Latin is classified as extinct according to the criteria of the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. There are no living native speakers of this language.
The linguistic landscape of Central Italy at the beginning of Roman expansion
The Lapis Niger, probably the oldest extant Latin inscription, from Rome, c. 600 BC during the semi-legendary Roman Kingdom
The Latin Malmesbury Bible from 1407
Most 15th-century printed books (incunabula) were in Latin, with the vernacular languages playing only a secondary role.
The signs at Wallsend Metro station are in English and Latin, as a tribute to Wallsend's role as one of the outposts of the Roman Empire, as the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall (hence the name) at Segedunum.
The polyglot European Union has adopted Latin names in the logos of some of its institutions for the sake of linguistic compromise, an "ecumenical nationalism" common to most of the continent and as a sign of the continent's heritage (such as the EU Council: Consilium).
Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico is one of the most famous classical Latin texts of the Golden Age of Latin. The unvarnished, journalistic style of this patrician general has long been taught as a model of the urbane Latin officially spoken and written in the floruit of the Roman Republic.
A multivolume Latin dictionary in the University of Graz Library in Austria.
Latin and Ancient Greek at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, 2014.
The Duenos Inscription, from the 6th century BC, is one of the earliest known Old Latin texts. It was found on the Quirinal Hill in Rome.
A modern Latin text written in the Old Roman Cursive inspired by the Vindolanda tablets, the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. The word Romani ('Romans') is at bottom left.

Classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages.

- Latin

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Extinct language

Language that no longer has any speakers, especially if the language has no living descendants.

Eteocypriot writing, Amathous, Cyprus, 500–300 BC, Ashmolean Museum
Sisters Maxine Wildcat Barnett (left) and Josephine Wildcat Bigler (1921-2016); two of the last elderly speakers of Yuchi, visiting their grandmother's grave in a cemetery behind Pickett Chapel in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. According to the sisters, their grandmother had insisted that Yuchi be their native language.

In contrast, a dead language is one that is no longer the native language of any community, even if it is still in use, like Latin.


Region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire.

Latium and Campania
Latium, Enric Serra Auqué, 1888. Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer
Bust of Augustus wearing the Civic Crown. Glyptothek, Munich

The modern descendant, the Italian Regione of Lazio, also called Latium in Latin, and occasionally in modern English, is somewhat larger still, though less than twice the size of Latium vetus et adiectum, including a large area of ancient Southern Etruria and Sabina.

Latin alphabet

The Duenos inscription, dated to the 6th century BC, shows the earliest known forms of the Old Latin alphabet.
The apices in this first-century inscription are very light. (There is one over the in the first line.) The vowel I is written taller rather than taking an apex. The interpuncts are comma-shaped, an elaboration of a more typical triangular shape. From the shrine of the Augustales at Herculaneum.
De chalcographiae inventione (1541, Mainz) with the 23 letters. J, U and W are missing.
Jeton from Nuremberg, c. 1553
This map shows the countries in the world that use only language(s) predominantly written in a Latin alphabet as the official (or de facto official) national language(s) in dark green. The lighter green indicates the countries that use a language predominantly written in a Latin alphabet as a co-official language at the national level.

The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language and its extensions used to write modern languages.


Local varieties in the West Germanic dialect continuum are oriented towards either Standard Dutch or Standard German depending on which side of the border they are spoken.
Map of the Arabic Dialects located in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
The Books of Genesis of the Ukrainian Nation by Mykola Kostomarov
Map of the Arabic Dialects located in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

The term dialect (from Latin, , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of linguistic phenomena:

Classical Latin

David Ruhnken
Wilhelm Sigismund Teuffel
At Maecenas' Reception, oil, Stefan Bakałowicz, 1890. An artist's view of the classical. Maecenas knew and entertained everyone literary in the Golden Age, especially Augustus.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, after whom Teuffel named his Ciceronian period of the Golden Age
Julius Caesar
The frowning second emperor, Tiberius, limited free speech, precipitating the rise of Silver Latin, with its emphasis on mannerism rather than on solid content, according to Teuffel's model
Marcus Aurelius, emperor over the last generation of classicists and himself a classicist.
Germanicus Caesar
Ancient bust of Seneca, part of a double herm (Antikensammlung Berlin)
Sketch of Apuleius

Classical Latin is the form of Latin language recognized as a literary standard by writers of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire.

Vulgar Latin

The Cantar de Mio Cid (Song of my Cid) is the earliest Spanish text

Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Latin spoken from the Late Roman Republic onwards.

Late Latin

St. Gildas, one of a number of Late Latin writers to promulgate an excidium or ruina Britanniae because of moral turpitude
Edward Gibbon, English historian who espoused the concept of a decline of the Roman Empire resulting in its fall
Constantine the Great

Late Latin (Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin of late antiquity.

Grammatical tense

Category that expresses time reference.

A generative parse tree: the sentence is divided into a noun phrase (subject), and a verb phrase which includes the object. This is in contrast to structural and functional grammar which consider the subject and object as equal constituents.

Expressions of tense are often closely connected with expressions of the category of aspect; sometimes what are traditionally called tenses (in languages such as Latin) may in modern analysis be regarded as combinations of tense with aspect.

Grammatical aspect

Grammatical category that expresses how an action, event, or state, denoted by a verb, extends over time.

A single-word verb in Spanish contains information about time (past, present, future), person and number. The process of grammatically modifying a verb to express this information is called conjugation.

Aspectual distinctions may be restricted to certain tenses: in Latin and the Romance languages, for example, the perfective–imperfective distinction is marked in the past tense, by the division between preterites and imperfects.

Medieval Latin

An illuminated manuscript of a Book of Hours contains prayers in medieval Latin.
The Prüfening dedicatory inscription from Bavaria, dated to 1119, composed in medieval Latin. It was printed rather than carved.

Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in Roman Catholic Western Europe during the Middle Ages.