“Ping-Pong” in Latin, and Other Concepts

If you are learning Latin, you probably want to communicate with living people in Latin. And if so, you will be talking about new things that we need new words for. There are some words that didn’t exist in Latin (which is NOT a dead language) for its first speakers, the ancient Romans, but they need to exist now, for its current speakers; and happily they do exist, because someone has made them. Here are some places to find Latin words for new things you need to talk about.

Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis, parvum verborum novatorum Léxicum (vatican.va)

First of all, the Vatican’s big list of modern words from many languages, including English, all mixed together and sorted alphabetically, with new Latin equivalents. You can find things like “best seller” (liber máxime divénditus) and “mountain bike” (bírota montāna) here, among so many others. It’s not a fancy place on the web, but I think it’s the oldest list, and likely the most famous also!

Neo-Latin Lexicon | Neo-Latin Lexicon (neolatinlexicon.org)

English speakers will be delighted by this long list of words from many sources that give reasonable Latin equivalents for terms in modern life. (This is the list where I found “ludus pilae mensalis” by the way.) The site may be undergoing an update very soon–but it is currently extremely useful, and layout is very elegant in a late Victorian-era sort of style. I will be heavily relying on this list in future.

The Usborne First Thousand Words in Latin

For those of you who are like me and enjoy getting information from books–this colorful volume provides many common daily words (with pictures!) that will help you communicate the quotidian things that you need to communicate. This isn’t only new Latin words, of course, but naturally most of them are, because it is a book about words for things in modern daily life. Yes, it’s a children’s book, and that makes it all the better!

Since Latin is not dead, but immortal, this exceptional language will continue to get new words as long as this world turns throughout the ages. That’s part of what makes Latin study so much fun!

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