Latin is one of the most popular dead languages in the world, but it influences many different languages that still exist today. The language itself is not being used in everyday conversations, particularly in English. Thus, Latin is mostly used for medical and health terms.
Plus, Latin is also a kind of symbolic form that is mostly used for incantation or magic spells. But anyways, magic Latin spells are not the topic of our discussion here in this article. Instead, our discussion here is about Latin spellings. So, don’t be confused now!
To get a good grasp of the words in English spellings, you must understand Latin spells through Latin roots and origin, of course. Originally, Latin is a complicated, tricky, and a very classical language in terms of its historical influences. Hence, Latin was spread out from the Roman Empire and made its way through Europe to the Mediterranean regions. That’s why they say Latin blends in with other languages such as Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish as well.
Therefore, start acknowledging Latin spells by reading some basic points below to help you understand.
The Basic Use of Latin Spells in Pronunciation
In the use of Latin spells, there are slight differences in its basic structures, particularly the pronunciation and spelling, when compared to everyday English words. In Latin, the vowels and consonants are the same. But there are some words to be spelt and pronounced slight differences that you’ve been using in a conversation, for example:
- The letter “c” as in “accident” is pronounced as in the sharp letter “s” in front of “e, i, y, ae, eu, oe or ei” words.
- The letter “c” like “car or soccer” is pronounced as in the letter “k” in front of “a, o, u, eu, or ui”.
- The letter “i” is pronounced as a consonant at the beginning of a word or in between 2 vowels, for example, “iodine or Europe”.
Latin Spells in Letters and Phonemes
The phoneme is the basic unit of a spoken language which, when used as a unit, it has no meaning at all. Latin spells, in particular, have individual letters that resemble individual phonemes, except for three main rules:
- The “i” and “u” letters have usually reflected the vowels i and u, and also the semivowels j and w.
- The words that have the pairing vowels, such as the letter “ae”, under one of the diphthong categories of adjacent syllables where one particular syllable and two vowels are reflected.
- Short and long vowels are indicating all the vowel letters that include “a”, “e”, “i”, “o”, “u”, and also “y”.
The Latin Alphabet via omniglot.com
Understand the Latin Origins of a Word
As mentioned earlier, to understand Latin spells, you must know a bit about the Latin origins. Did you know, about 60% of English words come from Latin? Surprisingly, they are mostly found in the science and technology terminologies. So, one Latin root word usually holds the meaning of the word. And this is how you understand the spellings from any English vocabulary.
So, one famous Latin spells a word, “struct-” is a good example to understand how it influences any English vocabulary. In consequence, in English, “struct” basically means “to build, to act or anything that is usually referred to creating or building something”. And, if you never noticed it, there are about 15-ish English words related to “struct”, such as structure, construct, destruct, instruct, and more. At the same time, adding the suffixes to these “struct” words that you often spell by adding -ive, -ion, ing, ive+ly, or -ing+ly.
Besides the Latin spell word “struct-“, there are ten other common used Latin roots influencing English, includes:
- “geo-” which is referring to the earth
- “script-” which has to do with writing
- “photo-” which is related to light
- “phon-” which has to do with the perception of sounds and loudness
- “tele-” has a meaning in relation to distance.
- “vac-” which means empty
- “port-” which means carry
- “sens-” which has to do with feeling
- “auto-” has a meaning that refers to self
- “bio-” is defined as life.
Latin Words that are So Tricky to Spell
If you are curious about learning Latin spells in more depth, you should try to know some Latin influenced English words that are a bit tricky to spell, just for fun! According to the organizing board of the Kids US National spelling bee championship, ten words are considered very hard to spell from around 30,000 English words that were prepared for the contest. Amongst six of the words has a Latin root, and they are:
- Sacrilegious— the “i” and “e” in sacrilegious instead of sacrilegious as in sacred, will confuse anyone.
- Transept— you would probably spell this word as transept like in a trance, but in Latin, this is pronounced transept with an “s” sound.
- Eczema— not only a Latin root, eczema also has a Greek root. So, it is roughly pronounced ek-suh-muhor eg-uh-muh, where the letter “k” and “s” will have similar sounds. As for the letter “g”, some words do pronounce it that way.
- Psoriasis— This is probably one of the easiest out of the six since you can relate the letter “ps” that has a similar sound like psychology.
- Staphylococci— wow, this is truly a tricky Latin word to spell correctly in a single try. This is roughly pronounced as sta-fuh-low-kaa-kee.
- Chiaroscurist— this word also has an Italian root. It is roughly pronounced as kee-arr-uh-skyur-ist, which is a dark word to spell just like its meaning.
Therefore, sometimes Latin spells of any words that follow Latin roots and origins leave letters that have no reason to be written on English words. As a result, we can find English words that are absorbed from Latin words such as long or longa, fame or fama, antique or antiqua, and many more.
There’s probably very minimal articles that discuss about Latin spells. But, the information above has given you enough understanding for now.