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Prof. Pedar Foss Explains the Origins of Latin to Chicago Newspaper

November 17, 2015

A student's question -- "Why do most languages stem from Latin?" -- elicits a response from Pedar Foss, professor of classical studies at DePauw University, in an article published in the Chicago Daily Herald.

"Latin is a branch of the family of Indo-European language and was related to several other languages spoken in central Italy in the first millennium B.C. One of those languages, Oscan, appears alongside Latin on inscriptions and graffiti preserved in the city of Pompeii, for instance," Dr. Foss tells the newspaper.

Hope Babowice writes, "As the empire spread east and west, soldiers, government leaders and citizens brought Latin with them to new territories."

Dr. Foss explains, "The political, economic, and military ascension of Rome, the capital of the Latin people, facilitated the growth of their language.The spread of Christianity, the Norman conquest of England, and the Renaissance all brought influxes of Latin-based words into English."

Of Latin, Foss notes, "A key value is its precision; 326A9679most Latin verbs have more than 200 different forms. While this makes Latin a challenge to learn, it confers two major benefits: the power of exact expression and an understanding of the structure and nuance of language itself.It was only when I began to learn Latin in college that I began truly to understand English."

Read the complete article -- "The origins of the Latin language" -- at the newspaper's website.

Source: Chicago Daily Herald

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