Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin
Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

2.6 Recap

You cannot map an English translation word for word onto its Latin equivalent for two main reasons:

  1. English tends to use more words than Latin, especially little words such as pronouns (‘I’, ‘you’) and prepositions (‘of’, ‘to’).
  2. Latin word order is more free than English and usually different.

Activity 13

Why is the fifth word in a Latin text unlikely to be the equivalent of the fifth word in a parallel English translation?


a. The English word might be in a different position.


b. The English word might not be represented by a Latin word at all.


c. Both a. and b.


d. Neither a. nor b.

The correct answer is c.

For English speakers, coming to grips with word endings is usually the main challenge in learning Latin. It involves not only knowing the endings, but, more importantly, understanding their uses and their implications for the meaning of a sentence. We shall explore this in more detail in the next two sections. In the process, you may find yourself acquiring insights into the workings of English as well as Latin. And if you can overcome the thought that Latin is a language of missing words and a strange word order, then you are well on your way to thinking in Latin rather than in English.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371