St. Augustine's native language

Can anyone tell me what language(s) St. Augustine of Hippo would have spoke and wrote in?

St Augustine of Hippo was a Roman citizen and his family had been so for at least 100 years prior to his birth.
He would most probably have spoken latin as his mother tongue and his writing are originally in latin. It is possible he also spoke the local dialect proper to the region he was born in which correspond to present day Algeria.
This area was under the dominion of the Western Rome Empire. During his lifetime the Western Roman Empire was crumbling.

not sure what he spoke in but pretty sure he spoke in latin that was the academic language of the time and the fact that he studied in rome would mean he would have written in that language.

In his Confessions, Augustine remarks about his study of Greek and Latin, and how he preferred Latin. Before he was ordained a priest, and then later consecrated a Bishop, Augustine was a rhetor in the Roman Empire, so by adulthood, he was well versed in both Greek and Latin, and he preferred Latin. If I am not mistaken, his texts were written in Latin originally and then translated.


Thanks for the reply. My other question would be, of what ethnicity was St. Augustine?

The reason I ask is because I have grown a devotion to the Saint. And I like to picture the Saints as they were. For example, when I meditate on Our Lord, in my minds eye I don’t see a Caucasian Jesus with blue eyes. Even though His ethnic race, or any Saints race is irrelevant. I just like to try to visualize them as they were in their life on Earth.

He was an admirer of the works and moral code of Cicero so Latin it probably was.

Definitely Latin. His mother’s name appears to be Berber (the indigenous population before the Romans or the Carthaginians got there), and so he may have known Berber and/or Punic (the language of the Carthaginians). But I don’t recall any clear evidence that he did (which may be my ignorance–Augustine’s works are vast).

He learned Greek, but not very well, by his own admission. Which was too bad, because most theology up to that time had been written in Greek. Some people (especially but not only the Orthodox) think that this had bad results for not only Augustine’s theology but the history of Western Christianity. Whether that’s true, I think it’s fair to say (as, if I recall correctly, Peter Brown said) that his learning didn’t match his genius. He was one of the greatest minds in all of human history, working with relatively little material.


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