Why Learn the Latin Language?

Mar 18, 2010 1:34:20 PM / by Mango Languages

250px-Latin_dictionaryMany people believe that Latin is considered a "dead language."

Is it really?

Threads of Latin still exist today in our modern day romance languages - French, Italian, Spanish, and Romanian. So in a sense, are we not still speaking a form of it? Yes, it may be a stretch but look at words like FORTEM (strong); in French you would say 'fort,' Italian is 'forte,' and Spanish has 'fuerte.' The French and Italian shouldn't be much of a surprise here for us fellow Latin enthusiasts, as it is known that the final 'm' always was dropped in Late Latin and carried over into Early Romance (as was the initial 'h' ). Of course it should also not be much of a surprise that Spanish is the odd man out here. When it came to Late Latin-Early Romance, apparently the Spanish created diphthongs.

But there are cases where French is the one left out in the cold. When it comes to words like CAMPUS (countryside) French gives us "champ" [sã], while Italian and Spanish make it easy and leave us with 'campo.' There are other cases where French did the same thing. With a word like CAMI:SIA (shirt), the French came out with 'chemise' whereas Italian and Spanish use 'camisa' -- only dropping the final [i].

Although it may seem obscure, each language stuck to its own conventions when breaking from Late Latin. For the most part, consonant vowel clusters stayed the same (dental consonant+e>ie for Spanish, etc.) But of course like everything else, language goes through evolution and perhaps someday it will come further than it is now from Latin.

Have you learned Latin? How has it helped you?

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Mango Languages

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