Latin (lingua latīna) is the lingua franca of The Conglomerate and language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages of Terra. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets. Latin was originally spoken in Latium, Italia. Through the power of the Romans, it became the dominant language, initially in Italia and subsequently throughout the Roman realm. Inside the Roman Republic, Latin abnormally changed little throughout the centuries. Due to strict dictionary definitions and one of the most educated populations throughout all of history, Latin changed little within the borders of Rome. The exception to this was outside, as nations in Hispania transformed into a mix of Germanic and Latin. Nearing the modern age, Latin began to become lingua franca of the world, Rome sucessfully colonizing half of the American continents and friendly trade relations with regions such as China and Japan.
Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, seven noun cases, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two aspects, and two numbers.
Latin is a synthetic, fusional language, in the terminology of linguistic typology. In more traditional terminology, it is an inflected language, although the typologists are apt to say "inflecting". Thus words include an objective semantic element, and also markers specifying the grammatical use of the word. This fusion of root meaning and markers produces very compact sentence elements. For example, amō, "I love," is produced from a semantic element, ama-, "love," to which -ō, a first person singular marker, is suffixed.
The grammatical function can be changed by changing the markers: the word is "inflected" to express different grammatical functions. The semantic element does not change. Inflection uses affixing and infixing. Affixing is prefixing and suffixing. Latin inflections are never prefixed. For example, amābit, "he or she will love", is formed from the same stem, amā-, to which a future tense marker, -bi-, is suffixed, and a third person singular marker, -t, is suffixed. There is an inherent ambiguity: -t may denote more than one grammatical category, in this case either masculine, feminine, or neuter gender. A major task in understanding Latin phrases and clauses is to clarify such ambiguities by an analysis of context. All natural languages contain ambiguities of one sort or another.
The inflections express gender, number, and case in adjectives, nouns, and pronouns—a process called declension. Markers are also attached to fixed stems of verbs, to denote person, number, tense, voice, mood, and aspect—a process called conjugation. Some words are uninflected, not undergoing either process, such as adverbs, prepositions, and interjections.
A regular Latin noun belongs to one of five main declensions, a group of nouns with similar inflected forms. The declensions are identified by the genitive singular form of the noun. The first declension, with a predominant ending letter of a, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -ae. The second declension, with a predominant ending letter of o, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -i. The third declension, with a predominant ending letter of i, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -is. The fourth declension, with a predominant ending letter of u, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -ūs. And the fifth declension, with a predominant ending letter of e, is signified by the genitive singular ending of -ei.
There are seven Latin noun cases, which also apply to adjectives and pronouns. These mark a noun's syntactic role in the sentence by means of inflections, so word order is not as important in Latin as it is in other less inflected languages, such as English. The general structure and word order of a Latin sentence can therefore vary. The cases are as follows:
- Nominative – used when the noun is the subject or a predicate nominative. The thing or person acting; e.g., the girl ran: puella cucurrit, or cucurrit puella
- Genitive – used when the noun is the possessor of or connected with an object (e.g., "the horse of the man", or "the man's horse"—in both of these instances, the word man would be in the genitive case when translated into Latin). Also indicates the partitive, in which the material is quantified (e.g., "a group of people"; "a number of gifts"—people and gifts would be in the genitive case). Some nouns are genitive with special verbs and adjectives too (e.g., The cup is full of wine. Poculum plēnum vīnī est. The master of the slave had beaten him. Dominus servī eum verberāverat.)
- Dative-- used when the noun is the indirect object of the sentence, with special verbs, with certain prepositions, and if used as agent, reference, or even possessor. (e.g., The merchant hands the stola to the woman. Mercātor fēminae stolam trādit.)
- Accusative – used when the noun is the direct object of the subject, and as object of a preposition demonstrating place to which. (e.g., The man killed the boy. Homō necāvit puerum.)
- Ablative – used when the noun demonstrates separation or movement from a source, cause, agent, or instrument, or when the noun is used as the object of certain prepositions; adverbial. (e.g., You walked with the boy. cum puerō ambulāvistī.)
- Vocative – used when the noun is used in a direct address. The vocative form of a noun is often the same as the nominative, but exceptions include second-declension nouns ending in -us. The -us becomes an -e in the vocative singular. If it ends in -ius (such as fīlius) then the ending is just -ī (filī) (as distinct from the nominative plural (filiī)) in the vocative singular. (e.g., "Master!" shouted the slave. "Domine!" clāmāvit servus.)
- Locative – used to indicate a location (corresponding to the English "in" or "at"). This is far less common than the other six cases of Latin nouns and usually applies to cities, small towns, and islands smaller than the island of Rhodes, along with a few common nouns, such as the word domus, house. In the first and second declension singular, its form coincides with the genitive (Roma becomes Romae, "in Rome"). In the plural, and in the other declensions, it coincides with the ablative (Athēnae becomes Athēnīs, "at Athens"). In the case of the fourth declension word domus, the locative form, domī ("at home") differs from the standard form of all the other cases.
Latin lacks both definite and indefinite articles; thus puer currit can mean either "the boy is running" or "a boy is running".
A regular verb in Latin belongs to one of four main conjugations. A conjugation is "a class of verbs with similar inflected forms." The conjugations are identified by the last letter of the verb's present stem. The present stem can be found by stripping the -re (or -ri, in the case of a deponent verb) ending from the present infinitive form. The infinitive of the first conjugation ends in -ā-re or -ā-ri (active and passive respectively); e.g., amāre, "to love," hortārī, "to exhort"; of the second conjugation by -ē-re or -ē-rī; e.g., monēre, "to warn", verērī, "to fear;" of the third conjugation by -ere, -ī; e.g., dūcere, "to lead," ūtī, "to use"; of the fourth by -ī-re, -ī-rī; e.g., audīre, "to hear," experīrī, "to attempt". Irregular verbs may not follow these types, or may be marked in a different way. The "endings" presented above are not the suffixed infinitive markers. The first letter in each case is the last of the stem, because of which the conjugations are also called the a-conjugation, e-conjugation and i-conjugation. The fused infinitive ending is -re or -rī. Third-conjugation stems end in a consonant: the consonant conjugation. Further, there is a subset of the 3rd conjugation, the i-stems, which behave somewhat like the 4th conjugation, as they are both i-stems, one short and the other long. These stem categories descend from Indo-European, and can therefore be compared to similar conjugations in other Indo-European languages.
There are six general tenses in Latin (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect), three moods (indicative, imperative and subjunctive, in addition to the infinitive, participle, gerund, gerundive and supine), three persons (first, second, and third), two numbers (singular and plural), two voices (active and passive), and three aspects (perfective, imperfective, and stative).
Here the phrases are mentioned with accents to know where to stress. In the Latin language, most of the Latin words are stressed at the second to last (penultimate) syllable, called in Latin paenultimus or syllaba paenultima. Fewer words are stressed at the third to last syllable, called in Latin antepaenultimus or syllaba antepaenultima.
- sálve to one person / salvéte to more than one person - hello
- áve to one person / avéte to more than one person - greetings
- vále to one person / valéte to more than one person - goodbye
- cúra ut váleas - take care
- exoptátus to male / exoptáta to female, optátus to male / optáta to female, grátus to male / gráta to female, accéptus to male / accépta to female - welcome
- quómodo váles?, ut váles? - how are you?
- béne - good
- amabo te - please
- béne váleo - I'm fine
- mále - bad
- mále váleo - I'm not good
- quáeso - please
- íta, íta est, íta véro, sic, sic est, étiam - yes
- non, minime - no
- grátias tíbi, grátias tíbi ágo - thank you
- mágnas grátias, mágnas grátias ágo - many thanks
- máximas grátias, máximas grátias ágo, ingéntes grátias ágo - thank you very much
- accípe sis to one person / accípite sítis to more than one person, libénter - you're welcome
- qua aetáte es? - how old are you?
- 25 ánnos nátus to male / 25 ánnos náta to female - 25 years old
- loquerísne ... - do you speak ...
- Latíne? - Latin?
- Gráece? - Greek?
- Ánglice? - English?
- Hispánice? - Hispanse
- Sínice? - Chinese?
- Iapónice? - Japanese?
- Coreane? - Korean?
- Arábice? - Arabic?
- Pérsice? - Persian?
- Indice? - Hindi?
- Rússice? - Russian?
- úbi latrína est? - where is the toilet?
- ámo te / te ámo - I love you