Why do we study Latin? “It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it.” --Cicero • For nearly 2,000 years, Latin was the language of the educated –the language of churches, governments, science (Sir Isaac Newton), nobles, musicians, and even poets.
Background • Greek is the sister language of Latin – an OLDER sister (ex: 5th century B.C. was the time of the writings of Sophocles, Euripedes) • Latin did not reach its prime until the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C. • As Latin developed, it borrowed from Greek and kept this up even after it became a fully developed language
5 Major Ways Greek Influenced Latin • Roman Traders – business connections in the Greek-speaking near East (influenced merchandise) • Roman soldiers – returned from years of service in Greece, Egypt, Syria • Wealthy young Romans – tutored by a Greek slave, schooled at the University of Athens (influenced mathematical and philosophical terms)
5 Major Ways Greek Influenced Latin • Roman gentlemen – spoke Greek as fluently as Latin – a variety of Greek expressions present in Latin conversation • Rise of Christianity – brought into Latin a whole new group of Greek words – including religious and technical
Today… • Over 800,000 words in the English language • More than 50% are of Latin origin; 11% have come through classical Greek • Some estimates will go higher as scientists and technicians turn again and again to these two languages to develop words
So, why do we study Latin AFTER Greek? • Latin derivatives are more difficult than the Greek because meanings may be less apparent and less sharply defined • In general: Greek roots provide KEYS to meanings, Latin roots provide CLUES. • Ex: alphabet : alpha + beta (names of the first and second letters of the Greek alphabet which were used to make the Latin word alphabetum.)
Alphabet • From the Greek alphabet, Latin also borrowed: K, Y, Z to use in spelling Greek words • During the Middle Ages, j replaced the Latin I used as a consonant (before that, I was used both as a consonant and a vowel). • Letters U and V were originally used in Latin without distinction. Later, V came to denote the consonant and U the vowel.
Derivation is the process of tracing a word from its source. Latin words have become English by… • Being taken over unchanged (area, radius) • Dropping the Latin ending form < forma (shape) laud < laudere (to praise) 3. By dropping the ending and adding a silent “e”: fam – e fortun - e
Latin words have become English… • By way of another language: savage from L. “silva” via F. “savage” isle from L. “insula” via F. “ile” Prefix (L. prae+fixum, fastened before) – one or more syllables placed before the root of a word to modify the meaning of the root
Continued… Root – the basic part of the word Suffix (L. sub+fixum, fastened from under) one or more syllables placed after the root to modify its meaning.