Latin – only a dead language?

Here I am standing at the famous Forum Romanum or Foro Romano how it’s called in Italian. Those of you who had Latin as a school subject know how important and representative this place is for the Roman culture. And now I reveal you a dark secret about me you would never have thought about me. In whole my life I neither studied Latin nor did I ever have it as subject at school. But it doesn’t matter as I speak a few modern Romanic languages so that I am able to understand most of all Latin words. But is Latin actually really a dead language? Well, first of all I have to tell you a strange thing. During my stay in Rome I also went to Vatican where Latin has the status of an official language and there’s even a cash dispenser where all informations on the Screen appear in Latin when taking cash. But in this question you should consider some linguistic aspects as many linguists Claim that Latin actually never died out but is still alive in form of our modern Romanic languages. But some words got a different or at least familiar meaning. For example the word focus which in Latin meant flame is the word for fire in the Romanic languages today, for instance in French le feu, in Italian il fuoco, in Spanish el fuego, in Portuguese o fogo, in Catalan el foc and in Romanian foc(ul). The Latin word for fire was ignis. And here you can recognize the connection with other Indo-European languages. The Polish word for fire is ogień and in Lithuanian it’s ugnis. Another interesting example is that the Romanian languages spoken on the edge of Europe ket a more archaic vocabulary in comparison with the languages spoekn in the middle of Europe. For instance the word for head in Spanish is cabeza, in Portuguese it’s cabeça and in Romanian it’s cap(ul) which come from the Latin word capus. In contrast French uses the word tête and Italian testa which come from the Latin word testa which means shell. As you can notice Latin is still alive but you have to observe it’s presence carefully. For further interesting Facts about the Romanic languages I know from my study of Romanic philolgy the Romanic sty tuned on my next blog article which will follw soon!


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