Latin survives as the official tongue of Vatican City and as the official language of communication of the Roman Catholic Church. Until the 1960s, it was also the language of the Roman Catholic liturgy and is still so used under certain conditions. During the Middle Ages it flourished as the language of the universities, scholars, and writers. It was the language of diplomacy in Europe as late as the 17th cent. and was still widely used in scholarly writing in the 19th cent. Today, although the language has a diminished role in the school curriculum, Latin roots continue to serve as a major source for the derivation of new terms in the sciences and technologies.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.