IS LATIN LANGUAGE MORIBUND OR EXTINCT?

The answer is in the negative. Latin is neither dying nor dead. Many modern romance languages like Romania, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian and to a large extent English evolved from Latin. After it’s founding in 753 BC, the Roman Empire endured for about 1000 years before the invasion of the Germans. But Latin language didn’t die with the empire. Instead it transformed into various dialects which at a stage could not understand one another. There are indications that Roman population had diminished drastically at the beginning of fifth century AD. As a result, the territory where Latin was spoken departed from being a single empire with an emperor to being a collection of States, most of which were ruled by invading Germanic Kings. The famous Roman army was disbanded. In 476 AD every ruler in Italy’s main States was Germanic, not Roman.

In a sense, Latin did not die but changed. Christianity played a major role in the continuing usage of the language. The commitment to the Bible and the eagerness of spreading the message to all nations is a leading factor in Latin’s survival.

St. Jerome, a Church Father, was commissioned by Pope Damasus in the late 4th century to translate the Bible into Latin. Of course, there were many old Latin Bibles in circulation but his edition which would be the Vulgate was the corrected standard version.

While the rest of the world spiraled into war and economic depression, the church became an archive, preserving civilization and learning. Beginning as the language of the church, of the liturgy, and of the Bible, Latin doubled as the language of learning and administration, even to the present day.

In specific terms, it is still used in specialized contents but does not have any native speakers. Historically, it didn’t die as much as it changed. Part of the reason for its projected death is that one has to contend with the complex grammatical structure of every word or sentence being modified based on tense, case, person, number, gender, mood and aspect including voice. With no central power promoting and standardizing usage of Classical Latin, it gradually faded into Oblivion.

IMPORTANCE OF LATIN LANGUAGE

The influence of Latin in the worlds literature works is glaringly obvious and impressive. Furthermore, famous scientists and literary giants in human history were well versed in Latin language. Name any profession on earth and it is laced with Latin terminologies. It enables one to enjoy classical literature and understand the history and influence of the Roman Empire. Latin was once the lingua franca of western civilization. It played a major role in European history and world at large being still influential to this day. It is the official language of the Vatican City.

INFLUENCE OF LATIN IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE STRUCTURE

Half of English vocabulary is made up of Latin words and roots. English is a West Germanic language and was not directly derived from Latin. However, it was heavily touched and guided by it and its alphabets are sourced from Latin alphabets. Latin root words like audi(hear), dict(say), gen(birth), jure(law), manu(hand), and port(carry) are commonly used in English vocabulary.
But thats not all. There are many unchanged Latin words and phrases that English speakers frequently use := memorandum, synopsis, alibi, bona fide{ in good faith}, et cetera {etc}, per capita, vice versa, AM{ Ante Meridian }, PM (Post Meridian}. These are all English expressions that are very much alive in life today.
Thus, learning Latin can also help you better understand the English language? Many professions are laden with Latin terms. Disciplines including science, philosophy, law, theology, and music extensively employ its terminologies like ad hoc, ad homine, tabula rasa etc. are all Latin terms.

In legal institution phrases such as caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware), mala fide (In bad faith}, habeas corpus {“You have the body or lets have the body an order by the judge to a jailer to produce a prisoner and to state the reasons for detention) are all of course Latin words.
Latin is the official language of the Vatican City. Name any profession in the world and it is laced with Latin terminologies. It enables one to enjoy classical literature and understand the history and influence of the Roman Empire. It was at one time the lingua franca of Western Civilization Latin played a major role in European history and the world at large being still influential to this day.
Having now explored the domination of Latin in English language structural pattern, it is now required to itemize the ingredients that are necessary to build up a sound English sentence with reference to the study of Latin language sentence structure requirements. This can be done effectively in a series of lessons or lectures in the building up of a Latin sentence. Discipline and maximum concentration is of utmost importance while studying the prerequisites of a good sentence. Verbs must agree with nouns. This is the first rule. This is also applicable in English language.
This leads us to an important issue which is does one need discipline before studying Latin or does the study of Latin discipline one?. The answer to both is in the affirmative. One needs giving in all in order to be able to follow Latin lessons and the same time one is disciplined in the course of study of the language. That is why the students of the language are very meticulous in whatever they do. They always avoid making mistakes as much as possible in all their endeavors in life.
In the next lesson, we shall look at the declensions of nouns. This is to be followed closely by the conjugations of verbs. Then, the moods of verbs before making of Latin sentences. See you in the next lesson.

Credit : Ofomah E.S. writes from St. Davids Catholic Church, Azigbo. Nnewi South LGA. Tel:0810 132 7059

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About Ofomah Stephen 88 Articles
My name is Ofomah Stephen. I'm a Catholic writer. I publish articles based on Catholic teachings and doctrines which will help you to understand and know more about the Catholic practices, history, doctrines and teaching.

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