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A Brief History of the Latin Language
Although currently considered a dead language, Latin was once a vibrant form of speech in ancient Rome and the various regions the empire invaded and annexed. Surviving texts show a progression and metamorphosis of the language that is in keeping with the plentiful influences it experienced from different cultures and peoples.
Discover how Latin changed from the old form to its classical version and from there to the well-known Biblical expression found in the liturgy. Did you know that there were even slang forms of Latin, which were commonly spoken by the proverbial, man on the street?
- Old Latin
- The Classical Latin Period
- Vulgar Latin
- Medieval Latin
- Renaissance Latin
- New Latin
- Modern Latin
Just like any other language, a gradual decline is evident as the phrases continued to evolve. Renaissance Latin, in particular, presents the jumping off point from the classical to the new and modern; from there, the language eventually moves into oblivion.
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Latin Sentence Building
Reading, writing and -- most importantly -- speaking Latin depend, in large part, on the learner’s ability to form grammatically correct sentences. Whereas, English grammar is in intuitive to the native speaker, the second-language-learning aspects of Latin, as well as its structure, demand a thorough understanding of case, tense and gender user.
- The Ablative Absolute
- Latin Interrogative Adjectives
- The Five Cases in Latin Declensions
- An Overview of Latin's Definite and Indefinite Articles
- How to Tell the Grammatical Gender of Latin Words
- An Overview of Latin Direct and Indirect Objects
- The Latin Gerund: An English Comparison
- How to Decline Roman Cardinal Numerals in Latin
- Showing Possession with Latin's Genitive Case
Note that the ablative is a new learning experience for the English speaker, as will be the assignment of grammatical gender. Yet, even there the hard and fast rules of logic dictate the structure of the word endings, which in turn makes it easy on the learner to quickly grasp the concept and apply it even to unknown nouns.
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A Closer Look at Verbs
Verbs are the glue that binds a language together, and Latin is no exception. As a part of speech, these words govern active and passive expressions, support mood and pinpoint time lines. It is fair to say that Latin verbs are the most difficult part of learning to express oneself in the language. Use is governed by strict rules. Make a mistake here, and the entire meaning of a sentence is lost.
- An Introduction to Latin Passive Voice Verbs
- The Form and Function of Latin Infinitive Verbs
- Auxiliary Verbs
- The Basics of Latin Verb Tenses
- Forming and Translating Latin's Irregular Verb Possum
- Learning How to Conjugate Verbs in All Four of Latin’s Conjugations
- How to Recognize and Translate Latin Deponent Verbs
- How to Form Latin Imperfect Tense Verbs
These lesson plans offer much-needed help for the use of verbs in -- and formation of -- sentences. This is done by highlighting the most crucial grammatical aspects dictating verb usage. Spend a bit of time going through this information; it makes or breaks your learning progress.
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Translating Latin Phrases to English
Much more fun than dealing with the intricacies related to verbs are the Latin phrases. Plenty of these profound sayings grace building facades or have become institutional mottos. Yet even here there is an intrinsic learning value: Discover how the parts of speech work together to form sometimes poetic, sometimes humorous sayings.
- Translating 'Compos Mentis' and 'Ceteris Paribus'
- Famous Mottos
- Latin Phrases Found on the United States One Dollar Bill
- Legal Terms: Animus Revertendi, Ipse Dixit, Liber
- Common Latin Phrases Found in English: Modus Operandi, Deus ex Machina, and Curriculum Vitae
In fact, it is fair to say that studying some of the more famous mottos is actually a great method for reinforcing the learning outcomes that the lessons on sentence building and verb formation have offered.
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Basic Translation Techniques
Finish off your understanding of all things Latin by getting in tune with the finer aspects of translations. Literal translation is not always the best vehicle to convey the intended meaning of a sentence. Looking at the individual parts of speech for translation tips and tricks is a suitable way of exploring nuances within the expressions.
- Translating Possessive Pronouns from Latin to English
- Translating Latin Reflexive Pronouns
- Translating Latin Adjectives of Comparison
- Translating Interjections from Latin to English
- Identifying and Translating Predicate Words from Latin to English
- Translating Demonstrative Pronouns from Latin to English
- Translating Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases from Latin to English
- Translating Latin Adverbs into English
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Who knew that learning a supposedly “dead” language could be this enjoyable and easy? Remember to take your time when you first start your foray into all things Latin. It takes a little while to get used to the way the ancients thought and expressed themselves. Once you get a feel for the language, the decision to learn Latin will be quite worth your while.
- Photo Credit: “Calligraphy in a Latin Bible of AD 1407” by Arpingstone under public domain license on Wikimedia Commons