How to Speak Latin - The Beautifully Ancient Language of the Yore

How to Speak Latin
Wondering how to speak Latin? Well, here are a few steps which will help you get the basics of this wonderful language. Have a look...
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Jun 4, 2018
Historically the language of the Ancient Romans, Latin was widely used in a large part of Europe and the Mediterranean region post the Roman conquest. Most of the exotic romantic languages like French, Spanish, and German are said to have descended from this italic language.
In fact, centuries ago, learning Latin was considered the benchmark of genteel civility and intellectual scholarship. Today, it is used in a wide range of spheres, like philosophy, medicine, and law. In fact, almost half of the English vocabulary is filled with Latin words like et cetera and per capita.
Latin is also the official language of the Holy see. With such a history, learning the language in a short period of time is quite an impossible task. However, these Latin phrases can help you get through the day.
Learning Latin
Purchase a Latin-English Dictionary
Woman reading book
Pick up the latest Latin to English dictionary and you will be able to translate most of the words and phrases.
Hire a Tutor
A Latin tutor can help you complete your language instruction with interactive study. You can find one online or just advertise in a local newspaper for one.
The downside: just when you are resigned to the fact that Latin nouns have something called an "absolute case," your tutor announces that the absolute case can be subdivided into the "ablative absolute," "ablative of attendant circumstance," "ablative of degree of difference," "ablative of fine or penalty," and "ablative of time during which".
Buy a Language Software
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If you have decided that self instruction is the way to go, then buy a language software or some audio CD courses to help you on your way to mastering the language. Many free online tutorials are also available.
Practice. Practice. Practice
The only problem with this is, that in case you loose track of which quotes correspond to which quotation you would end up saying Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est (It roughly translates to "Yes, that's a very large amount of corn"!) instead of something more romantic to the lovely young ladies.
Guide to Everyday Latin Phrases
  • Salve! - Greetings!
  • Vale! - Goodbye!
  • Bene! - Great!
  • Euge! - Hurray!
  • Satis! - Enough!
  • Eheu! - Oh, no!
  • Hercle! - By golly!
  • Quid est? - What is it?
  • Quis es tu? - Who are you?
  • Eego sum mercator - I am a businessman.
  • Quid vis? - What do you want?
  • Audi! - Listen up!
  • Tace! - Shut up!
  • Placentne tibi? - Do you like them?
  • Die dulci freure! - Have a nice day!
  • Ego tibi gratias maximas ago! - Thanks a million!
Along with these common Latin phrases, here are some that will tickle your funny bone. I wish my teacher had taught me these in my Latin classes. I am sure I wouldn't have drifted off to sleep then!
Make Excuses the Latin Way
  • Canis meus id comedit. - The classic "my dog ate it" excuse.
  • Sane ego te vocavi. Forstan capedictum tuum desit. - I did call. Maybe your answering machine is broken.
  • Horologium manuale meum stitit. - My watch stopped.
  • Currus meus se movere noluit. - My car wouldn't start.
  • Hostes alienigeni me abduxerunt. Qui annus est? - I was kidnapped by aliens. What year is this?
Some Terms of Endearment
  • Fiber fervidus - Eager beaver
  • Pavo absolutus - Total turkey
  • Lacertus atrioli - Lounge lizard
  • Fera festiva - Party animal
  • Radix lecti - Couch potato
Things to Say at the Vatican
  • Ductine haec via ad Capellam Sextinam? - Is this the way to the Sistine Chapel?
  • Ecce lacunar mirum! - Now that's a ceiling!
  • Ubi possum potiri petasi similis isti? - Where can I get a hat like that?
Common Latin Sayings
  • Veni, vidi, vici. - I came; I saw; I conquered.
  • Requiescat in pace. - Rest in peace.
  • Cogito ergo sum. - I think, therefore I am.
  • In vino veritas. - There is truth in wine.
  • Ab uno disce omnes. - If you've seen one, you've seen them all.
  • Ars longa, vita brevis. - Art is long, life is short.
  • Carpe diem! - Seize the day!
  • De mortuis nil nisi bonum. - Do not speak ill of the dead.
  • Festina lente. - Make haste slowly.
  • Fortuna caeca est. - Luck is blind.
  • Omnia vincit amor. - Love conquers all.
  • O tempora! O mores! - Oh, what times we live in! Oh, what morals!
  • Usus magister est optimus. - Experience is the best teacher.
Although the language may sound quite profound and somber, learning it can be an easy and fun thing to do. Remember though, learning any language needs patience and time. After all, 'Anyone can learn to sail in a day, but it takes a lifetime to become a sailor'.