Who still speaks Latin anyway?

When Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy in February 2013, he cast a spotlight on the Latin language. It was reported that a number of Cardinals who had gathered for the announcement were left scratching their heads after the announcement had been made as they did not understand what the Pope had said. Latin was removed from different areas of the Catholic life by the second Vatican Council. This meant that Latin was not actively used in liturgy but also in seminary life. But apart from the Pope, who still speaks the Latin language? There are a still a few Catholics who celebrate mass in Latin. There is also a Latin movement, where activists are trying to revive the language and bring it back to day to day use. Some of the activists can speak the language fluently.

Latin is a dead language. This means that a lot of people no longer speak or write in it nowadays. Latin is an old language that was spoken by the Romans. It is considered to be the mother of all Romance languages. That is why individuals who speak languages like French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese can understand some Latin words. There were two main types of the Latin language. This included Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin. The classical language is what was spoken by the educated Romans and it is what the Catholic church uses and the language studied by many students around the world. Vulgar Latin was more of a spoken variety that was used by the Romans. Some writers such as Cicero used Vulgar Latin in their written works. After the collapse of the Roman empire, Latin continued to be used in other parts of western and central Europe. The Latin language began to lose its dominance in the 15th Century as it was replaced by other European languages.

The Latin alphabet is the most widely used alphabet all over the world. The Romans used 23 letters of the alphabet to write in Latin. The alphabet was only written using upper case letters. The letters J, U and W were added to the alphabet later on when writing in other languages other than Latin.

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