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Why Latin?

latin, olympic christian school, ocs

“Is your English in ruins? Take Latin!”

-taken from Karen Moore

Until recent years, most educators and scholars considered Latin to be an absolute staple of good education. Until the 1920’s teaching Latin was common in elementary and secondary schools; and often was a requirement for graduation. Latin taught even in my time at the high school level. Avoiding smart remarks about being older than “tilled soil”. Times have changed and, obviously, the teaching of Latin has fallen out of favor. According to Karen Moore, there exists five significant reasons for teaching Latin. Moore states that when Latin is taught and learned:

Improved English Skills

There is great improvement in the understanding of the English language. English is indeed, Latin based.

  • 60% of our English words come directly from Latin.
  • 90% of our two syllable words come from Latin.
  • Examples of multi-syllable words taken directly from Latin include: animal, honor, clamor, and toga.
  • Are Latin derivatives all old words? Absolutely not! Do consider computer (computo) and facsimile (fac+similis)
Is Latin really a dead language?

There are five modern languages that call Latin their parent language. They are: Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese (the “Romance” languages).

  • More than 80% of their languages is much more similar to Latin than English.
  • The grammatical structure of each of these languages is much more similar to Latin than English.
  • Consider this world-wide impact (of these languages):
  • 27 nations speak French
  • 20 nations speak Spanish
  • 10 nations speak Italian
  • 10 nations speak Portuguese
  • 10 nations speak Romanian
Testing

Ever taken tests like the SAT’s, the GRE, or Miller’s Analogy? How did you do? Latin significantly increases verbal scores on these tests (and others like tham). Are there any colleges and/or universities that don’t use these exams? Analytical and problem solving scores (often, by the way, associated with math skills) increase significantly among Latin students.

Historical Significance

Ancient writings impacted our country and culture. Consider Greek and Roman influence and our:

  • Government
  • Us/State Constitutions
  • Our US/State Senates
  • Politics
  • Our jury system
  • The Arts
  • Architecture
  • Music
  • Literature

“Whoever is ignorant of the past remains forever a child.”- Cicero

The Great Door it opens into the world of Literature.
  • Certainly great works from the likes of Cicero, Aeneid, Milton, and Ovid may be read in English, but then one misses much of the imaginary and beauty which the LAtin possesses and which is often lost in translation.
  • Original works of the likes of Monet and Renoir cannot be compared to prints in a gift shop.So it is with language……The beauty of each carefully chosen word placed in its proper position is lost to the reader when transferred to the canvass of another language.