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Latin is the language originally spoken by the inhabitants of the western italian region of Latium, from which it takes its name. It belongs to the Italic languages phylum of the Indoeuropean family and derives in a bunch of languages sprode around Europe, these are called Romance languages. It is a highly inflected language.

Historical Development

The first piece of writen testimony of latin dates from s. VI b.C. Across the time, Latin language evolves and undergo different phases:

  • Arcaic Latin (s. VII - III b.C.)
  • Preclassic Latin (s. III - I b.C.)
  • Classic Latin (s. I b.C. - s. I a.C.)
  • Postclassic Latin (s. I d.C. - s. II d.C.)
  • Late Latin (s. II - s. III )
  • Medieval Latin (s. VII - s. XIV)
  • Humanistic Latin (s. XV - onwards)


There are two registers in Latin: Standard Latin and Vulgar Latin. Vulgar latin was the language spoken by peasants, soldiers and subdits who lived in places of the Imperium apart from Rome, whereas standard latin was the official language used in the public life of Rome and in Literature.
Vulgar latin developed into the Romance languages or Neolatin languages which include: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan and some others.

Writing System

Latin alphabet is the most used writing system in the world. It origins can be traced back to the early Greek alphabet.

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