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Latin is an Indo-European language and the only surviving variety of the branch of Italic languages. It has been the sole official language of the Roman Kingdom, the First Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and the Gallo-Roman Empire, and, together with Koiné Greek, an official language of the Second Roman Republic. Today, it is one of the official languages in the Third Roman Republic and the Celtic Empire. It is spoken by over 240,000,000 people as a first language, and by approximately 600,000,000 people as a second or foreign language.
The historical stages of development of Latin were Old Latin (before the 3rd century BC), Classical Latin (3rd century BC-2nd century CE, Common Latin (3rd century CE-9th century CE) and New Standard Latin (from the 10th century CE to the present). Common Latin was an immediate result of the Roman Revolution and the democratisation of society, which led to a mutual assimilation of written (Classical) and oral (vulgar) Latin as well as an absorption of various indigenous influences (Gothic, Thracian and Illyrian in the North-East, Tamazight and Neo-Punic in the South-West etc.). During the period of Common Latin, in which political decentralisation was dominant, various dialects developed in different directions. The most widely spoken Latin dialects of this era were:
- Italic (High Latin)
Since the 10th century CE, widespread literacy, federal media (newspapers etc.), universal education and increasing republic-wide mobility even of poorer citizens contributed to a standardisation process, which assimilated the various dialects more and more towards New Standard Latin, which was heavily influenced by written / High Latin.
Compared to Classical Latin, New Standard Latin contains a much larger vocabulary and a more analytic morphology with fewer flexions, grammatical cases etc.
|Classical Latin||New Standard Latin|
|mundus, mundi, mundo, mundum, mundo||mundu(s), de mundu, lui mundu, a mundu|
|aqua, aquae, aquae, aquam, aqua||aqua, d´aqua, l`aqua, al`aqua|
|ordo, ordinis, ordini, ordinem, ordine||ordo, d´ordine, l´ordine, al`ordine|
|habeo, habes, habet, habemus, habetis, habent||habe, habes, habe, habem, habet, haben|
habeo; habeam; habebam; haberem; habebo;
habui; habuerim; habueram; habuissem; habuero;
habeor; habear; habebar; haberer; habebor;
habitus sum, sim, eram, essem, ero
habe, habæ, habeba, habæ, ab a haber;
ab habitu; -; abea habitu, -, -;
sum habitu, sæ habitu, era habitu, sæ habitu, ab a esser habitu;
ab´ser habitu; -; abea`ser habitu, -, -