Latin

Latin (; Latin: , ) is a classical language originally spoken in Latium, a part of Italy. Along with the extinct languages Oscan, Umbrian, and Faliscan, it belongs to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. It was written in the Latin alphabet, a writing system derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets. Through the power of Roman Republic and Empire, Latin became the dominant language in Italy and was spread throughout Europe. Non-standard Latin dialects (Vulgar Latin) developed into the Romance languages, such as Italian, Spanish, and French. Latin and French have contributed many words to English, and Latin and Greek roots are used in biology and medicine. Additionally many students, scholars, and some members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and it is taught in primary, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions around the world. Old Latin is the earliest and non-standardized form of Latin. By the late Roman Republic (75 BC), written Latin was standardized into the form called Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin was the colloquial form spoken during the same time and attested in inscriptions and comic playwrights like Plautus and Terence. Later periods include Late Latin, the written language beginning in the 3rd century AD, and Medieval Latin, the language used beginning in the 4th or 9th century. Medieval Latin was influenced by various Germanic and proto-Romance languages until expurgated by Renaissance scholars. It was used as the language of international communication, scholarship, and science until well into the 18th century, when it began to be supplanted by vernaculars. Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, five to seven noun cases, four verb conjugations, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two aspects, and two numbers.