Latin IS English!

March 4, 2008

Latin is a DEAD Language!!


Latin is a dead language,
As dead as dead can be. 
First it killed the Romans, 
And now it’s killing me!   

Many generations of Latin students have employed this little rhyme to voice their frustration over learning a language so very different from English. Granted, they might not get too much sympathy from those readers of this blog who have undertaken Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and other Semitic languages, but for the average high school student, an inflected language like Latin can be bewildering.

Even for those who have learned Greek and Hebrew and other Semitic languages, there are times when you need to consult Latin texts such as the Vulgate, and if you don’t work with Latin every day, you may find the going a little rough.

Now there’s help for new students and rusty scholars alike. For some time now, we’ve been developing a grammatically-tagged and lemmatized version of the Latin Vulgate. The New Testament is now complete and was recently released at the annual conferences of ETS and SBL. Users of the tagged Vulgate can now drag their cursor over Latin words to get the full parsing information, and can find all inflections of a given lexical form.

The new tagged Vulgate module can’t bring the Latin language back from the dead, but it can reduce its ability to “kill” the Latin student!




  1. Latin is not quite dead. I know a couple of 15 year old penpals, one in Bulgaria,one in London. It is their only common language…

    If you want to build up your vocabulary and you are a visual learner, then there is an ever growing resource of visual learning aids on Schola.

    You need to sign in, and visit the photographiae section.

    Here you will find over 2 800 photographs of objects, with the latin word for the object written on it.

    Some also have basic phrases, introducing related verbs. Everyday objects are included as well, such as furniture, crockery and cutlery, transport, boats, etc.

    There are also images related to learning greetings and salutations.

    This resource is constantly expanding, and anyone serious about learning Latin will find it useful

    All of the resources are free of charge

    The Latinum podcast now has over 50 lessons online, each lesson is composed of several episodes comprising:

    a. grammar
    b. English-Latin conversational dialogue (question and answer)
    c. Repetition of the same short dialogues in Latin only, first with
    pauses, then again more quickly.

    There are already thousands of regular users of the lessons, located all over the world. The clickable map on Latinum’s home page gives an insight into where in the world people are studying and listening to Latin.

    If you cannot attend an actual Latin class, (and even if you can) then Latinum’s lessons, and extensive vocabulary learning resources, classical text readings, etc, will be an invaluable resource.

    Many established Latin programmes, including schools and universities, are also now directing their students to it.

    With over 1,300,000 lessons downloaded to date, this is the largest single Latin programme available.

    Comment by metro — June 9, 2008 @ 2:40 am | Reply

  2. i take latin in school, in brooklyn. Latin is not a dead language. all my friends enjoy it. its so useful and feels good to say you know it. i love latin and i hope it can be brought out more than it is.

    Comment by Anonymous. — June 11, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  3. The rest of the poem is:
    All are dead who wrote it,
    All are dead who spoke it.
    All will die who learn it.
    Blessed death — they earn it.

    I took 4 yrs. of jr.-sr. high school Latin, and another in college. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my school days (remember “Winnie The Pooh” in Latin?) My younger brother followed suit. And my best friends to this day (near retirement) shared the experience. Illigitimis haben non carborundum est. De gustibus non disbutandum est (“De gust” was a household phrase.) Cicero’s letters: “Forgive me for writing a long letter. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” …and “Paper doesn’t blush.” Incomparable. Being a doctor, Latin helped with the Rx abbreviations (b.i.d., t.i.d., q.i.d.). Good basis for our English language. Not a lot of use for Latin — but then again, there certainly is.

    Comment by Lyn — June 24, 2010 @ 2:06 am | Reply

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