Classical languages are languages which hold prestige as a formal variety of a language, used particularly in written form, and in which a large and important body of literature exists. They are usually ancient languages, now no longer spoken as the first language of any community - although this has not always been the case. Historically, languages which were esteemed as the language of theology, philosophy, science and scholarship may have been the variety used by an educated class, or by speakers from a particular region. The most well-known and widely-taught classical language in the western world is Latin, but classical languages are found throughout Asia and elsewhere. There is a long history of Latin being taught in Australian schools and universities. In recent decades, its popularity has been overtaken by modern European and Asian languages in the school system. At university level, there is an increasing number of lesser-known classical languages on offer.
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