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Like Greek, Latin is an extinct language. Simply meaning that today, there are no more Latin native speakers of the Latin language. But Latin was for a long time the most used language in Western civilisation!
The History of Latin goes all the way back to a common language that many linguists consider being the mother of all idioms: Indo-European
Even though written texts of this language are still some of the missing pieces of the language puzzle on Earth, commonalities between distant languages such as Sanskrit in South Asia, Slavic idioms in Eastern Europe and Latin in Western Europe all points towards a common origin.
Latin emerged in the Latium, the Italian region near the actual city of Rome and progressively spread through the peninsula.
The city of Rome, according to the legend, was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 735BCE.
The spread of Latin as a common language clearly appeared around the 3rd century BCE with many philosophers and orators using Latin in their work: Plautus (254BC-184BC), Terence (185BC-159BC), Cicero (106BC-43BC), Horace (65BC-8BC), Petronius (27-66AD).
The expansion of the Roman Empire made Latin the dominant language in most parts of Europe, Northen Africa and the Middle East. Just as English is the main language for all business and international relations, Latin was the common language used by all the parts of the Empire’s administration.
If you choose to learn Latin and discover its linguistic and grammar you will have to dive into a millennia-old history.
Choosing to learn Latin will mean that you will be able to read the writings of Julius Caesar, Cicero or Virgile in their own native language. These manuscripts are real testimonies of the 1st century, the Golden Age of the Roman Empire.
Choosing to learn Latin words and grammar, you will discover Antiquity. But an English-Latin dictionary won’t be enough to master the Latin language.
When you choose Latin for your GCSEs or A-levels, or even at university, Latin private classes will help you learn you the subtilities of the language.
Latin widely died after the Roman Empire abandoned Great Britain and was replaced by Old English. After the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror, the French Duke of Normandy, Norman (a romance language and old version of French) was instituted as the official court language.
It remained so for almost 300 years.
Today, two mottos appear on the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom:
"Honi soit qui mal y pense" meaning "Shame be to him who evil thinks".
"Dieu et mon droit" meaning " God and my right".
Even though Latin is an obsolete language (only still officially spoken in the Vatican), the fact that it constitutes massive hunks of many European languages keeps the Roman language alive today.
If you studied Latin in schools, which is rare these days in the U.K., you would already have noticed everyday words that we used in our regular conversations.
If you are looking to learn Latin, it will be much more interesting for you to see it through modern English.
Alibi: this thing you desperately might need if you are suspected of some shenanigans, alibi just means "elsewhere" in Latin. And if you were elsewhere, how could you have stolen the cookies?
Agenda: from the Latin verb "agere" meaning to act, agenda is used to describe a list of items that might be discussed during a meeting, a plan of actions to be done or the ulterior motives of a particular person.
Ego: what today describes one's self-esteem simply meant "I" (first person singular pronoun).
Acumen: the noun describing someone's quick perception and sharp spirit comes from the Latin word meaning "sharp point".
Maximum and minimum: the Latin words meaning "the biggest" and the "smallest".
Quid pro quo: the phrase means "taking something for something else", the term was originally used by apothecaries when they would substitute an ingredient for another. Today it is mostly used to describe an exchange of service "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine".
Gratis: meaning kindness in Latin, this word is used in English as free of charge, at no cost.
Knowing the Latin origin of an English word will give you a better idea of its meaning and etymology.
Learning Latin will teach you about English, other Romance language, History and even Geography. Examining ancient texts, historical or literary writing, will give you a better insight into the origins of our western civilisation.
Latin classes will also help you learn other languages.
Many European languages are directly linked to Latin. Spanish and Italian are the perfect examples of such languages.
And even though English is a Germanic language, 70% of English words are directly borrowed from the Latin lexicon.
Becoming a Latin student as early as the middle school will make it easier to learn Russian or German.
Latin declensions have a lot in common with Germanic dative, genitive and accusative modes.
German is also a fusional language, meaning that words indicate their own role in a sentence. Latin functions the same way.
Learning Latin makes it easier to understand the mechanisms of other languages.
Latin is a language that will teach you focus, precision and concision. Thanks to Latin courses, you will be able to identify vital clues in sentences and be able to translate Latin into English very quickly.
Superprof tutors will adapt their methods to adapt to the learning pace of their students and will show them why Latin can be a very useful tool for their future career.
From music partitions to legal texts and ancient religious writings, Latin was used to write everything up until the middle of the 14th century, when Chaucer started to push for common English to replace Latin in literature.
Scientific texts were still written in Latin up until the 17th century, and even Isaac Newtown wrote his famous essay about gravity in Latin.
According to the University of Nottingham's team of Manuscripts and Special Collections:
"English was slow to take over as the language of government, law and bureaucracy, despite the fact that by a law passed in 1362 all legal pleadings had to be in English. [...]
Rentals and accounts from landed estates are rare in English before the beginning of the sixteenth century. Most title deeds were also written in Latin until the sixteenth century and even later, although many fifteenth-century examples in English exist.
However, since Latin was not a living, spoken language, the scribes sometimes struggled to find suitable words and phrases to use. They often resorted to inserting English words where necessary, for instance, a person's occupation in a title deed, or a description of a particular item in an inventory which could not be accurately identified using a Latin word.
Latin continued to be used as the language of some deeds and legal documents until the early eighteenth century. By Act of Parliament, 'Use of English Language in the Law Courts made Obligatory', 4 George II, c.26, 1731, it was enacted that English should be used to record all official information from 25 March 1733."
Latin classes for beginners will include Latin grammar and syntax as well as a copious amount of Latin vocabulary necessary to understand and read the Latin language.
If you learn Latin it will be much easier later on to learn French, Spanish or Italian which all emerged from the Roman idiom. You could even choose to learn Latin and another language at the same time, just pick a couple of tutor off our platform.
Latin declensions are the suffix that each Latin word will take on depending on its role in a sentence.
A complete Latin nominal declension consists of up to seven grammatical cases: nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and locative. However, the locative is limited to few nouns: generally names of cities, small islands and a few other words.
The case names are often abbreviated to the first three letters.
The Latin cases have usually been given in the order Nom–Voc–Acc–Gen–Dat–Abl(–Loc) in Britain and many Commonwealth countries since the publication of Benjamin Hall Kennedy's Latin Primer (1866). This order reflects the tendencies of different cases to share similar endings
If you are studying the classics, you might want to choose a Latin tutor who doubles as a Greek teacher!.
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