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For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). Latin_sentence_0


PronunciationLatin_header_cell_0_1_0 [laˈtiːnaLatin_cell_0_1_1
Native toLatin_header_cell_0_2_0 Latin_cell_0_2_1
EthnicityLatin_header_cell_0_3_0 LatinsLatin_cell_0_3_1
EraLatin_header_cell_0_4_0 Vulgar Latin developed into the Romance languages, 6th to 9th centuries; the formal language continued as the scholarly lingua franca of medieval Europe and Cilicia, as well as the liturgical language of the Catholic Church.Latin_cell_0_4_1
Language familyLatin_header_cell_0_5_0 Indo-EuropeanLatin_cell_0_5_1
Writing systemLatin_header_cell_0_6_0 Latin alphabetLatin_cell_0_6_1
Official statusLatin_header_cell_0_7_0
Official language inLatin_header_cell_0_8_0 Holy SeeLatin_cell_0_8_1
Regulated byLatin_header_cell_0_9_0 Latin_cell_0_9_1
Language codesLatin_header_cell_0_10_0
ISO 639-1Latin_header_cell_0_11_0 Latin_cell_0_11_1
ISO 639-2Latin_header_cell_0_12_0 Latin_cell_0_12_1
ISO 639-3Latin_header_cell_0_13_0 Latin_cell_0_13_1
GlottologLatin_header_cell_0_14_0 Latin_cell_0_14_1
LinguasphereLatin_header_cell_0_15_0 51-AAB-aa to 51-AAB-acLatin_cell_0_15_1

Latin (latīnum, [laˈtiːnʊ̃ or lingua latīna, [ˈlɪŋɡʷa laˈtiːna) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin_sentence_1

Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Latin_sentence_2

Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language in Italy, and subsequently throughout the western Roman Empire. Latin_sentence_3

Latin has contributed many words to the English language. Latin_sentence_4

In particular, Latin (and Ancient Greek) roots are used in English descriptions of theology, the sciences, medicine, and law. Latin_sentence_5

It is the official language in the Holy See (Vatican City). Latin_sentence_6

By the late Roman Republic (75 BC), Old Latin had been standardised into Classical Latin. Latin_sentence_7

Vulgar Latin was the colloquial form spoken during the same time and attested in inscriptions and the works of comic playwrights like Plautus and Terence and author Petronius. Latin_sentence_8

Late Latin is the written language from the 3rd century; its colloquial form Vulgar Latin developed in the 6th to 9th centuries into the Romance languages, such as Italian, Sardinian, Venetian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Piedmontese, Lombard, French, Franco-Provençal, Occitan, Corsican, Ladin, Friulan, Romansh, Catalan/Valencian, Aragonese, Spanish, Asturian, Galician, and Portuguese. Latin_sentence_9

Medieval Latin was used as a literary language from the 9th century to the Renaissance which used Renaissance Latin. Latin_sentence_10

Later, Early Modern Latin and New Latin evolved. Latin_sentence_11

Latin was the language of international communication, scholarship and science until well into the 18th century, when vernaculars (including the Romance languages) supplanted it. Latin_sentence_12

Ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Holy See and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Latin_sentence_13

Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, six or seven noun cases, five declensions, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two or three aspects, and two numbers. Latin_sentence_14

The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet. Latin_sentence_15

History Latin_section_0

Main article: History of Latin Latin_sentence_16

A number of historical phases of the language have been recognized, each distinguished by subtle differences in vocabulary, usage, spelling, morphology, and syntax. Latin_sentence_17

There are no hard and fast rules of classification; different scholars emphasize different features. Latin_sentence_18

As a result, the list has variants, as well as alternative names. Latin_sentence_19

In addition to the historical phases, Ecclesiastical Latin refers to the styles used by the writers of the Roman Catholic Church from Late Antiquity onward, as well as by Protestant scholars. Latin_sentence_20

After the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 and Germanic kingdoms took its place, the Germanic people adopted Latin as a language more suitable for legal and other, more formal uses. Latin_sentence_21

Old Latin Latin_section_1

Main article: Old Latin Latin_sentence_22

The earliest known form of Latin is Old Latin, which was spoken from the Roman Kingdom to the later part of the Roman Republic period. Latin_sentence_23

It is attested both in inscriptions and in some of the earliest extant Latin literary works, such as the comedies of Plautus and Terence. Latin_sentence_24

The Latin alphabet was devised from the Etruscan alphabet. Latin_sentence_25

The writing later changed from what was initially either a right-to-left or a boustrophedon script to what ultimately became a strictly left-to-right script. Latin_sentence_26

Classical Latin Latin_section_2

Main article: Classical Latin Latin_sentence_27

During the late republic and into the first years of the empire, a new Classical Latin arose, a conscious creation of the orators, poets, historians and other literate men, who wrote the great works of classical literature, which were taught in grammar and rhetoric schools. Latin_sentence_28

Today's instructional grammars trace their roots to such schools, which served as a sort of informal language academy dedicated to maintaining and perpetuating educated speech. Latin_sentence_29

Vulgar Latin Latin_section_3

Main articles: Vulgar Latin, Late Latin, and Romance languages Latin_sentence_30

Philological analysis of Archaic Latin works, such as those of Plautus, which contain snippets of everyday speech, indicates that a spoken language, Vulgar Latin (termed sermo vulgi, "the speech of the masses", by Cicero), existed concurrently with literate Classical Latin. Latin_sentence_31

The informal language was rarely written, so philologists have been left with only individual words and phrases cited by classical authors and those found as graffiti. Latin_sentence_32

As it was free to develop on its own, there is no reason to suppose that the speech was uniform either diachronically or geographically. Latin_sentence_33

On the contrary, romanised European populations developed their own dialects of the language, which eventually led to the differentiation of Romance languages. Latin_sentence_34

The decline of the Roman Empire meant a deterioration in educational standards that brought about Late Latin, a postclassical stage of the language seen in Christian writings of the time. Latin_sentence_35

It was more in line with everyday speech, not only because of a decline in education but also because of a desire to spread the word to the masses. Latin_sentence_36

Despite dialectal variation, which is found in any widespread language, the languages of Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy retained a remarkable unity in phonological forms and developments, bolstered by the stabilising influence of their common Christian (Roman Catholic) culture. Latin_sentence_37

It was not until the Moorish conquest of Spain in 711, cutting off communications between the major Romance regions, that the languages began to diverge seriously. Latin_sentence_38

The Vulgar Latin dialect that would later become Romanian diverged somewhat more from the other varieties, as it was largely separated from the unifying influences in the western part of the Empire. Latin_sentence_39

One key marker of whether a given Romance feature was found in Vulgar Latin is to compare it with its parallel in Classical Latin. Latin_sentence_40

If it was not preferred in Classical Latin, then it most likely came from the undocumented contemporaneous Vulgar Latin. Latin_sentence_41

For example, the Romance for "horse" (Italian cavallo, French cheval, Spanish caballo, Portuguese cavalo and Romanian cal) came from Latin caballus. Latin_sentence_42

However, Classical Latin used equus. Latin_sentence_43

Therefore, caballus was most likely the spoken form. Latin_sentence_44

Vulgar Latin began to diverge into distinct languages by the 9th century at the latest, when the earliest extant Romance writings begin to appear. Latin_sentence_45

They were, throughout the period, confined to everyday speech, as Medieval Latin was used for writing. Latin_sentence_46

Medieval Latin Latin_section_4

Main article: Medieval Latin Latin_sentence_47

Medieval Latin is the written Latin in use during that portion of the postclassical period when no corresponding Latin vernacular existed. Latin_sentence_48

The spoken language had developed into the various incipient Romance languages; however, in the educated and official world, Latin continued without its natural spoken base. Latin_sentence_49

Moreover, this Latin spread into lands that had never spoken Latin, such as the Germanic and Slavic nations. Latin_sentence_50

It became useful for international communication between the member states of the Holy Roman Empire and its allies. Latin_sentence_51

Without the institutions of the Roman empire that had supported its uniformity, medieval Latin lost its linguistic cohesion: for example, in classical Latin sum and eram are used as auxiliary verbs in the perfect and pluperfect passive, which are compound tenses. Latin_sentence_52

Medieval Latin might use fui and fueram instead. Latin_sentence_53

Furthermore, the meanings of many words have been changed and new vocabularies have been introduced from the vernacular. Latin_sentence_54

Identifiable individual styles of classically incorrect Latin prevail. Latin_sentence_55

Renaissance Latin Latin_section_5

Main article: Renaissance Latin Latin_sentence_56

The Renaissance briefly reinforced the position of Latin as a spoken language by its adoption by the Renaissance Humanists. Latin_sentence_57

Often led by members of the clergy, they were shocked by the accelerated dismantling of the vestiges of the classical world and the rapid loss of its literature. Latin_sentence_58

They strove to preserve what they could and restore Latin to what it had been and introduced the practice of producing revised editions of the literary works that remained by comparing surviving manuscripts. Latin_sentence_59

By no later than the 15th century they had replaced Medieval Latin with versions supported by the scholars of the rising universities, who attempted, by scholarship, to discover what the classical language had been. Latin_sentence_60

New Latin Latin_section_6

Main article: New Latin Latin_sentence_61

During the Early Modern Age, Latin still was the most important language of culture in Europe. Latin_sentence_62

Therefore, until the end of the 17th century the majority of books and almost all diplomatic documents were written in Latin. Latin_sentence_63

Afterwards, most diplomatic documents were written in French (a Romance language) and later native or other languages. Latin_sentence_64

Contemporary Latin Latin_section_7

Main articles: Contemporary Latin and Ecclesiastical Latin Latin_sentence_65

Despite having no native speakers, Latin is still used for a variety of purposes in the contemporary world. Latin_sentence_66

Religious use Latin_section_8

The largest organisation that retains Latin in official and quasi-official contexts is the Catholic Church. Latin_sentence_67

Latin remains the language of the Roman Rite; the Tridentine Mass is celebrated in Latin. Latin_sentence_68

Although the Mass of Paul VI is usually celebrated in the local vernacular language, it can be and often is said in Latin, in part or in whole, especially at multilingual gatherings. Latin_sentence_69

It is the official language of the Holy See, the primary language of its public journal, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, and the working language of the Roman Rota. Latin_sentence_70

Vatican City is also home to the world's only automatic teller machine that gives instructions in Latin. Latin_sentence_71

In the pontifical universities postgraduate courses of Canon law are taught in Latin, and papers are written in the same language. Latin_sentence_72

In the Anglican Church, after the publication of the Book of Common Prayer of 1559, a Latin edition was published in 1560 for use in universities such as Oxford and the leading "public schools" (English private academies), where the liturgy was still permitted to be conducted in Latin. Latin_sentence_73

There have been several Latin translations since, including a Latin edition of the 1979 USA Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Latin_sentence_74

Use of Latin for mottos Latin_section_9

In the Western world, many organizations, governments and schools use Latin for their mottos due to its association with formality, tradition, and the roots of Western culture. Latin_sentence_75

Canada's motto A mari usque ad mare ("from sea to sea") and most provincial mottos are also in Latin. Latin_sentence_76

The Canadian Victoria Cross is modelled after the British Victoria Cross which has the inscription "For Valour". Latin_sentence_77

Because Canada is officially bilingual, the Canadian medal has replaced the English inscription with the Latin Pro Valore. Latin_sentence_78

Spain's motto PLVS VLTRA, meaning "further beyond", is also Latin in origin. Latin_sentence_79

It is taken from the personal motto of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain (as Charles I), and is a reversal of the original phrase Non terrae plus ultra ("No land further beyond"). Latin_sentence_80

This was said to have been inscribed as a warning on the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar, which marked the edge of the known world. Latin_sentence_81

Charles adopted the motto following the discovery of the New World by Columbus, and it also has metaphorical suggestions of taking risks and striving for excellence. Latin_sentence_82

Several states of the United States have Latin mottos: such as Connecticut's motto Qui transtulit sustinet ("He who transplanted sustains"); Kansas's Ad astra per aspera ("To the stars through hardships"); Colorado's Nil sine numine ("Nothing without providence"); Michigan's Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice ("If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you"); Missouri's Salus populi suprema lex esto ("The health of the people should be the highest law"); North Carolina's Esse quam videri ("To be rather than to seem"); Virginia's Sic semper tyrannis ("Thus always to tyrants"); and West Virginia's Montani semper liberi ("Mountaineers are always free"). Latin_sentence_83

Many military organizations today have Latin mottos, such as Semper paratus ("always ready"), the motto of the United States Coast Guard; Semper fidelis ("always faithful"), the motto of the United States Marine Corps; and Per ardua ad astra ("Through adversity/struggle to the stars"), the motto of the Royal Air Force (RAF). Latin_sentence_84

Some colleges and universities have adopted Latin mottos, for example Harvard University's motto is Veritas ("truth"). Latin_sentence_85

Veritas was the goddess of truth, a daughter of Saturn, and the mother of Virtue. Latin_sentence_86

Other modern uses Latin_section_10

Switzerland has adopted the country's Latin short name Helvetia on coins and stamps, since there is no room to use all of the nation's four official languages. Latin_sentence_87

For a similar reason, it adopted the international vehicle and internet code CH, which stands for Confœderatio Helvetica, the country's full Latin name. Latin_sentence_88

Some films of ancient settings, such as Sebastiane and The Passion of the Christ, have been made with dialogue in Latin for the sake of realism. Latin_sentence_89

Occasionally, Latin dialogue is used because of its association with religion or philosophy, in such film/television series as The Exorcist and Lost ("Jughead"). Latin_sentence_90

Subtitles are usually shown for the benefit of those who do not understand Latin. Latin_sentence_91

There are also songs written with Latin lyrics. Latin_sentence_92

The libretto for the opera-oratorio Oedipus rex by Igor Stravinsky is in Latin. Latin_sentence_93

The continued instruction of Latin is often seen as a highly valuable component of a liberal arts education. Latin_sentence_94

Latin is taught at many high schools, especially in Europe and the Americas. Latin_sentence_95

It is most common in British public schools and grammar schools, the Italian liceo classico and liceo scientifico, the German Humanistisches Gymnasium and the Dutch gymnasium. Latin_sentence_96

Occasionally, some media outlets, targeting enthusiasts, broadcast in Latin. Latin_sentence_97

Notable examples include Radio Bremen in Germany, YLE radio in Finland (the Nuntii Latini broadcast from 1989 until it was shut down in June 2019), and Vatican Radio & Television, all of which broadcast news segments and other material in Latin. Latin_sentence_98

There are many websites and forums maintained in Latin by enthusiasts. Latin_sentence_99

The Latin Wikipedia has more than 100,000 articles. Latin_sentence_100

Legacy Latin_section_11

Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Catalan, Romansh, and other Romance languages are direct descendants of Latin. Latin_sentence_101

There are also many Latin derivatives in English as well as a few in German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. Latin_sentence_102

Latin is still spoken in Vatican City, a city-state situated in Rome that is the seat of the Catholic Church. Latin_sentence_103

Inscriptions Latin_section_12

Some inscriptions have been published in an internationally agreed, monumental, multivolume series, the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL). Latin_sentence_104

Authors and publishers vary, but the format is about the same: volumes detailing inscriptions with a critical apparatus stating the provenance and relevant information. Latin_sentence_105

The reading and interpretation of these inscriptions is the subject matter of the field of epigraphy. Latin_sentence_106

About 270,000 inscriptions are known. Latin_sentence_107

Literature Latin_section_13

The works of several hundred ancient authors who wrote in Latin have survived in whole or in part, in substantial works or in fragments to be analyzed in philology. Latin_sentence_108

They are in part the subject matter of the field of classics. Latin_sentence_109

Their works were published in manuscript form before the invention of printing and are now published in carefully annotated printed editions, such as the Loeb Classical Library, published by Harvard University Press, or the Oxford Classical Texts, published by Oxford University Press. Latin_sentence_110

Latin translations of modern literature such as The Hobbit, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, The Adventures of Tintin, Asterix, Harry Potter, Le Petit Prince, Max and Moritz, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Latin_sentence_111 , The Cat in the Hat, and a book of fairy tales, "fabulae mirabiles", are intended to garner popular interest in the language. Latin_sentence_112

Additional resources include phrasebooks and resources for rendering everyday phrases and concepts into Latin, such as Meissner's Latin Phrasebook. Latin_sentence_113

Influence on present-day languages Latin_section_14

The Latin influence in English has been significant at all stages of its insular development. Latin_sentence_114

In the Middle Ages, borrowing from Latin occurred from ecclesiastical usage established by Saint Augustine of Canterbury in the 6th century or indirectly after the Norman Conquest, through the Anglo-Norman language. Latin_sentence_115

From the 16th to the 18th centuries, English writers cobbled together huge numbers of new words from Latin and Greek words, dubbed "inkhorn terms", as if they had spilled from a pot of ink. Latin_sentence_116

Many of these words were used once by the author and then forgotten, but some useful ones survived, such as 'imbibe' and 'extrapolate'. Latin_sentence_117

Many of the most common polysyllabic English words are of Latin origin through the medium of Old French. Latin_sentence_118

Romance words make respectively 59%, 20% and 14% of English, German and Dutch vocabularies. Latin_sentence_119

Those figures can rise dramatically when only non-compound and non-derived words are included. Latin_sentence_120

The influence of Roman governance and Roman technology on the less-developed nations under Roman dominion led to the adoption of Latin phraseology in some specialized areas, such as science, technology, medicine, and law. Latin_sentence_121

For example, the Linnaean system of plant and animal classification was heavily influenced by Historia Naturalis, an encyclopedia of people, places, plants, animals, and things published by Pliny the Elder. Latin_sentence_122

Roman medicine, recorded in the works of such physicians as Galen, established that today's medical terminology would be primarily derived from Latin and Greek words, the Greek being filtered through the Latin. Latin_sentence_123

Roman engineering had the same effect on scientific terminology as a whole. Latin_sentence_124

Latin law principles have survived partly in a long list of Latin legal terms. Latin_sentence_125

A few international auxiliary languages have been heavily influenced by Latin. Latin_sentence_126

Interlingua is sometimes considered a simplified, modern version of the language. Latin_sentence_127

Latino sine Flexione, popular in the early 20th century, is Latin with its inflections stripped away, among other grammatical changes. Latin_sentence_128

The Logudorese dialect of the Sardinian language is the closest contemporary language to Latin. Latin_sentence_129

Education Latin_section_15

Throughout European history, an education in the classics was considered crucial for those who wished to join literate circles. Latin_sentence_130

Instruction in Latin is an essential aspect. Latin_sentence_131

In today's world, a large number of Latin students in the US learn from Wheelock's Latin: The Classic Introductory Latin Course, Based on Ancient Authors. Latin_sentence_132

This book, first published in 1956, was written by Frederic M. Wheelock, who received a PhD from Harvard University. Latin_sentence_133

Wheelock's Latin has become the standard text for many American introductory Latin courses. Latin_sentence_134

The Living Latin movement attempts to teach Latin in the same way that living languages are taught, as a means of both spoken and written communication. Latin_sentence_135

It is available at the Vatican and at some institutions in the US, such as the University of Kentucky and Iowa State University. Latin_sentence_136

The British Cambridge University Press is a major supplier of Latin textbooks for all levels, such as the Cambridge Latin Course series. Latin_sentence_137

It has also published a subseries of children's texts in Latin by Bell & Forte, which recounts the adventures of a mouse called Minimus. Latin_sentence_138

In the United Kingdom, the Classical Association encourages the study of antiquity through various means, such as publications and grants. Latin_sentence_139

The University of Cambridge, the Open University, a number of prestigious independent schools, for example Eton, Harrow, Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Merchant Taylor’s School, Via Facilis and Rugby, a London-based charity, run Latin courses. Latin_sentence_140

In the United States and in Canada, the American Classical League supports every effort to further the study of classics. Latin_sentence_141

Its subsidiaries include the National Junior Classical League (with more than 50,000 members), which encourages high school students to pursue the study of Latin, and the National Senior Classical League, which encourages students to continue their study of the classics into college. Latin_sentence_142

The league also sponsors the National Latin Exam. Latin_sentence_143

Classicist Mary Beard wrote in The Times Literary Supplement in 2006 that the reason for learning Latin is because of what was written in it. Latin_sentence_144

Official status Latin_section_16

Latin was or is the official language of European states: Latin_sentence_145


  • Holy See – used in the diocese, with Italian being the official language of Vatican CityLatin_item_0_0
  • Hungary – Latin was an official language in the Kingdom of Hungary from the 11th century to the mid 19th century, when Hungarian became the exclusive official language in 1844. The best known Latin language poet of Croatian-Hungarian origin was Janus Pannonius.Latin_item_0_1
  • Croatia – Latin was the official language of Croatian Parliament (Sabor) from the 13th to the 19th century (1847). The oldest preserved records of the parliamentary sessions (Congregatio Regni totius Sclavonie generalis) – held in Zagreb (Zagabria), Croatia – date from 19 April 1273. An extensive Croatian Latin literature exists. Latin is still used on Croatian coins on even years.Latin_item_0_2
  • Poland, Kingdom of Poland – officially recognised and widely used between the 10th and 18th centuries, commonly used in foreign relations and popular as a second language among some of the nobility.Latin_item_0_3

Phonology Latin_section_17

Main article: Latin phonology and orthography Latin_sentence_146

The ancient pronunciation of Latin has been reconstructed; among the data used for reconstruction are explicit statements about pronunciation by ancient authors, misspellings, puns, ancient etymologies, the spelling of Latin loanwords in other languages, and the historical development of Romance languages. Latin_sentence_147

Consonants Latin_section_18

The consonant phonemes of Classical Latin are as follows: Latin_sentence_148

/z/ was not native to Classical Latin. Latin_sentence_149

It appeared in Greek loanwords starting around the first century BC, when it was probably pronounced [z] initially and doubled [zz] between vowels, in contrast to Classical Greek [dz] or [zd]. Latin_sentence_150

In Classical Latin poetry, the letter ⟨z⟩ between vowels always counts as two consonants for metrical purposes. Latin_sentence_151

The consonant b usually sounds as [b]; however, when a t or s precedes b then it is pronounced as in [pt] or [ps]. Latin_sentence_152

Further, consonants do not blend together. Latin_sentence_153

So, ch, ph, and th are all sounds that would be pronounced as [ch], [ph], and [th]. Latin_sentence_154

In Latin, q is always followed by the vowel u. Latin_sentence_155

Together they make a [kw] sound. Latin_sentence_156

In Old and Classical Latin, the Latin alphabet had no distinction between uppercase and lowercase, and the letters ⟨J U W⟩ did not exist. Latin_sentence_157

In place of ⟨J U⟩, ⟨I V⟩ were used, respectively; ⟨I V⟩ represented both vowels and consonants. Latin_sentence_158

Most of the letterforms were similar to modern uppercase, as can be seen in the inscription from the Colosseum shown at the top of the article. Latin_sentence_159

The spelling systems used in Latin dictionaries and modern editions of Latin texts, however, normally use ⟨j u⟩ in place of Classical-era ⟨i v⟩. Latin_sentence_160

Some systems use ⟨j v⟩ for the consonant sounds /j w/ except in the combinations ⟨gu su qu⟩ for which ⟨v⟩ is never used. Latin_sentence_161

Some notes concerning the mapping of Latin phonemes to English graphemes are given below: Latin_sentence_162






English examplesLatin_header_cell_1_0_2
⟨c⟩, ⟨k⟩Latin_header_cell_1_1_0 [k]Latin_header_cell_1_1_1 Always as k in sky (/skaɪ/)Latin_cell_1_1_2
⟨t⟩Latin_header_cell_1_2_0 [t]Latin_header_cell_1_2_1 As t in stay (/steɪ/)Latin_cell_1_2_2
⟨s⟩Latin_header_cell_1_3_0 [s]Latin_header_cell_1_3_1 As s in say (/seɪ/)Latin_cell_1_3_2
⟨g⟩Latin_header_cell_1_4_0 [ɡ]Latin_header_cell_1_4_1 Always as g in good (/ɡʊd/)Latin_cell_1_4_2
[ŋ]Latin_header_cell_1_5_0 Before ⟨n⟩, as ng in sing (/sɪŋ/)Latin_cell_1_5_1
⟨n⟩Latin_header_cell_1_6_0 [n]Latin_header_cell_1_6_1 As n in man (/mæn/)Latin_cell_1_6_2
[ŋ]Latin_header_cell_1_7_0 Before ⟨c⟩, ⟨x⟩, and ⟨g⟩, as ng in sing (/sɪŋ/)Latin_cell_1_7_1
⟨l⟩Latin_header_cell_1_8_0 [l]Latin_header_cell_1_8_1 When doubled ⟨ll⟩ and before ⟨i⟩, as "light L", [l̥] in link ([l̥ɪnk]) (l exilis)Latin_cell_1_8_2
[ɫ]Latin_header_cell_1_9_0 In all other positions, as "dark L", [ɫ] in bowl ([boʊɫ]) (l pinguis)Latin_cell_1_9_1
⟨qu⟩Latin_header_cell_1_10_0 [kʷ]Latin_header_cell_1_10_1 Similar to qu in quick (/kwɪk/)Latin_cell_1_10_2
⟨u⟩Latin_header_cell_1_11_0 [w]Latin_header_cell_1_11_1 Sometimes at the beginning of a syllable, or after ⟨g⟩ and ⟨s⟩, as /w/ in wine (/waɪn/)Latin_cell_1_11_2
⟨i⟩Latin_header_cell_1_12_0 [j]Latin_header_cell_1_12_1 Sometimes at the beginning of a syllable, as y (/j/) in yard (/jaɹd/)Latin_cell_1_12_2
[ij]Latin_header_cell_1_13_0 "y" (/j/), in between vowels, becomes "i-y", being pronounced as parts of two separate syllables, as in capiō (/kapiˈjo:/)Latin_cell_1_13_1
⟨x⟩Latin_header_cell_1_14_0 [ks]Latin_header_cell_1_14_1 A letter representing ⟨c⟩ + ⟨s⟩: as x in English axe (/æks/)Latin_cell_1_14_2

In Classical Latin, as in modern Italian, double consonant letters were pronounced as long consonant sounds distinct from short versions of the same consonants. Latin_sentence_163

Thus the nn in Classical Latin annus "year" (and in Italian anno) is pronounced as a doubled /nn/ as in English unnamed. Latin_sentence_164

(In English, distinctive consonant length or doubling occurs only at the boundary between two words or morphemes, as in that example.) Latin_sentence_165

Vowels Latin_section_19

Simple vowels Latin_section_20


Latin_header_cell_2_0_0 FrontLatin_header_cell_2_0_1 CentralLatin_header_cell_2_0_2 BackLatin_header_cell_2_0_3
CloseLatin_header_cell_2_1_0 iː ɪLatin_cell_2_1_1 Latin_cell_2_1_2 ʊ uːLatin_cell_2_1_3
MidLatin_header_cell_2_2_0 eː ɛLatin_cell_2_2_1 Latin_cell_2_2_2 ɔ oːLatin_cell_2_2_3
OpenLatin_header_cell_2_3_0 Latin_cell_2_3_1 a aːLatin_cell_2_3_2 Latin_cell_2_3_3

In Classical Latin, ⟨U⟩ did not exist as a letter distinct from V; the written form ⟨V⟩ was used to represent both a vowel and a consonant. Latin_sentence_166

⟨Y⟩ was adopted to represent upsilon in loanwords from Greek, but it was pronounced like ⟨u⟩ and ⟨i⟩ by some speakers. Latin_sentence_167

It was also used in native Latin words by confusion with Greek words of similar meaning, such as sylva and ὕλη. Latin_sentence_168

Classical Latin distinguished between long and short vowels. Latin_sentence_169

Then, long vowels, except for ⟨I⟩, were frequently marked using the apex, which was sometimes similar to an acute accent ⟨Á É Ó V́ Ý⟩. Latin_sentence_170

Long /iː/ was written using a taller version of ⟨I⟩, called i longa "long I": ⟨ꟾ⟩. Latin_sentence_171

In modern texts, long vowels are often indicated by a macron ⟨ā ē ī ō ū⟩, and short vowels are usually unmarked except when it is necessary to distinguish between words, when they are marked with a breve ⟨ă ĕ ĭ ŏ ŭ⟩. Latin_sentence_172

However, they would also signify a long vowel by writing the vowel larger than other letters in a word or by repeating the vowel twice in a row. Latin_sentence_173

The acute accent, when it is used in modern Latin texts, indicates stress, as in Spanish, rather than length. Latin_sentence_174

Long vowels in Classical Latin are, technically, pronounced as entirely different from short vowels. Latin_sentence_175

The difference is described in the table below: Latin_sentence_176


Pronunciation of Latin vowelsLatin_table_caption_3




modern examplesLatin_header_cell_3_0_2
⟨a⟩Latin_header_cell_3_1_0 [a]Latin_header_cell_3_1_1 similar to the last a in attack (/ətæk/)Latin_cell_3_1_2
[aː]Latin_header_cell_3_2_0 similar to a in father (/fɑːðəɹ/)Latin_cell_3_2_1
⟨e⟩Latin_header_cell_3_3_0 [ɛ]Latin_header_cell_3_3_1 as e in pet (/pɛt/)Latin_cell_3_3_2
[eː]Latin_header_cell_3_4_0 similar to e in hey (/heɪ/)Latin_cell_3_4_1
⟨i⟩Latin_header_cell_3_5_0 [ɪ]Latin_header_cell_3_5_1 as i in grid (/ɡɹɪd/)Latin_cell_3_5_2
[iː]Latin_header_cell_3_6_0 similar to i in machine (/məʃiːn/)Latin_cell_3_6_1
⟨o⟩Latin_header_cell_3_7_0 [ɔ]Latin_header_cell_3_7_1 as o in cloth (/klɔθ/)Latin_cell_3_7_2
[oː]Latin_header_cell_3_8_0 similar to o in rose (/ɹoʊz/)Latin_cell_3_8_1
⟨u⟩Latin_header_cell_3_9_0 [ʊ]Latin_header_cell_3_9_1 as oo in hood (/hʊd/)Latin_cell_3_9_2
[uː]Latin_header_cell_3_10_0 similar to ue in true (/tɹuː/)Latin_cell_3_10_1
⟨y⟩Latin_header_cell_3_11_0 [ʏ]Latin_header_cell_3_11_1 does not exist in English; as ü in German Stück (/ʃtʏk/)Latin_cell_3_11_2
[yː]Latin_header_cell_3_12_0 does not exist in English; as üh in German früh (/fʀyː/)Latin_cell_3_12_1

This difference in quality is posited by W. Sidney Allen in his book Vox Latina. Latin_sentence_177

However, Andrea Calabrese has disputed that short vowels differed in quality from long vowels, based upon the observation that [ɪ] and [ʊ] do not exist even in very conservative Romance languages such as Sardinian, with the difference in vowel quality more associated with Germanic languages. Latin_sentence_178

A vowel letter followed by ⟨m⟩ at the end of a word, or a vowel letter followed by ⟨n⟩ before ⟨s⟩ or ⟨f⟩, represented a long nasal vowel, as in monstrum [mõːstrũː]. Latin_sentence_179

Diphthongs Latin_section_21

Classical Latin had several diphthongs. Latin_sentence_180

The two most common were ⟨ae au⟩. Latin_sentence_181

⟨oe⟩ was fairly rare, and ⟨ui eu ei⟩ were very rare, at least in native Latin words. Latin_sentence_182

There has also been debate over whether ⟨ui⟩ is truly a diphthong in Classical Latin, due to its rarity, absence in works of Roman grammarians, and the roots of Classical Latin words (i.e. hui ce to huic, quoi to cui, etc.) not matching or being similar to the pronunciation of classical words if ⟨ui⟩ were to be considered a diphthong. Latin_sentence_183

The sequences sometimes did not represent diphthongs. Latin_sentence_184

⟨ae⟩ and ⟨oe⟩ also represented a sequence of two vowels in different syllables in aēnus [aˈeː.nʊs] "of bronze" and coēpit [kɔˈeː.pɪt] "began", and ⟨au ui eu ei ou⟩ represented sequences of two vowels or of a vowel and one of the semivowels /j w/, in cavē [ˈka.weː] "beware! Latin_sentence_185

", cuius [ˈkʊj.jʊs] "whose", monuī [ˈmɔn.ʊ.iː] "I warned", solvī [ˈsɔɫ.wiː] "I released", dēlēvī [deːˈleː.wiː] "I destroyed", eius [ˈɛj.jʊs] "his", and novus [ˈnɔ.wʊs] "new". Latin_sentence_186

Old Latin had more diphthongs, but most of them changed into long vowels in Classical Latin. Latin_sentence_187

The Old Latin diphthong ⟨ai⟩ and the sequence ⟨āī⟩ became Classical ⟨ae⟩. Latin_sentence_188

Old Latin ⟨oi⟩ and ⟨ou⟩ changed to Classical ⟨ū⟩, except in a few words whose ⟨oi⟩ became Classical ⟨oe⟩. Latin_sentence_189

These two developments sometimes occurred in different words from the same root: for instance, Classical poena "punishment" and pūnīre "to punish". Latin_sentence_190

Early Old Latin ⟨ei⟩ usually changed to Classical ⟨ī⟩. Latin_sentence_191

In Vulgar Latin and the Romance languages, ⟨ae oe⟩ merged with ⟨e ē⟩. Latin_sentence_192

During the Classical Latin period this form of speaking was deliberately avoided by well-educated speakers. Latin_sentence_193


Diphthongs classified by beginning soundLatin_table_caption_4
Latin_header_cell_4_0_0 FrontLatin_header_cell_4_0_1 BackLatin_header_cell_4_0_2
CloseLatin_header_cell_4_1_0 Latin_cell_4_1_1 ui /ui̯/Latin_cell_4_1_2
MidLatin_header_cell_4_2_0 ei /ei̯/


oe /oe̯/

ou /ou̯/Latin_cell_4_2_2

OpenLatin_header_cell_4_3_0 ae /ae̯/

au /au̯/Latin_cell_4_3_1

Syllables Latin_section_22

Syllables in Latin are signified by the presence of diphthongs and vowels. Latin_sentence_194

The number of syllables is the same as the number of vowel sounds. Latin_sentence_195

Further, if a consonant separates two vowels, it will go into the syllable of the second vowel. Latin_sentence_196

When there are two consonants between vowels, the last consonant will go with the second vowel. Latin_sentence_197

An exception occurs when a phonetic stop and liquid come together. Latin_sentence_198

In this situation, they are thought to be a single consonant, and as such, they will go into the syllable of the second vowel. Latin_sentence_199

Length Latin_section_23

Syllables can also be seen as long. Latin_sentence_200

Within a word, a syllable may either be long by nature or long by position. Latin_sentence_201

A syllable that is long by nature has a long vowel or diphthong. Latin_sentence_202

On the other hand, a syllable that is long by position has a short vowel that is followed by more than one consonant. Latin_sentence_203

Stress Latin_section_24

There are two rules that define which syllable is stressed in the Latin language. Latin_sentence_204


  1. In a word with only two syllables, the emphasis will be on the first syllable.Latin_item_1_4
  2. In a word with more than two syllables, there are two cases.Latin_item_1_5
    • If the second-to-last syllable is long, that syllable will have stress.Latin_item_1_6
    • If the second-to-last syllable is not long, the syllable before that one will be stressed instead.Latin_item_1_7

Orthography Latin_section_25

Main article: Latin alphabet Latin_sentence_205

Latin was written in the Latin alphabet, derived from the Etruscan alphabet, which was in turn drawn from the Greek alphabet and ultimately the Phoenician alphabet. Latin_sentence_206

This alphabet has continued to be used over the centuries as the script for the Romance, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Finnic, and many Slavic languages (Polish, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Bosnian and Czech); and it has been adopted by many languages around the world, including Vietnamese, the Austronesian languages, many Turkic languages, and most languages in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, and Oceania, making it by far the world's single most widely used writing system. Latin_sentence_207

The number of letters in the Latin alphabet has varied. Latin_sentence_208

When it was first derived from the Etruscan alphabet, it contained only 21 letters. Latin_sentence_209

Later, G was added to represent /ɡ/, which had previously been spelled C, and Z ceased to be included in the alphabet, as the language then had no voiced alveolar fricative. Latin_sentence_210

The letters Y and Z were later added to represent Greek letters, upsilon and zeta respectively, in Greek loanwords. Latin_sentence_211

W was created in the 11th century from VV. Latin_sentence_212

It represented /w/ in Germanic languages, not Latin, which still uses V for the purpose. Latin_sentence_213

J was distinguished from the original I only during the late Middle Ages, as was the letter U from V. Although some Latin dictionaries use J, it is rarely used for Latin text, as it was not used in classical times, but many other languages use it. Latin_sentence_214

Classical Latin did not contain sentence punctuation, letter case, or interword spacing, but apices were sometimes used to distinguish length in vowels and the interpunct was used at times to separate words. Latin_sentence_215

The first line of Catullus 3, originally written as Latin_sentence_216


  • lv́géteóveneréscupꟾdinésqve ("Mourn, O Venuses and Cupids")Latin_item_2_8

or with interpunct as Latin_sentence_217


  • lv́géte·ó·venerés·cupꟾdinésqveLatin_item_3_9

would be rendered in a modern edition as Latin_sentence_218


  • Lugete, o Veneres CupidinesqueLatin_item_4_10

or with macrons Latin_sentence_219


  • Lūgēte, ō Venerēs CupīdinēsqueLatin_item_5_11

or with apices Latin_sentence_220


  • Lúgéte, ó Venerés Cupídinésque.Latin_item_6_12

The Roman cursive script is commonly found on the many wax tablets excavated at sites such as forts, an especially extensive set having been discovered at Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall in Britain. Latin_sentence_221

Most notable is the fact that while most of the Vindolanda tablets show spaces between words, spaces were avoided in monumental inscriptions from that era. Latin_sentence_222

Alternative scripts Latin_section_26

Occasionally, Latin has been written in other scripts: Latin_sentence_223


  • The Praeneste fibula is a 7th-century BC pin with an Old Latin inscription written using the Etruscan script.Latin_item_7_13
  • The rear panel of the early 8th-century Franks Casket has an inscription that switches from Old English in Anglo-Saxon runes to Latin in Latin script and to Latin in runes.Latin_item_7_14

Grammar Latin_section_27

Main articles: Latin grammar and Latin syntax Latin_sentence_224

Latin is a synthetic, fusional language in the terminology of linguistic typology. Latin_sentence_225

In more traditional terminology, it is an inflected language, but typologists are apt to say "inflecting". Latin_sentence_226

Words include an objective semantic element and markers specifying the grammatical use of the word. Latin_sentence_227

The fusion of root meaning and markers produces very compact sentence elements: amō, "I love," is produced from a semantic element, ama-, "love," to which -ō, a first person singular marker, is suffixed. Latin_sentence_228

The grammatical function can be changed by changing the markers: the word is "inflected" to express different grammatical functions, but the semantic element usually does not change. Latin_sentence_229

(Inflection uses affixing and infixing. Latin_sentence_230

Affixing is prefixing and suffixing. Latin_sentence_231

Latin inflections are never prefixed.) Latin_sentence_232

For example, amābit, "he (or she or it) will love", is formed from the same stem, amā-, to which a future tense marker, -bi-, is suffixed, and a third person singular marker, -t, is suffixed. Latin_sentence_233

There is an inherent ambiguity: -t may denote more than one grammatical category: masculine, feminine, or neuter gender. Latin_sentence_234

A major task in understanding Latin phrases and clauses is to clarify such ambiguities by an analysis of context. Latin_sentence_235

All natural languages contain ambiguities of one sort or another. Latin_sentence_236

The inflections express gender, number, and case in adjectives, nouns, and pronouns, a process called declension. Latin_sentence_237

Markers are also attached to fixed stems of verbs, to denote person, number, tense, voice, mood, and aspect, a process called conjugation. Latin_sentence_238

Some words are uninflected and undergo neither process, such as adverbs, prepositions, and interjections. Latin_sentence_239

Nouns Latin_section_28

Main article: Latin declension Latin_sentence_240

A regular Latin noun belongs to one of five main declensions, a group of nouns with similar inflected forms. Latin_sentence_241

The declensions are identified by the genitive singular form of the noun. Latin_sentence_242

The first declension, with a predominant ending letter of a, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -ae. Latin_sentence_243

The second declension, with a predominant ending letter of o, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -i. Latin_sentence_244

The third declension, with a predominant ending letter of i, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -is. Latin_sentence_245

The fourth declension, with a predominant ending letter of u, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -ūs. Latin_sentence_246

The fifth declension, with a predominant ending letter of e, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -ei. Latin_sentence_247

There are seven Latin noun cases, which also apply to adjectives and pronouns and mark a noun's syntactic role in the sentence by means of inflections. Latin_sentence_248

Thus, word order is not as important in Latin as it is in English, which is less inflected. Latin_sentence_249

The general structure and word order of a Latin sentence can therefore vary. Latin_sentence_250

The cases are as follows: Latin_sentence_251


  1. Nominative – used when the noun is the subject or a predicate nominative. The thing or person acting: the girl ran: puella cucurrit, or cucurrit puellaLatin_item_8_15
  2. Genitive – used when the noun is the possessor of or connected with an object: "the horse of the man", or "the man's horse"; in both instances, the word man would be in the genitive case when it is translated into Latin. It also indicates the partitive, in which the material is quantified: "a group of people"; "a number of gifts": people and gifts would be in the genitive case. Some nouns are genitive with special verbs and adjectives: The cup is full of wine. (Poculum plēnum vīnī est.) The master of the slave had beaten him. (Dominus servī eum verberāverat.)Latin_item_8_16
  3. Dative – used when the noun is the indirect object of the sentence, with special verbs, with certain prepositions, and if it is used as agent, reference, or even possessor: The merchant hands the stola to the woman. (Mercātor fēminae stolam trādit.)Latin_item_8_17
  4. Accusative – used when the noun is the direct object of the subject and as the object of a preposition demonstrating place to which.: The man killed the boy. (Vir puerum necāvit.)Latin_item_8_18
  5. Ablative – used when the noun demonstrates separation or movement from a source, cause, agent or instrument or when the noun is used as the object of certain prepositions; adverbial: You walked with the boy. (Cum puerō ambulāvistī.)Latin_item_8_19
  6. Vocative – used when the noun is used in a direct address. The vocative form of a noun is often the same as the nominative, with the exception of second-declension nouns ending in -us. The -us becomes an -e in the vocative singular. If it ends in -ius (such as fīlius), the ending is just -ī (filī), as distinct from the nominative plural (filiī) in the vocative singular: "Master!" shouted the slave. ("Domine!" clāmāvit servus.)Latin_item_8_20
  7. Locative – used to indicate a location (corresponding to the English "in" or "at"). It is far less common than the other six cases of Latin nouns and usually applies to cities and small towns and islands along with a few common nouns, such as the words domus (house), humus (ground), and rus (country). In the singular of the first and second declensions, its form coincides with the genitive (Roma becomes Romae, "in Rome"). In the plural of all declensions and the singular of the other declensions, it coincides with the ablative (Athēnae becomes Athēnīs, "at Athens"). In the fourth-declension word domus, the locative form, domī ("at home") differs from the standard form of all other cases.Latin_item_8_21

Latin lacks both definite and indefinite articles so puer currit can mean either "the boy is running" or "a boy is running". Latin_sentence_252

Adjectives Latin_section_29

Main article: Latin declension Latin_sentence_253

There are two types of regular Latin adjectives: first- and second- declension and third-declension. Latin_sentence_254

They are so-called because their forms are similar or identical to first- and second-declension and third-declension nouns, respectively. Latin_sentence_255

Latin adjectives also have comparative (more --, -er) and superlative (most --, est) forms. Latin_sentence_256

There are also a number of Latin participles. Latin_sentence_257

Latin numbers are sometimes declined as adjectives. Latin_sentence_258

See Numbers below. Latin_sentence_259

First and second-declension adjectives Latin_section_30

First and second-declension adjectives are declined like first-declension nouns for the feminine forms and like second-declension nouns for the masculine and neuter forms. Latin_sentence_260

For example, for mortuus, mortua, mortuum (dead), mortua is declined like a regular first-declension noun (such as puella (girl)), mortuus is declined like a regular second-declension masculine noun (such as dominus (lord, master)), and mortuum is declined like a regular second-declension neuter noun (such as auxilium (help)). Latin_sentence_261

Third declension adjectives Latin_section_31

Third-declension adjectives are mostly declined like normal third-declension nouns, with a few exceptions. Latin_sentence_262

In the plural nominative neuter, for example, the ending is -ia (omnia (all, everything)), and for third-declension nouns, the plural nominative neuter ending is -a or -ia (capita (heads), animalia (animals)) They can have one, two or three forms for the masculine, feminine, and neuter nominative singular. Latin_sentence_263

Participles Latin_section_32

Latin participles, like English participles, are formed from a verb. Latin_sentence_264

There are a few main types of participles: Present Active Participles, Perfect Passive Participles, Future Active Participles, and Future Passive Participles. Latin_sentence_265

Prepositions Latin_section_33

Latin sometimes uses prepositions, depending on the type of prepositional phrase being used. Latin_sentence_266

Most prepositions are followed by a noun in either the accusative or ablative case: "apud puerum" (with the boy), with "puerum" being the accusative form of "puer", boy, and "sine puero" (without the boy, "puero" being the ablative form of "puer". Latin_sentence_267

A few adpositions, however, govern a noun in the genitive (such as "gratia" and "tenus"). Latin_sentence_268

Verbs Latin_section_34

Main articles: Latin grammar and Latin conjugation Latin_sentence_269

A regular verb in Latin belongs to one of four main conjugations. Latin_sentence_270

A conjugation is "a class of verbs with similar inflected forms." Latin_sentence_271

The conjugations are identified by the last letter of the verb's present stem. Latin_sentence_272

The present stem can be found by omitting the -re (-rī in deponent verbs) ending from the present infinitive form. Latin_sentence_273

The infinitive of the first conjugation ends in -ā-re or -ā-ri (active and passive respectively): amāre, "to love," hortārī, "to exhort"; of the second conjugation by -ē-re or -ē-rī: monēre, "to warn", verērī, "to fear;" of the third conjugation by -ere, -ī: dūcere, "to lead," ūtī, "to use"; of the fourth by -ī-re, -ī-rī: audīre, "to hear," experīrī, "to attempt". Latin_sentence_274

Irregular verbs may not follow the types or may be marked in a different way. Latin_sentence_275

The "endings" presented above are not the suffixed infinitive markers. Latin_sentence_276

The first letter in each case is the last of the stem so the conjugations are also called a-conjugation, e-conjugation and i-conjugation. Latin_sentence_277

The fused infinitive ending is -re or -rī. Latin_sentence_278

Third-conjugation stems end in a consonant: the consonant conjugation. Latin_sentence_279

Further, there is a subset of the third conjugation, the i-stems, which behave somewhat like the fourth conjugation, as they are both i-stems, one short and the other long. Latin_sentence_280

The stem categories descend from Indo-European and can therefore be compared to similar conjugations in other Indo-European languages. Latin_sentence_281

There are six general "tenses" in Latin (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect and future perfect), three moods (indicative, imperative and subjunctive, in addition to the infinitive, participle, gerund, gerundive and supine), three persons (first, second and third), two numbers (singular and plural), two voices (active and passive) and two aspects (perfective and imperfective). Latin_sentence_282

Verbs are described by four principal parts: Latin_sentence_283


  1. The first principal part is the first-person singular, present tense, active voice, indicative mood form of the verb. If the verb is impersonal, the first principal part will be in the third-person singular.Latin_item_9_22
  2. The second principal part is the present active infinitive.Latin_item_9_23
  3. The third principal part is the first-person singular, perfect active indicative form. Like the first principal part, if the verb is impersonal, the third principal part will be in the third-person singular.Latin_item_9_24
  4. The fourth principal part is the supine form, or alternatively, the nominative singular of the perfect passive participle form of the verb. The fourth principal part can show one gender of the participle or all three genders (-us for masculine, -a for feminine and -um for neuter) in the nominative singular. The fourth principal part will be the future participle if the verb cannot be made passive. Most modern Latin dictionaries, if they show only one gender, tend to show the masculine; but many older dictionaries instead show the neuter, as it coincides with the supine. The fourth principal part is sometimes omitted for intransitive verbs, but strictly in Latin, they can be made passive if they are used impersonally, and the supine exists for such verbs.Latin_item_9_25

There are six "tenses" in the Latin language. Latin_sentence_284

These are divided into two tense systems: the present system, which is made up of the present, imperfect and future tenses, and the perfect system, which is made up of the perfect, pluperfect and future perfect tenses. Latin_sentence_285

Each tense has a set of endings corresponding to the person, number, and voice of the subject. Latin_sentence_286

Subject (nominative) pronouns are generally omitted for the first (I, we) and second (you) persons except for emphasis. Latin_sentence_287

The table below displays the common inflected endings for the indicative mood in the active voice in all six tenses. Latin_sentence_288

For the future tense, the first listed endings are for the first and second conjugations, and the second listed endings are for the third and fourth conjugations: Latin_sentence_289


TenseLatin_header_cell_5_0_0 SingularLatin_header_cell_5_0_1 PluralLatin_header_cell_5_0_4
1st PersonLatin_header_cell_5_1_0 2nd PersonLatin_header_cell_5_1_1 3rd PersonLatin_header_cell_5_1_2 1st PersonLatin_header_cell_5_1_3 2nd PersonLatin_header_cell_5_1_4 3rd PersonLatin_header_cell_5_1_5
PresentLatin_header_cell_5_2_0 -ō/mLatin_cell_5_2_1 -sLatin_cell_5_2_2 -tLatin_cell_5_2_3 -musLatin_cell_5_2_4 -tisLatin_cell_5_2_5 -ntLatin_cell_5_2_6
FutureLatin_header_cell_5_3_0 -bō, -amLatin_cell_5_3_1 -bis, -ēsLatin_cell_5_3_2 -bit, -etLatin_cell_5_3_3 -bimus, -ēmusLatin_cell_5_3_4 -bitis, -ētisLatin_cell_5_3_5 -bunt, -entLatin_cell_5_3_6
ImperfectLatin_header_cell_5_4_0 -bamLatin_cell_5_4_1 -bāsLatin_cell_5_4_2 -batLatin_cell_5_4_3 -bāmusLatin_cell_5_4_4 -bātisLatin_cell_5_4_5 -bantLatin_cell_5_4_6
PerfectLatin_header_cell_5_5_0 Latin_cell_5_5_1 -istīLatin_cell_5_5_2 -itLatin_cell_5_5_3 -imusLatin_cell_5_5_4 -istisLatin_cell_5_5_5 -ēruntLatin_cell_5_5_6
Future PerfectLatin_header_cell_5_6_0 -erōLatin_cell_5_6_1 -eris/erīsLatin_cell_5_6_2 -eritLatin_cell_5_6_3 -erimus/-erīmusLatin_cell_5_6_4 -eritis/-erītisLatin_cell_5_6_5 -erintLatin_cell_5_6_6
PluperfectLatin_header_cell_5_7_0 -eramLatin_cell_5_7_1 -erāsLatin_cell_5_7_2 -eratLatin_cell_5_7_3 -erāmusLatin_cell_5_7_4 -erātisLatin_cell_5_7_5 -erantLatin_cell_5_7_6

Deponent verbs Latin_section_35

Some Latin verbs are deponent, causing their forms to be in the passive voice but retain an active meaning: hortor, hortārī, hortātus sum (to urge). Latin_sentence_290

Vocabulary Latin_section_36

As Latin is an Italic language, most of its vocabulary is likewise Italic, ultimately from the ancestral Proto-Indo-European language. Latin_sentence_291

However, because of close cultural interaction, the Romans not only adapted the Etruscan alphabet to form the Latin alphabet but also borrowed some Etruscan words into their language, including persona "mask" and histrio "actor". Latin_sentence_292

Latin also included vocabulary borrowed from Oscan, another Italic language. Latin_sentence_293

After the Fall of Tarentum (272 BC), the Romans began Hellenising, or adopting features of Greek culture, including the borrowing of Greek words, such as camera (vaulted roof), sumbolum (symbol), and balineum (bath). Latin_sentence_294

This Hellenisation led to the addition of "Y" and "Z" to the alphabet to represent Greek sounds. Latin_sentence_295

Subsequently, the Romans transplanted Greek art, medicine, science and philosophy to Italy, paying almost any price to entice Greek skilled and educated persons to Rome and sending their youth to be educated in Greece. Latin_sentence_296

Thus, many Latin scientific and philosophical words were Greek loanwords or had their meanings expanded by association with Greek words, as ars (craft) and τέχνη (art). Latin_sentence_297

Because of the Roman Empire's expansion and subsequent trade with outlying European tribes, the Romans borrowed some northern and central European words, such as beber (beaver), of Germanic origin, and bracae (breeches), of Celtic origin. Latin_sentence_298

The specific dialects of Latin across Latin-speaking regions of the former Roman Empire after its fall were influenced by languages specific to the regions. Latin_sentence_299

The dialects of Latin evolved into different Romance languages. Latin_sentence_300

During and after the adoption of Christianity into Roman society, Christian vocabulary became a part of the language, either from Greek or Hebrew borrowings or as Latin neologisms. Latin_sentence_301

Continuing into the Middle Ages, Latin incorporated many more words from surrounding languages, including Old English and other Germanic languages. Latin_sentence_302

Over the ages, Latin-speaking populations produced new adjectives, nouns, and verbs by affixing or compounding meaningful segments. Latin_sentence_303

For example, the compound adjective, omnipotens, "all-powerful," was produced from the adjectives omnis, "all", and potens, "powerful", by dropping the final s of omnis and concatenating. Latin_sentence_304

Often, the concatenation changed the part of speech, and nouns were produced from verb segments or verbs from nouns and adjectives. Latin_sentence_305

Phrases (Neo-Latin) Latin_section_37

Main article: List of Latin phrases Latin_sentence_306

The phrases are mentioned with accents to show where stress is placed. Latin_sentence_307

In Latin, words are normally stressed either on the second-to-last (penultimate) syllable, called in Latin paenultima or syllaba paenultima, or on the third-to-last syllable, called in Latin antepaenultima or syllaba antepaenultima. Latin_sentence_308

In the following notation, accented short vowels have an acute diacritic, accented long vowels have a circumflex diacritic (representing long falling pitch), and unaccented long vowels are marked simply with a macron. Latin_sentence_309

This reflects the tone of the voice with which, ideally, the stress is phonetically realized; but this may not always be clearly articulated on every word in a sentence. Latin_sentence_310

Regardless of length, a vowel at the end of a word may be significantly shortened or even altogether deleted if the next word begins with a vowel also (a process called elision), unless a very short pause is inserted. Latin_sentence_311

As an exception, the following words: est (English "is"), es ("[you (sg.)] Latin_sentence_312

are") lose their own vowel e instead. Latin_sentence_313

sálvē to one person / salvête to more than one person – hello Latin_sentence_314

ávē to one person / avête to more than one person – greetings Latin_sentence_315

válē to one person / valête to more than one person – goodbye Latin_sentence_316

cûrā ut váleās – take care Latin_sentence_317

exoptâtus to male / exoptâta to female, optâtus to male / optâta to female, grâtus to male / grâta to female, accéptus to male / accépta to female – welcome Latin_sentence_318

quômodo válēs?, ut válēs? Latin_sentence_319

– how are you? Latin_sentence_320

béne – good Latin_sentence_321

béne váleō – I'm fine Latin_sentence_322

mále – bad Latin_sentence_323

mále váleō – I'm not good Latin_sentence_324

quaêsō (roughly: ['kwaeso:]/['kwe:so:]) – please Latin_sentence_325

amâbō tē – please Latin_sentence_326

íta, íta est, íta vêrō, sîc, sîc est, étiam – yes Latin_sentence_327

nôn, mínimē – no Latin_sentence_328

grâtiās tíbi, grâtiās tíbi ágō – thank you, I give thanks to you Latin_sentence_329

mágnās grâtiās, mágnās grâtiās ágō – many thanks Latin_sentence_330

máximās grâtiās, máximās grâtiās ágō, ingéntēs grâtiās ágō – thank you very much Latin_sentence_331

áccipe sīs to one person / accípite sîtis to more than one person, libénter – you're welcome Latin_sentence_332

quā aetâte es? Latin_sentence_333

– how old are you? Latin_sentence_334

25 (vīgíntī quînque) ánnōs nâtus sumby male /25 ánnōs nâta sum by female – I am 25 years old Latin_sentence_335

úbi lātrîna est? Latin_sentence_336

– where is the toilet? Latin_sentence_337

scîs (tū) ... – do you speak (literally: "do you know") ... Latin_sentence_338


  • Latînē? – Latin?Latin_item_10_26
  • Graêcē? (roughly: ['graeke:]/['gre:ke:]) – Greek?Latin_item_10_27
  • Ánglicē? – English?Latin_item_10_28
  • Itálicē? – Italian?Latin_item_10_29
  • Gállicē? – French?Latin_item_10_30
  • Hispânicē? – Spanish? (or: Hispânē)Latin_item_10_31
  • Lūsitânē? – Portuguese?Latin_item_10_32
  • Theodíscē?/Germânicē? – German? (sometimes also: Teutónicē)Latin_item_10_33
  • Sînicē? – Chinese?Latin_item_10_34
  • Iapônicē? – Japanese?Latin_item_10_35
  • Coreânē? – Korean?Latin_item_10_36
  • Arábicē? – Arabic?Latin_item_10_37
  • Pérsicē? – Persian?Latin_item_10_38
  • Índicē? – Hindi?Latin_item_10_39
  • Rússicē? – Russian? (sometimes Rutênicē)Latin_item_10_40
  • Cámbricē? – Welsh?Latin_item_10_41
  • Suêticē? – Swedish? (or: Suêcicē)Latin_item_10_42
  • Polônicē? – Polish?Latin_item_10_43

ámō tē / tē ámō – I love you Latin_sentence_339

Numbers Latin_section_38

Example text Latin_section_39

Commentarii de Bello Gallico, also called De Bello Gallico (The Gallic War), written by Gaius Julius Caesar, begins with the following passage: Latin_sentence_340

The same text may be marked for all long vowels (before any possible elisions at word boundary) with apices over vowel letters, including customarily before "nf" and "ns" where a long vowel is automatically produced: Latin_sentence_341

See also Latin_section_40

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