Publisher description for A natural history of Latin / Tore Janson ; translated and adapted into English by Merethe Damsgard Srensen and Nigel Vincent.

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Latin is alive and well. Beginning in Rome around 600 BC it became the international language of the civilized world for 2,000 years. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are among its direct descendants. It provides the vocabulary for law and life science. No known language, including English-- itself enriched by Latin words and phrases--has achieved such success and longevity. This book tells its history from origins to the present. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing but authoritative, and written with the fluency and light touch that have made the author's Speak so attractive to tens of thousands of readers, it is a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The first part describes the origins and emergence of Latin and its history over the classical period. The second is an account of its survival through the Middle Ages into modern times, and of its important role in European history and culture. By judicious quotation of Latin words, phrases, and texts the author shows how the language changed in the ways it was spoken and written, how it evolved differently in different places, and how it sometimes met resistance from native languages and sometimes ousted them. He offers a vivid demonstration of the value of Latin as a means of access to a vibrant past and a persuasive argument for its continued value. He ends the book with a concise and easy-to-understand introduction to Latin grammar and a list of the most frequent Latin words including 500 idioms and phrases still in common use. Considered elitist and irrelevant and in the 1960s and 1970s often banned from schools, Latin is now enjoying a huge revival of interest and undergoing a renaissance in schools everywhere. This book offers unique and direct access to its fascinating world.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Latin language -- History.
Latin language, Medieval and modern -- History.