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Latinisation (or Latinization) of names, also known as onomastic Latinisation, is the practice of rendering a ''non''-
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
name in a Latin style. It is commonly found with historical
proper names A proper noun is a noun A noun (from Latin ''nōmen'', literally ''name'') is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Exampl ...
, including
personal name 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows a structure typical for the Anglosphere, among others. Other cultures use other structures for full names. A personal name, or full name, i ...
s and
toponym Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of '' toponyms'' (proper names of places, also known as ''place name'' or ''geographic name''), their origins and meanings, use and wik ...
s, and in the standard
binomial nomenclature In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
of the life sciences. It goes further than
romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas ...
, which is the
transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of ha ...

transliteration
of a word to the
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European lan ...

Latin alphabet
from another script (e.g.
Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs , fam2 = Proto-Sinaitic , fam3 = Phoenician alphabet, Phoenician , ...
). For authors writing in Latin, this change allows the name to function grammatically in a sentence through
declension In linguistics, declension is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. The inflectional change of verbs is called Grammatical conjugation, conjugation. Declensions ...
. In a scientific context, the main purpose of Latinisation may be to produce a name which is internationally consistent. Latinisation may be carried out by: * transforming the name into Latin sounds (e.g. '' Geber'' for '' Jabir''), or * adding Latinate suffixes to the end of a name (e.g. ''Meibomius'' for '' Meibom),'' or * translating a name with a specific meaning into Latin (e.g. ''Venator'' for Italian ''Cacciatore''; both mean 'hunter'), or * choosing a new name based on some attribute of the person (e.g.
Daniel Santbech Detail from Santbech's ''Problematum astronomicorum et geometricorum'' Daniel Santbech (fl. 1561) was a Dutch mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ...
became ''Noviomagus'', possibly from the Latin (actually Latinised
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language of all the known Celtic ...
for 'new field') name for the town of
Nijmegen Concert hall Opera Concertgebouw de Vereeniging Nijmegen ( , ;; Spanish language, Spanish and it, Nimega. South Guelderish, Nijmeegs: ''Nimwèège'' ) is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland, on the Waal (river), Waal river close to ...

Nijmegen
).


Personal names

Humanist names, assumed by
Renaissance humanist Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity, at first Italian Renaissance, in Italy and then spreading across Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. During the period, the term ''humanist'' ( it, umanista ...
s, were largely Latinised names, though in some cases (e.g.
Melanchthon Philip Melanchthon. (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German ...

Melanchthon
) they invoked
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages () ...
. Latinisation in humanist names may consist of translation from vernacular European languages, sometimes involving a playful element of punning. Such names could be a cover for humble social origins. The title of the "
Wilhelmus "Wilhelmus van Nassouwe", usually known just as "Wilhelmus" ( nl, Het Wilhelmus, italic=no; ; English translation Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text ...
",
national anthem A national anthem is a Patriotism, patriotic musical composition symbolizing and evoking eulogies of the history and traditions of a country or nation. The majority of national anthems are March (music), marches or hymns in style. Latin America ...
of the
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Dutch Caribbean, Caribbean. It is the largest of four Kingdom of the Netherlands#Constituent countries, cons ...
, preserves a Latinised form of the name of William the Silent.


Place names

In English, place names often appear in Latinised form. This is a result of many early text books mentioning the places being written in Latin. Because of this, the English language often uses Latinised forms of foreign place names instead of anglicised forms or the original names. Examples of Latinised names for countries or regions are: *
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Swe ...

Estonia
(Estonian name ''Eesti'', Dutch/German/Scandinavian name ''Estland'', i.e. 'land of the
AestiThe Aesti (also Aestii, Astui or Aests) were an ancient people first described by the Roman historian Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greate ...
') *
Ingria Flag of Ingria Historical Ingria ( izh, Ingermaa, fi, Inkeri or '; russian: link=no, Ингрия, ''Ingriya'', , ''Izhora'', or , ''Ingermanlandiya''; sv, Ingermanland; et, Ingeri or ') is the geographical area located along the souther ...
(Finnish ''Inkerinmaa'', German/Scandinavian ''Ingermanland'', i.e. 'land of the Ingermans', the local tribe) *
Livonia Livonia ( liv, Līvõmō, et, Liivimaa, fi, Liivinmaa, German and North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages: ', archaic German: ''Liefland'', nl, Lijfland, Latvian language, Latvian and lt, Livonija, pl, Inflanty, archaic English: ...

Livonia
(German/Scandinavian name ''Livland'', i.e. 'land of the Livs', the local tribe) *
Eboracum Eboracum () was a fort and later a coloniae, city in the Roman province of Roman Britain, Britannia. In its prime it was the largest town in northern Britain and a provincial capital. The site remained occupied after the decline of the Western ...
was the Latinised name for the modern English city
York York is a cathedral city with Roman origins at the confluence of the rivers River Ouse, Yorkshire, Ouse and River Foss, Foss in North Yorkshire, England. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city has long-standing buildings and stru ...

York
. It is a Latinised form of the
Brittonic Brittonic or Brythonic may refer to: *Common Brittonic, or Brythonic, the Celtic language anciently spoken in Great Britain *Brittonic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages descended from Common Brittonic *Celtic Britons, Britons (Celtic peop ...
name ''*Eburākon'' which means 'place of (the) yew trees'. The Common Brittonic language was spoken by the indigenous people of Britain and evolved into modern
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
,
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...
, and Breton (Brezhoneg).


Scientific names

Latinisation is a common practice for
scientific name In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
s. For example, ''
Livistona ''Livistona'' is a genus of Arecaceae, palms, the Family (taxonomy), botanical family Arecaceae, native to Southeast Asia, southeastern and East Asia, eastern Asia, Australasia, and the Horn of Africa. They are fan palms, the leaf, leaves with an ...
'', the name of a genus of palm trees, is a Latinisation of ''
Livingstone Livingstone is a surname and given name. The surname is toponymic. It is one of the habitual surnames eventually adopted by members of the Scottish branch of the Irish Dunleavy (Gaelic languages, Gaelic language Duinnshléibhe)/MacNulty royals, ...
''.


Historical background

During the age of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
, translation of names into
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
(in the West) or
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
(in the East) was common. Additionally, Latinised versions of Greek
substantive A noun (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
s, particularly
proper noun A proper noun is a noun A noun (from Latin ''nōmen'', literally ''name'') is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Exampl ...
s, could easily be declined by Latin speakers with minimal modification of the original word. During the
medieval period In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
, after the Empire collapsed in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
, the main bastion of scholarship was the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's old ...

Roman Catholic Church
, for which Latin was the primary written language. In the early medieval period, most European scholars were priests and most educated people spoke Latin, and as a result, Latin became firmly established as the scholarly language for the West. During modern times Europe has largely abandoned Latin as a scholarly language (most scientific studies and scholarly publications are printed in English), but a variety of fields still use Latin terminology as the norm. By tradition, it is still common in some fields to name new discoveries in Latin. And because Western science became dominant during the 18th and 19th centuries, the use of Latin names in many scholarly fields has gained worldwide acceptance, at least when European languages are being used for communication.


References


Sources

* {{cite journal , last = Nicolson , first = Dan H. , year = 1974 , title = Orthography of Names and Epithets: Latinization of Personal Names , journal = Taxon , volume = 23 , issue = 4 , pages = 549–561 , doi = 10.2307/1218779 , publisher = International Association for Plant Taxonomy Latin language Nams