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Lingua Latina est lingua Indoeuropaea qua in Roma antiqua Romani utebantur. Linguam Latinam "linguam mortuam" appellare solemus, tamen institutionibus academicis adhuc lingua Latina docetur. Linguae vivae multae, sicut Italiana, Gallica, Hispanica, Lusitana, Catalana, Sarda, Rhaetica, ex Latina ortae sunt.

Latin is a "dead language" that was used in ancient Rome. Many modern living languages are descended from Latin, notably Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Sardinian and Romanian. And though English isn't descended from Latin, it has a considerable number of Latin loanwords, either coming from it directly, or via French. People often use Latinisms to sound clever.

Latin today[edit]

Until recently, Roman Catholic Masses were performed in Latin.[1] A Latin document effectively helped priests to carry on abusing children (see Crimen Sollicitationis).

Many Latin phrases are used in law, logic, and Astérix comics; these phrases are usually italicized to indicate their foreign origin. Many university mottoes are in Latin, and some fancy schmancy universities like Yale print their diplomas in Latin.[2][3][4]

Latin is also used, along with Greek, for the roots of scientific names for genera and species of living things.[5]

Contrary to rumor, neither Dan Quayle nor George W. Bush ever expressed a desire to learn Latin for an upcoming trip to Latin America.[6]

Various attempts have been made to revive Latin, sometimes in a simplified form. Some children have been raised in it, and there are broadcasts in it (not all from the Vatican). There is a Living Latin community online, although it is very small. The Latin revival is nowhere near the scale of Hebrew, but it can be seen as parallel to the revival of Sanskrit.

Dog Latin[edit]

In case you want to say something in Latin but don't know how, use the {{Dog latin}} template.

Does reading Latin make you smarter?[edit]

Many people who have wasted years of their lives reading Caesar's Gallic Wars in Latin claim that reading publications written in the language makes you "smarter"- specifically, at learning other languages.[7][8] However, the latter might hold a grain of truth if the language you're trying to learn is English or a Romance language, as these will often feature a lot of Latin-derived words.

There is also evidence that bilingualism or multilingualism has benefits not only in academic performance, but even in mental health and preventing dementia.[9] That being said, much of this research focuses on those who actually speak multiple languages, rather than the more text-based manner in which Latin is taught, and thus you would be better off learning a language that you can speak. It is unclear if Latin has any particular benefit, while a language such as Chinese has obvious benefits if you go to China, meet Chinese people, want to invest in China, fear world domination invasion by China, etc. In contrast to claims that there is something special about Latin that promotes language learning singularly superior to that which you could gain from all other languages, a 2003 study found that people who studied French did better than those who studied Latin at learning Spanish.[10] It is claimed that people who study Latin do better academically[7] but that might be because Latin is mostly taught in elite schools.


The book Le français ne vient pas du latin attempts, but fails, to prove that the Romance languages are not descended from Latin, but rather from "old Italian". Certain Romanian nationalists, in their eternal quest to prove that Romanian is not derived from Latin, have unsurprisingly latched onto this work as supposedly being support for their ethnocentric nonsense.

See also[edit]


  1. Facts on Latin in the Roman Catholic Church
  2. University Latin Mottos
  3. A Degree in English
  4. Making Diplomas Modern
  5. How are scientific names developed?
  6. Quayle Quotes, Snopes.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Benefits of Latin: Why study Latin?, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Kentucky, accessed 13 Mar 2020
  8. The Unique Benefits of Learning Latin, Davenant Institute, Jun 24, 2019
  9. The amazing benefits of being bilingual, Gaia Vince, BBC Future, 12th August 2016
  10. In search of the benefits of learning Latin. Haag, L., & Stern, E. (2003). Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 174–178.