"...valuable is the enthusiasm [Janson] directs to the history of Latin words and the variety of their uses (with attention even to such divagations as the "Latin" spells in the Harry Potter books). The translators do a fine job of Anglicizing both the language and the cultural assumptions...Recommended"--CHOICE
"An authoritative introduction to arguably the most influential language of all time."--Chicago Tribune
"Janson...comes not to praise the Romans but instead the lingua Latina, whose evolution he traces from its origin some 2,700 years ago as a local language to its apotheosis as the official language of the Roman Empire--and later, when it was no longer anyone's native tongue, of the victorious Christian religion--to an exercise forced upon schoolchildren. He also offers an enthusiastic appreciation of Latin's role, for the better part of yet another millennium, as the language of enlightened Europeans from Chaucer and Abelard to Erasmus, Galileo, Newton, and Rene 'Cogito, ergo sum' Descartes. Nor does he fail to point out Latin's enduring place in medicine, botany, and zoology--or its more recent uses, from Oscar Wilde's 'De Profundis' to the first names of J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' characters, including Albus ('White') Dumbledore."--Boston Globe
"In the hands of a teacher introducing students to Latin, the classics, or to general themes in Western history, this book could be very useful. ... May the Latin is Important movement, assisted by books like Janson's, prosper."--Books & Culture
"It is hard to imagine how this book could be improved. ...from now on, if anyone who has never studied Latin asks me to recommend a short, readable book in which they can find out about the history of Latin and get a feel for the grammar, I will be able to answer unhesitatingly."--Linguist List 16.965
About the Author
Tore Janson was Professor of Oriental and African Languages at the University of Göteborg until his retirement in 2000. He was previously Professor of Linguistics at the same university and a world expert on the history of Latin. He is the author of the international bestseller Speak: A Short History of Languages (OUP 2002; trade paperback 2003).