speakers of Latin, the normal reasons for learning the language do not normally include for the purposes of communication. The usual reasons given for learning Latin include two main themes:  First, all the European languages incorporate a Latin component to a greater or lesser extent. This is particularly true of the Romance languages but it is also true of English, which despite its Germanic origins, has directly assimilated a huge fund of Latin words, especially through legal, ecclesiastical and scientific sources. A further enormous stock of Latin-based words has come indirectly from the Romance languages, especially French. A feeling for Latin therefore deepens our understanding of the origins and correct application of our own language.

Second, because Latin is an old language, it retains a well-defined grammatical structure with genders, noun-inflections and verb forms which have largely disappeared from English.

This provides an excellent preparatory grounding for English-speakers who can otherwise be disadvantaged when they approach other European languages, many of which have retained more of these older grammatical features.

There is a third reason, which is that Latin is making something of a come-back. Whatever the reasons for this, there is a steady and apparently growing interest in learning Latin as can be seen from the website publishing news and announcements in Latin.

Whether it could ever recover its status as the lingua franca of the educated classes is debatable, though, given the cost and wastage involved in translating the many official languages of the European Union, Latin in some form would be an interesting contender for the role of a single official language.

Latin Pronunciation

This depends on the context. Latin in current use tends to reflect the speech patterns of the speaker, so, for instance, the vowels of 'English' Latin will usually be different from those of 'French' or 'German' Latin, as will some consonants such as 'c', and the semi-consonants 'u' and 'i'. Church Latin, Roman Catholic in particular, approximates to 'Italian' Latin; scientific terminology is perhaps more continental in style.

A great deal is known about how the Romans themselves would have pronounce classical Latin but attempts to approximate to this when pronouncing Latin in a contemporary setting are misguided.

This is strictly for the specialist. 'English' Latin has its own conventions and straying beyond these is for the pedant. This is particularly true for the pronunciation of 'v' which represented a 'w' sound to the ancient Romans but took on its present sound after the end of the classical period.

Several generations of English schoolchildren were taught to read 'v' as 'w' but the effect was never pleasing to the English ear. The speaker should feel free to follow his or her own inclinations in this matter.

Latin Language

Latin is an inflected language, with three genders, seven cases, four verb conjugations, six tenses ...

It is for this reason that ithas traditionally been considered helpful in learning other languages, as to master Latin, a good knowledge of grammar, grammatical terms and syntax is required.

Some of these ideas can be shown with a simple sentence:

Nauta bellam puellam amat. 'The sailor loves the beautiful girl'.

This sentence shows adjectival agreement, the fact that nouns decline, verbs are conjugated, and indicates that Latin word order is different from the English.

There are three genders in Latin. Puella 'girl' is feminine.

In this sentence, puella is the object of the verb, and so must be put into the accusative case. The ending changes giving puellam.

The adjective beautiful must agree with the noun 'girl' in gender, number and case and changes from bellum in the nominative masculine to bellam in the feminine accusative singular.

The verb amare 'to love' conjugates as do all Latin verbs. amo 'I love', amas 'you love', amat 'he loves' and so on. The meaning in this sentence is 'he loves' and so amat is used.

Increase your Latin Vocabulary with crosswords

Use the Latin Crossword , Word Maker and Word Search games to expand your Latin vocabulary.


Related languages

Catalan, French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish

Resources

yle.fi/radio1/tiede/nuntii_latini News in Latin - Finland.

www.radiobremen.de/nachrichten/latein News in Latin - Germany.