- Language: Latin
- Alternate names: Latina
- Language code: lat
- Language family: Indo-European, Italic, Latino-Faliscan
- Number of speakers:
- Script: Latin script
Latin is a member of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European language family that includes other Romance languages. Italic speakers were not native to Italy. They migrated to the Italian Peninsula in the 2nd millennium BC. Before their arrival, Italy was populated by Etruscans, a non-Indo-European-speaking people, in the north, and by Greeks in the south. Latin developed in west-central Italy in an area along the River Tiber known as Latium which became the birthplace of the Roman civilization.
As Rome extended its political dominion over the whole of the Italian Peninsula, Latin become dominant over the other Italic languages, which ceased to be spoken sometime in the 1st century AD. The expansion of the Roman Empire also spread Latin throughout the territories occupied by the Romans who spoke Vulgar Latin, a colloquial variety of the language actually spoken by Roman citizens.
Verbs are one of the trickiest areas of Latin; each verb has numerous conjugated forms. Verbs have three moods (indicative, imperative, and subjunctive), two voices (active and passive), two numbers (singular and plural), three persons (first, second and third), and various other forms. Verbs are conjugated in six main tenses (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect), and have complements of moods for the present, imperfect, perfect, and pluperfect. Infinitives and participles occur in the present, perfect, and future tenses.
Conjugation is the process of inflecting verbs; a set of conjugated forms for a single word is called a conjugation. Latin verbs are divided into four different conjugations by their infinitives, distinguished by the endings -āre, -ēre, -ere, and -īre.
- Old Latin refers to the Latin language in the period before the age of Classical Latin; that is, all Latin before 75 BC.
- Latin Classical Latin is the form of the Latin language used by the ancient Romans in what is usually regarded as "classical" Latin literature. Its use spanned 75 BC – 200.
- Vulgar Latin The spoken Latin of the common people of the Roman Empire, especially from the 2nd century onward, is generally called Vulgar Latin. It differed from Classical Latin in its vocabulary and grammar, and as time passed, it came to differ in pronunciation as well.
- Vulgar Latin, Eastern
Sample Latin verbs:
- sum 'to be'
- volo 'to want'
- amo 'to love'
Defective verbs are those verbs that lack inflected forms.
Inflected forms in preterite; meaning in present
Isolated forms; forms of politiness
- ave; present imperative: ave, avéte
- salve; present imperative: salve, salvéte
- quaeso; present indicative: quaeso, quaésumus
- cōēpī; serves as perfect for incipio.
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- Bielenstein, A.. Handbuch der lettischen Sprache. Mitau, 1863.
- Eckert Rainer et al.. Die baltischen Sprachen. Eine Einführung. Langenscheidt Verlag. Leipzig, 1994.