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Why Study Latin?

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Posted By: M2, 11/10/2019 6:52:39 AM

Oxford professor Nicola Gardini urges people to read and study Latin. He believes that Latin is the antidote for the modern age, which seems transfixed by the spontaneous, the easy, and the ephemeral. His new book, Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language, argues that Latin combines truth and beauty with the timelessness of art. People should study Latin for all the reasons people should read literature. In his Confessions, St. Augustine (354–430 C.E.) “placed the learning of Latin under God’s purview,” Gardini writes. Augustine believed Latin drew a child closer to God, “the truest truth.” Gardini argues that Latin contains the logic and precision of math


It is really a shame that Latin is no longer spoken. I have always contended that we should be able to speak Latin.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: coldoc 11/10/2019 7:03:43 AM (No. 231242)
I had two years of latin in high school (new york). Hated it, was terrible at it, but later in life in a way it seems to always be there in the back of my mind. (especially when I was learning spanish).
14 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: kiwikit 11/10/2019 7:15:16 AM (No. 231253)
As one who studied Latin for four years in high school, I totally agree with its value. A private school here in Beaufort teaches both Latin and Greek, starting in grammar school. They can report that their students were six or seven times more successful at the Nat'l Merit exams than were those from the public school. The classics provide discipline for the mind.
22 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Socaworld 11/10/2019 7:17:11 AM (No. 231258)
aedificare muram (build the wall)
25 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: F15 Gork 11/10/2019 7:21:01 AM (No. 231263)
“Morituri te salutamus” is all I can recall from high school. “We who are about to die salute you” ....... used it often in Vietnam.
11 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: franq 11/10/2019 7:25:13 AM (No. 231264)
So when the MSM uses words like gravitas and quid pro quo, we can understand?
16 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: crankyyankee 11/10/2019 7:37:39 AM (No. 231274)
Three years of Latin in high school here, as I progressed through my English grade improved and I expanded my vocabulary. The teacher was a WWII war hero and a wonderful teacher and person. Never a regret about the course selection!
11 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: Jennie C. 11/10/2019 7:56:27 AM (No. 231289)
We were required to take (2 years) Latin in HS. Not by the school, by our parents. It was later, after I was out of college even, before my dad explained that you don't take Latin to learn to speak it. You take it to learn English grammar. I realized he was correct. I had been taught decent grammar in English class, but really understood it because of Latin. Okay English doesn't have the absolute ablative (lol), but otherwise... Also, the classic literature you read while taking it, Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic wars, and the Aeneid, in my case, were just wonderful.
14 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: ROLFNader 11/10/2019 8:03:51 AM (No. 231300)
We had to take one year of foreign language in high school in the sixties. I'm glad that I did(now) as it has been of great value as so many languages are rooted in Latin. Besides , the other choice was French and back then, as now, I don't value much of anything from the frogs. Well, OK, maybe Bridgette Bardot.
8 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: ussjimmycarter 11/10/2019 8:09:04 AM (No. 231308)
Took a year in HS and 2 Years in College and never learned anything! I had a complete lack of interest in the subject and only know one word fluently. Agricola (f) Farmer! I can read some and see a few words here and there but unless you really want it...very difficult for a moron like me!
1 person likes this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Rather Read 11/10/2019 8:09:44 AM (No. 231309)
I never took Latin formally, but I grew up going to the traditional Latin Mass and absorbed a lot of the language. When I took Spanish in high school, it turned out to be very useful.
7 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: earlybird 11/10/2019 8:25:21 AM (No. 231335)
I took four years and have never ever regretted it. It has always helped with vocabulary. It is the root of the Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian) and a great help with those as well. But it is always there, as someone said, in the back of the mind. A lifelong resource. It was one of my favorite classes, and my younger son loved Latin as well ...
10 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: Lawsy0 11/10/2019 8:32:56 AM (No. 231347)
Like poster above, I took Latin I in high school. Flunked twice and was allowed to start Latin II. Did a little better, but had the same determined teacher. As it turned out, I was able to ace a medical terminology test for clerical job at a medical university. Go figure!
6 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: TnEm 11/10/2019 8:57:23 AM (No. 231377)
Latin written in cursive - our own secret code language.
11 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: BeatleJeff 11/10/2019 8:57:38 AM (No. 231378)
Methinks we should concentrate on teaching our chillun proper English first before we venture into foreign languages.
3 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: Calamity Kate 11/10/2019 9:03:18 AM (No. 231385)
I took Latin in college. Loved it. Now, as a home school parent, I'm teaching our little home school community Latin. Part of the curriculum involves 'derivatives', words from Latin we still use today in some form. THIS is what makes Latin comes alive -- the kids light up when they run across a word in English that comes from Latin. It will do wonders when it's time for building vocab not only for standardized tests, but for just plain old reading comprehension. Fenestra, fenestrae...window. The 10 year olds think it's hysterical the word we have today is 'defenestrate' -- to throw someone out a window. Learning the grammar/syntax of a foreign language reinforces the grammar of your own, so why Latin? Why not any language? Simply, I think it's because 60% of 2 syllable and 80% of 3 syllable words derive from Latin. Learning the basics reinforces mastery of English grammar and then makes it easier to branch out to other languages.
15 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: lftrn97 11/10/2019 9:15:39 AM (No. 231398)
3 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: Howard Adams 11/10/2019 9:22:46 AM (No. 231403)
354 to 430 C.E.? I believe that Saint Augustine would have preferred Anno Domini.
16 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: fayebeck 11/10/2019 10:03:17 AM (No. 231441)
The "intellects" who are never Trumpers use Latin a lot.
1 person likes this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: mathman 11/10/2019 10:04:00 AM (No. 231442)
Latin is an inflected language. Words in Latin have suffixes which help to identify the part of speech of the word. English is not inflected, so determining the part of speech is much harder, especially if you are 11 or 12. Diagramming a sentence in English requires the ability to identify phrases, clauses, noun modifiers, verb modifiers, prepositions, and so on. These are much clearer in Latin. I would also point out that Spanish, German, and French all have roots in Latin. Should you have to learn one of these other languages, Latin is a clear help. I would further point out that Linnaean nomenclature for plants and animals is based on Latin. So: Latin YES. Just because Latin is no longer the spoken language of any particular region does not make it less attractive or important. Sure worked for me!
6 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: bamboozle 11/10/2019 10:42:54 AM (No. 231473)
America est patria mea. America est patria tua. America ext patria nostra. So simple that even a liberal can understand.
3 people like this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: DVC 11/10/2019 11:01:35 AM (No. 231493)
I took one year of Latin in 9th grade, unfortunately, it was not available in the new school when we moved for the 10th grade. I was always sad that I never became proficient, but it helped me in traveling in Europe with some of the root words for Spanish, French and Italian. It would be a good thing to teach Latin, I think.
4 people like this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: bigfatslob 11/10/2019 11:17:53 AM (No. 231509)
Vino veritas (in wine is truth)
5 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: Alecto2 11/10/2019 11:46:19 AM (No. 231534)
In my first Latin textbook a previous sufferer had written: Latin is a subject As dead as dead can be First it killed the Romans And now it's killing me! Much as I hated it at the time, it's stood me in good stead.
3 people like this.

Reply 24 - Posted by: earlybird 11/10/2019 12:23:47 PM (No. 231557)
#14, read #15.
2 people like this.

Reply 25 - Posted by: clipped wings 11/10/2019 12:34:44 PM (No. 231568)
#14, a great college course I had was "History of The English Language." Latin is *not* a foreign language it is one of the main roots of the English language. If you pick up only a few of the Latin prefixes and suffixes, you can decipher the meaning of English words you may not have encountered before. Latin and Greek are two of the most fundamental roots of English.
4 people like this.

Reply 26 - Posted by: Jim Whittaker 11/10/2019 1:11:31 PM (No. 231590)
Well, that's an easy question. You should study Latin in case you ever find yourself in Latin America. Duh...
5 people like this.

Reply 27 - Posted by: lakerman1 11/10/2019 1:36:38 PM (No. 231605)
Dead Ted Kennedy was kicked out of Harvard for cheating on a Latin test. (He hired someone else to take the test for him, and the professor caught the fraud.)
4 people like this.

Reply 28 - Posted by: Rumblehog 11/10/2019 2:11:43 PM (No. 231620)
And remember, Latin is the only language Satan doesn't understand, per old Catholic doctrine This was used to justify not speaking in the common tongue of parishes worldwide for 2,000 years... then came a man named John Wycliffe.
0 people like this.

Reply 29 - Posted by: caljeepgirl 11/10/2019 2:42:55 PM (No. 231640)
I would say "Why not teach Latin?!" It is the foundation of our entire culture. Although my 'official' foreign language was French, I was truly blessed to also have 3 years of Latin in high school, which I struggled through but for which I am eternally has enriched my life immeasurably!
1 person likes this.

Reply 30 - Posted by: columba 11/10/2019 3:54:02 PM (No. 231688)
Like poster No. 1 I had 2 years of Latin in high school. To this day I can understand many written words in at least five languages. It helps my pronunciation of many English words. It helps me "source" words and their initial usage. My 6-year old is slated to learn Latin next year.
1 person likes this.

Reply 31 - Posted by: cny 11/10/2019 5:41:53 PM (No. 231730)
What a great thread! So interesting! Thank you to all the posters!
2 people like this.

Reply 32 - Posted by: mathman 11/11/2019 8:08:44 PM (No. 232580)
Illegitimati non carborundum. So much better in Latin. Extensor radii carpialis to those doing away with Latin. See? Gets by the censors! Try doing that in English. What about footnotes? op. cit, , ibid., id. est., q.e.d., sic., stare decisis, locus in quo, et cetera. The list goes on and on.
0 people like this.

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