Why is Latin a dead language?


A language is called a dead language when it is no longer spoken by people as their main language. In contrast to extinct languages that cease to have any speakers, dead languages may continue to be used in legal, scientific and religious fields. Besides Latin, Sanskrit, Biblical Hebrew, Coptic, Avestan and Old Church Slavonic among others are dead languages which are largely used for religious functions.

When did Latin become a dead language?

In the fourth century, Germanic invasions brought about changes in language .The decline of Latin probably took place between the 5th-8th century when Latin evolved into other languages of Italian, French, Romanian, Portuguese and Spanish. Medieval Latin however was still largely used in Europe right into the 18th century, in the fields of administration, medicine and education among others. Gradually the use of Latin came to be restricted to the Roman Catholic Church.

Who spoke Latin before it became a Dead language?

Latin is categorized as an Italic language spoken mainly in Ancient Rome. Apart from the roman citizens Latin was also spoken by the Egyptians, Greeks and members of varied groups including those living in Modern Persia, Turkey and Levant. Latin may be considered to be a dead language today but scholars and many members of the Clergy are well versed in Latin, being the main language of the Catholic Church. Almost till the 19th century Latin was used to write academic books and scholarly papers to reach audiences across America and Europe.

How did Latin become a Dead language?

Latin is no longer the native language of any particular place and as such is not a developing language like the other modern languages. All the same, it is an established fact that Latin is the root for more popular languages used today. Among the various reasons leading to Latin becoming a dead language, is the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of other powers. When the Roman Empire dissolved, it saw the emergence of other languages known as the Romance languages. These languages were primarily influenced by Roman culture and include French, Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese and Italian languages. Thereafter Latin retained its use as a church language and stopped being used as an everyday language.

Is Latin still used?

It is common to find Latin vocabulary in the fields of science, academics and law besides the largely ecclesiastical use of Latin related to the Church. Up till the early 20th century Classical Latin formed an important part of the study of Classics in schools. The Latin alphabet is still a widely used alphabet with terminology originating from Latin words being widely used in diverse fields of religion, law, medicine, science and many other allied areas. Students across the world can choose to study Latin as a subject since it is still taught in many universities. The Roman Catholic Church continues to publish updated versions of Latin.

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