November 28, 2021
Latin (self-name - lingua latina), or Latin, is the language of the ancient Romans used in the Roman Empire. The language of the Latin-Faliscan branch of the Italic languages of the Indo-European language family. Today it is the only active, albeit limitedly used (not spoken) of the ancient Italic languages. The modern descendants of Latin are the Romance languages, while the other Italic languages have disappeared, leaving no descendants.
Latin is one of the most ancient written Indo-European languages.
Today, Latin is the official language of the Holy See, the Order of Malta and the Vatican city-state, as well as, in part, the Roman Catholic Church.
A large number of words in European (and not only) languages are of Latin origin (see also International vocabulary).
The letters C and K both stand for / k /. In archaic inscriptions, C is usually used before I and E, while K is used before A. However, in classical times the use of K was limited to a very small list of native Latin words; in Greek loanwords, kappa (Κκ) is always represented by the letter C. The letter Q distinguishes between minimal pairs with / k / and / kʷ /, for example, cui / kui̯ / and qui / kʷiː /.
In early Latin, C stood for two different phonemes: / k / and / g /. Later, a separate letter G was introduced, but the spelling of C was preserved in abbreviations of a number of ancient Roman names, for example, Gāius (Gai) was abbreviated as C., and Gnaeus (Gnei) as Cn.
In classical Latin, the letters I and V (name: ū) meant both the vowels / i / and / u / and the consonants (more precisely, semi-vowels) / j / and / w /. At the end of the Middle Ages, the distinction between Ii / Jj and Uu / Vv was introduced, which is still optional when publishing Latin texts. Often only Ii, Uu, Vv are used, sometimes Ii and Vu.
The letters Y and Z were introduced in the classical era to write words of Greek origin; the letter W was introduced in the Middle Ages to write words of Germanic origin.
The semi-vowel / j / was regularly doubled between vowels, but this did not show up in writing. Before the vowel I, the semi-vowel I was not written at all, for example, / ˈrejjikit / “threw back” was more often written reicit, not reiicit.
The distinction of case (uppercase / lowercase) was introduced in the Middle Ages. The Latin alphabet is the main