Historians have since stated that Latin really became a dead language around 600-750AD. This is in line with the diminishing Roman Empire where few people could actually read, and the Italian, French and Spanish spoken language was rapidly evolving.
The fall of Rome precipitated the fragmentation of the empire, which allowed distinct local Latin dialects to develop, dialects which eventually transformed into the modern Romance languages. In a sense, then, Latin never died — it simply changed. So Latin did not die when Rome fell.
In the Western Empire, Latin gradually replaced the Celtic languages, which were related to it by a shared Indo-European origin. Commonalities in syntax and vocabulary facilitated the adoption of Latin. Mediterranean Gaul (southern France) had become trilingual (Greek, Latin, Gaulish) by the mid-1st century BC.
In the Ancient Period, Latin was spoken all around the Roman Empire. But currently, no country is officially speaking Latin in its classical form.
Why is that First, there are no native speakers of Latin. Latin, the language spoken in Ancient Rome, developed and changed over time until it turned into different languages, e.g., French, Italian, and Spanish.
Greek is spoken today by at least 13 million people, principally in Greece and Cyprus along with a sizable Greek-speaking minority in Albania near the Greek-Albanian border.
Latin's relevance as a widely used working language ended around 1800, although examples of its productive use extend well into that century, and in the cases of the Catholic Church and Classical studies, continue to the present day.
As Jonathan Katz, a Classics lecturer at Oxford University, told BBC News, Jesus probably didn't know more than a few words in Latin. He probably knew more Greek, but it was not a common language among the people he spoke to regularly, and he was likely not too proficient.
Extinction as a vernacular
In the lowland zone, Vulgar Latin was replaced by Old English during the course of the 5th and the 6th centuries, but in the highland zone, it gave way to Brittonic languages such as Primitive Welsh and Cornish.
Similar to Sanskrit or Ancient Greek, Latin does not have native speakers, which qualifies it as a “Dead Language”. However, Latin had such an overwhelming prevalence in European and Western science, medicine, and literature, it may never be classified as an “Extinct Language”.
Still today, Latin is all around us and frequently used language. Because it's an official language of Vatican City and plays a pivotal role in Catholicism moreover, it's widespread throughout the domain of science, particularly in naming organisms, body parts, and chemicals.
10 endangered languages that risk extinctionHawaian – Critically endangered.Potawatomi – Critically endangered.Ume Saami – Critically endangered.Tlicho (Dogrib) – Vulnerable.Ainu (Hokkaido) – Critically endangered.Mudburra – Severely endangered.Chemehuevi – Critically endangered.Kamang – Vulnerable.
The oldest written languages discovered in the form of cuneiform clay tablets are Hittite, Babylonian and Sumerian, dating to 6,000 years ago, according to linguist Peter J. Wright on Quora.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century C.E., Latin began to fall out of use—a decline solidified between 600 and 750. The Roman Catholic Church kept the language alive, but spoken Latin more broadly was eventually replaced by the Romance languages.
The Aramaic languages are now considered endangered, since several varieties are used mainly by the older generations. Researchers are working to record and analyze all of the remaining varieties of Neo-Aramaic languages before they become extinct.
Some Christians see the languages written on the INRI cross (Hebrew, Greek and Latin) as God's languages.
However, from the 1960s, universities gradually began to abandon Latin as an entry requirement for Medicine and Law degrees. After the introduction of the Modern Language General Certificate of Secondary Education in the 1980s, Latin began to be replaced by other languages in many schools.
But spoken Latin is in becoming increasingly common in classrooms. According to a 2019 survey of 95 Latin teachers, the most frequently cited change in their teaching methods in the past 10 to 15 years was the introduction of active Latin techniques.
The Latin speaking community is small, but growing. According to our own estimates, there are around 2,000 people around the globe who can speak fluently, and many thousands more who are learning to do so.
Latin is still spoken in Vatican City, a city-state situated in Rome that is the seat of the Catholic Church.
Latin is now considered a dead language, meaning it's still used in specific contexts, but does not have any native speakers. (Sanskrit is another dead language.) In historical terms, Latin didn't die so much as it changed — into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Romanian.
English is still the number one most spoken language around the world with about 370 million native speakers and almost 1 billion second-language speakers. It is still the most international language and it is the language of the Internet, business, and science. To be blunt, English is far from dying.
The language is currently spoken by well over 100 million people. Though the native population is decreasing due to aging, with increased immigration to Japan the population will probably end up staying at least stable.
UNESCO languages by degress of endangeredness
|Name in English
|Number of speakers
|Degree of endangerment
Aramaic is best known as the language Jesus spoke. It is a Semitic language originating in the middle Euphrates. In 800-600 BC it spread from there to Syria and Mesopotamia. The oldest preserved inscriptions are from this period and written in Old Aramaic.