- It is an ancient and liturgical language.
Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, seven noun cases, five declensions, four verb conjugations, four verb principal parts, six tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two aspects, two numbers, and numerous other linguistic characteristics.
Latin is a synthetic, fusional language in the terminology of linguistic typology. In more traditional terminology, it is an inflected language, but typologists are apt to say "inflecting." Words include an objective semantic element and markers specifying the grammatical use of the word. The fusion of root meaning and markers produces very compact sentence elements.
The grammatical function can be changed by changing the markers: the word is "inflected" to express different grammatical functions, but the semantic element usually does not change. (Inflection uses affixing and infixing. Affixing is prefixing and suffixing. Latin inflections are never prefixed.) A major task in understanding Latin phrases and clauses is to clarify such ambiguities by an analysis of context. All natural languages contain ambiguities of one sort or another. The inflections express gender, number, and case in adjectives, nouns, and pronouns, a process called declension. Markers are also attached to fixed stems of verbs, to denote person, number, tense, voice, mood, and aspect, a process called conjugation. Some words are uninflected and undergo neither process, such as adverbs, prepositions, and interjections.
As a language, Latin developed during the late Bronze age of Ancient Terra in the land of Latium, a cultural area found on a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea region of Old Terra's Eurasian continent. A maritime empire based around the city of "Roma" (which was located in Latium) eventually arose that later dominated much of the Old European region of Terra. Even after this "Roman Empire" had fallen and Latin had ceased to be used as a day-to-day language, it survived as a language of lore, learning, and culture among the polities that arose afterward out of its ashes, and became the root of (or otherwise influenced) many of the later languages that evolved in Terra's Old European region.
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