Originally spoken by small groups of people living along the lower Tiber River, Latin spread with the increase of Roman political power, first throughout Italy and then throughout most of western and southern Europe and the central and western Mediterranean coastal regions of Africa. The modern Romance languages developed from the spoken Latin of various parts of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages and until comparatively recent times, Latin was the language most widely used in the West for scholarly and literary purposes. Until the latter part of the 20th century its use was required in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.
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THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT LATIN
1. Becoming Multilingual
Latin never truly died, but rather evolved into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian (the Romance languages). About 90 percent of the vocabulary of these languages comes from Latin. To learn Latin is therefore to begin a study of 6 languages at once.
Latin prepares students for many important professions that are steeped in Latin terms and phrases or in English words derived from Latin. These career fields include law, medicine, science, music, theology, philosophy, art, and literature.
3. Educational Virtue
The study of Latin is an ongoing practice in linguistic puzzle-solving that generally helps students to become close and thoughtful readers and writers. Many scholars believe it also hones the mental faculties, cultivating careful analysis and attention.