I want to study Latin.

  1. I read that there are three types of Latin: Classical Latin, Vulgar Latin, and Ecclesiastical Latin. Which one do you recommend to learn?

  2. Are the differences between the three types significant?

  3. If a textbook doesn't specify which type it explains, which type does it actually explain?

It seems that there are actually more types in total:

  • Old Latin
  • Classical Latin
  • Vulgar Latin
  • Medieval Latin
  • Renaissance Latin
  • New Latin
  • Ecclesiastical Latin
  • Contemporary Latin
  • There's also: “Latino Sine Flexione”, Law Latin, Hiberno-Latin, ... Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Most textbooks teach and most people study the Classical one, because it is regarded as the "standard" form with a great amount of ancient literatures.

Vulgar Latin is the name for the Latin language spoken colloquially in the ancient times, and there are no systematic resources for it.

Ecclesiastical Latin is almost the same with the Classical one when written (but pronounced rather differently), while there are some later usages of words. One who understands Classical Latin can easily understand the Ecclesiastical one.

  • 1
    Ecclesiastical vocabulary is also much more familiar to a present-day reader, so moving to it from Classical foundations is somewhat easy. Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 20:00

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