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Learning Latin


Latin is the language from which all Romance languages—such as Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian—evolved. It is also the official language of Vatican City. Although few people speak Latin today, about one quarter of the world’s population speaks languages descended directly from Latin.

 

Writing System
Roman alphabet. In ancient times, only capital letters were used, with no spacing or punctuation. In keeping with present-day teaching texts, however, Rosetta Stone Latin uses current conventions regarding capitalization, spacing and punctuation.

 

Language Tips

  • There are no words in Latin for ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Instead, when a question calls for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, a Latin speaker responds by repeating the verb in the affirmative or negative.
  • In Latin, word endings rather than word order show the relationship between words in a sentence. Because so much meaning is contained in word endings, Latin uses fewer words to express an idea than do many modern Romance languages.
  • Although word order in Latin is flexible, you’ll notice that Rosetta Stone often uses a predictable sentence structure when introducing new words or grammar.
  • In Latin, nouns fall into one of three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. You’ll notice that adjectives often change form to reflect the gender of the noun.
  • Spelling and pronunciation are phonetic, and therefore predictable.
  • In general, subject pronouns (the Latin words for ‘I,’ ‘you’ and ‘we,’ for example) are used only when trying to avoid ambiguity. This is because in Latin, as in most Romance languages, verb endings indicate the subject.

Language Family
Italic

Dialect
Classical Latin was the literary language of Ancient Rome during the Golden and Silver Ages of Latin literature, from about 100 B.C. to 100 A.D. It was the language of Cicero and Julius Caesar, and is the Latin that scholars study the most. Modern terms used in Rosetta Stone Latin are derived from many sources, but mainly from contemporary Latin as used by academics and clergy.

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