About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and six children.
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“Urban VIII appointed four Jesuits to reform the hymns, so that they should no longer offend Renaissance ears. These four, in that faithful obedience to the Holy See which is the glory of their Society, with a patient care that one cannot help admiring, set to work to destroy every hymn in the office.”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1916)

How Much Latin Do You Need?
published 23 September 2017 by Veronica Brandt

Odda's Chapel Inscription ATIN HAS A REPUTATION as a mark of a highly learned student. The language can seem like a bit of a barrier, even though much of our own language is derived from Latin. In a liturgical setting there are usually translations available, or the texts are well known, so a complete grasp of the ins and outs of the language are not essential, but what are the most valuable things to learn?

I took a copy of the text of the 2002 Missale Romanum and found the 20 most common words along with how many times each occurs.

  • 7523 etand
  • 4754 inin or sometimes on
  • 2867 adto
  • 2484 perfor
  • 2224 utthat
  • 1781 quiwho
  • 1627 deof
  • 1531 DómineLord
  • 1331 DeusGod
  • 1228 profor
  • 1211 ChristumChrist
  • 1114 cumwith
  • 1015 DóminumLord
  • 1011 communionemCommunion
  • 974 velor
  • 955 superover
  • 931 estis
  • 907 antabbreviation for Antiphon
  • 828 Nstands in for the name of someone, eg. Pope N.
  • 799 nosus

These twenty words count for 20% of the total text! That’s one fifth of the Missal. And “n” isn’t even a word, so you only have 19 words left to learn already.

“Domine” and “Dominum” both mean “Lord” – the endings indicate different grammatical clues, but you can work your way up to those nuances later.

I bet you could guess that “Christum” means “Christ” – if you add in Christo, Christus, Christi and Christe then you have covered even more of the Missal.

I hope that gives you a start – or provides a list you can pass on to a friend who may need some encouragement.