- The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi
Latin is an old language that was spoken by the Romans and others during ancient and medieval times. No one speaks Latin as a first language anymore, which makes it a dead language. However, many people around the world study it in school and in other places because it is considered important to understand the past societies and even how current languages work.
Latin is used today in taxonomy to give technical names to species and groups of species of living things. Some terms used in medicine to name parts of the body (such as bones) and diseases are also written in Latin.
Since Latin was very important to Christianity through many centuries, it is still spoken today during some religious activities such as prayers and cults. For the same reason, it is considered official in Vatican, where the Pope, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, lives. People in the Vatican sometimes communicate in Latin (if they have different mother tongues) and sometimes in ceremonies.
Here are some tips for learning Latin on your own:
- get your hands on a beginners' Latin textbook that has lots of exercises and an answer key
- read each lesson, do each exercise, check your answers, and memorize
- once you've finished the textbook, you need to get your hands on some easy reading
- speak the language - speaking Latin is not so common nowadays, but you can improve greatly your fluency doing that
- as you read, make your own personal Latin dictionary
- you can move on to classical Latin texts when you feel comfortable doing so