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Latin

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Latin was the language of Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. It is a beautiful language, and has had a lasting and profound impact on Western culture. Even today it continues to influence European and American literature, our legal and political systems, architecture, philosophy, theatre, art, and religion.

Over time, Latin evolved into the Romance languages like Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, and Ladin; and Latin is still the source of 75-80% of all words in these languages. Even today, it is still one the official languages in the Vatican City.

Latin is also the source of much modern English. We know that over 60% of English vocabulary is made up of Greek and Latin words. By studying Latin, students will gain an expanded vocabulary and an understanding of word formation that can help them with technical and scientific terminology. This is because Latin provides the root words for most of the modern sciences, law, government, logic, and theology. Latin terminology is still used extensively by biologists, paleontologists, zoologists, paleoanthropologists, and other scientists to name species and specimens, and also by doctors and lawyers. This knowledge is particularly useful for students planning to enter these fields.

Latin is an Indo-European language. It is an is an inflected language with a very different sentence structure to English. In English, meaning is based on word-order, but in Latin the word endings govern meaning.  For this reason, it is an excellent introduction to how languages work, and Latin students have a huge advantage in learning other inflected languages, such as Russian or German.

For more information please contact the Latin coordinator at latin@ntu.edu.sg