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A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system: international law. The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system: a breakdown of law and civilized behavior. A set of rules or principles dealing with a specific area of a legal system: tax law; criminal law. A piece of enacted legislation. What is Law?


Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called
Latium. It gained great importance as the formal language of the Roman Empire.

All Romance languages descend from a Latin parent, and many words based on
Latin are found in other modern languages such as English. Moreover, in the
Western world, Latin was a lingua franca, the learned language for
scientific and political affairs, for more than a thousand years, being
eventually replaced by French in the 18th century and English in the late
19th. It remains the formal language of the Roman Catholic Church to this
day, which includes being the official national language of the Vatican.

Latin has an extensive flectional system, which mainly operates by appending
strings to a fixed stem. Inflection of nouns and adjectives is termed
"declension", that of verbs, "conjugation". There are five declensions of
nouns, and four conjugations for verbs. The six noun forms (or "cases") are
nominative (used for subjects), genitive (show possession), dative (indirect
objects), accusative (direct objects), ablative (used with some
prepositions), and vocative (used to address someone). In addition, there
exists in some nouns a locative case used to express place (normally
expressed by the ablative with a preposition such as IN), but this hold-over
from Indo-European is only found in the names of lakes, cities, towns,
similar locales, and a few other words.

Romance languages are not derived from Classical Latin but rather from
Vulgar Latin. Latin and Romance differ (for example) in that Romance had
distinctive stress whereas Latin had distinctive length of vowels. In
Italian and Sardo logudorese, there is distinctive length of consonants and
stress, in Spanish only distinctive stress, and in French even stress is no
longer distinctive.

Another major distinction between Romance and Latin is that Romance
languages, excluding Romanian, have lost their case endings in most words
(some pronouns being exceptions). Romanian is still equipped with several
cases (though some, notably the ablative, are no longer represented).

Latin and English

English grammar is not a direct derivative of Latin grammar. Attempts to
make English grammar fit Latin rules -- such as the contrived prohibition
against the split infinitive -- have not worked successfully in regular
usage. However, as many as half the words in English come to us through
Latin, including many words of Greek origin, not to mention the thousands of
French, Spanish, and Italian words of Latin origin that have also enriched English.

   * Latin phonemes
   * Latin declension
   * Latin conjugation
   * Latin lexicon
   * List of Latin phrases
   * Compound verbs in English consisting of Latin prefix and Latin verb
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