Latin (i/ˈlætᵻn/; Latin: lingua latīna, IPA: [ˈlɪŋɡʷa laˈtiːna]) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets.
Latin was originally spoken in Latium, Italy. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language, initially in Italy and subsequently throughout the Roman Empire. Vulgar Latin developed into the Romance languages, such as French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Romanian. Latin and French have contributed many words to the English language. Latin – along with Greek – roots are used in theology, biology, and medicine.
By the late Roman Republic (75 BC), Old Latin had been standardized into Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin was the colloquial form spoken during the same time and attested in inscriptions and the works of comic playwrights like Plautus and Terence.Late Latin is the written language beginning in the 3rd century AD and Medieval Latin the language used from the ninth century until the Renaissance which used Renaissance Latin. Later, Early Modern Latin and Modern Latin evolved. Latin 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. Ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Holy See and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
Latin script, or Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet, a form of the Cumaean Greek version of the Greek alphabet. It is used as the standard method of writing in most Western and Central European languages, as well as many languages from other parts of the world. Latin script is the basis for the largest number of alphabets of any writing system and is the most widely adopted writing system in the world (commonly used by about 70% of the world's population). It is also the basis of the International Phonetic Alphabet. The 26 most widespread letters are the letters contained in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
The script is either called Roman script or Latin script, in reference to its origin in ancient Rome. In the context of transliteration the term "romanization" or "romanisation" is often found.Unicode uses the term "Latin" as does the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The numeral system is called Roman numeral system, and the collection of the elements Roman numerals.
Latin is an Italic language, originally spoken in ancient Rome and its empire.
Latin can also refer to: