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Is There Any Advantage to Learning Latin? Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes,

I hope everyone had a safe weekend and is eager to read a discussion of Latin’s validity and future in modern society. There is much debate over the teaching and learning of Latin due to the language’s “supposed” uselessness. The fact that Latin has been categorized as a dead language ( which is defined as: “A language no longer in everyday use by a native population”) has often been a negative point in these debates. It has even lead to the British Museum hosting the academic debate earlier this summer: Does Latin have a Future?  So, the question must be posed “Is there any advantage to learning a dead language?”

Catholic Meme

Although, Latin is defined as a dead language due to the fact that is has no native population; it could be argued that the Vatican’s population and academics are Latin’s unconventional native population. Since Latin is spoken, taught, analyzed, and used almost everyday amongst these communities.  Regardless if Latin being spoken by 3 people or 3 million people, it is a language to be admired, esteemed, and prized.

A generated meme created at Philosoraptor

A generated meme created at Philosoraptor

So, is there a point to learning a dead language? The BBC did the following survey:

While this survey of Latin’s validity seems to be mixed for the modern day person; beyond a doubt Latin’s prevalence within our society can be seen in phrases such as:  “per se,” “carpe diem,” “pro bono,” “et cetera,” and “ergo.” These are all Latin terms that people use everyday without even considering that they are speaking a dead language. Even more astonishing is the fact that most currency has Latin on it which goes unnoticed!

Links to a translation of Latin Money Terms

Links to a translation of Latin Money Terms

USELESSNESS & UFEFULNESS OF LATIN:

One key argument against Latin’s validity and usefulness in modern day society is: “How can it better an individual within modern society?” Since, Latin is not taught in every school, it is not a requirement for 95% of  schools or occupations, and it is so obscure and removed from society; it is considered outdated and antediluvian. Donald Clark posted the following in his blog regarding Latin: 10 Reasons to NOT teach Latin.

Courtesy of Memegenerator.com

Courtesy of Memegenerator.com

Clark’s points seem to argue a negative perspective on aspects that have been proven otherwise on Latin’s resourcefulness: Helping you learn other languages, grammar, cognitive skills, et cetera (Latin for “and the rest”). Moreover, Latin roots are used in everyday words and assist in learning new words with similar roots. Also, Latin has been proved to assist in increasing vocabulary as in this Iowa Study that saw a grade level improvement with middle school students who studied Latin for twenty minute daily sessions. And one more pro to learning Latin would have to be understanding Harry Potter spells:

A great way of showing children Latin within literature.

A great way of showing children Latin within literature.

How popular would you consider Facebook? I would argue that Facebook is one of the most used and popular social media sites. Facebook allows their users to use whatever language for their Facebook format…even Latin! So,do you have a Facebook account? Well, I dare you today to make a 24 hour commitment to change your language from English to Latin. Although it does not change everything from English to Latin, it is enough of a change that you notice differences, are able to understand some Latin, and increase your cognitive ability.  Go ahead try it and become a “Dominus!” Also, give Latin Becomes a Living Language a read on Latin Lingua on Facebook.

"Uses Latin Language on Facebook....just like a Boss/ Master."

“Uses Latin Language on Facebook…just like a Boss/ Master.”

There are plenty of articles that recommend Latin for various reasons: Why Study Latin? However, I firmly believe that if you have the drive and passion to learn any language that you should pursue it. This passion and drive can be seen amongst the National Junior Classical League students who met for their annual competition. These students clearly LOVE Latin.  There is something unique with learning Latin, since I have never seen student this excited for modern or “alive” languages. A video of  the NJCL students can be see here.

Learning a new language at any point in life is great for your brain! In conclusion, I recommend Transparent Language  which offers some fine resources and products to learning a language in addition to their resourceful language blogs.

On my last note, I have covered so far some basics on Latin in the modern world from media resources to it’s validity. So, if anyone would like a discussion on a particular topics please comment, but if not I look forward to writing on a wide array of topics translating texts and artifacts from Ancient Roman Society.

Valete Omnes,

-Brittany Britanniae

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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


Comments:

  1. Ricardo Marinus:

    “Fas omne mundi” for always to follow learning our loved SERMO LATINUS @Rsimonides

    Marvelous your article!

    Η μεν του σωματος ισχύς γηρασκει η δε της ψυχής ρώμυ των αγαθών ανδρών αγήραιος εστι.

  2. sonia:

    I am Italian and studied Latin all along the secondary school. Latin have helped me very much in learning subordinate clauses in Swedish. I got immediately the point thanks to… Cicero’s passion for subordinates 😀

  3. Tracie:

    I think Latin is definitely a hard sell to children who don’t seem to want to learn anything, but I think it’s a shame that it isn’t offered in high school. It’s a hard class to find offerings for in College too. My college doesn’t offer it, and to take the class at another school costs about $900. I love the challenge of learning Latin ( I take an online course for high school students, out of BYU). I also see the validity of it in our language, especially medical. I was born a word, and I wonder if to be interested in Latin requires a certain amount of unusual and inborn interest. I love the webpage–I hope many others do too.

  4. Brittany Britanniae:

    It is amazing to see the different types of people that Latin has touched and influenced. I would argue that there has to be curiosity and fascination with Latin or any language to inspire anyone to strive to learn it. I understand that the popularity to learning Latin through the school systems is becoming more and more difficult- but perhaps becoming involved with a local NJCL chapter may allow you to use untapped resources. Here is a link to their chapters within the United States: http://www.njcl.org/directories

  5. Joseph Fegan:

    This is a great article for studying Latin. I only wish i have the discipline to learn this language.

  6. john emmanuel tabugoc:

    i’m a filipino but all my life is i want to study more in latin languages,phrases,alphabet,and et cetera,, also in greek

  7. Crystal:

    I personally don’t like learning a very difficult language, and especially since l’m quite young myself. I’ve read other articles involving the discussion of: if you should or should not learn Latin. One of the arguements I saw was that, if you wanna learn a language, learn that language itself instead of wasting time learning Latin. As l do speak English, and l WAS going to learn Japanese (l did learn a bit from watching anime), l changed to French then l ended up… Just English, because l could not decide which language to learn.
    The books l’ve been reading recently, contain Latin phrases – (but it translated at the end of the chapter, does give suspense and mystery). Latin did interest me, since few of the books l’ve read had a bit of Latin in them (and l mean like heavy, Spanish like Latin).
    I honestly don’t see how it helps with your vocabulary, grammar and etc. (et cetera should be from Latin right? I think l saw it once) I’m choosing whether l should learn Latin for the sake of it, and finally having 2 languages learnt. But, as it may seem l absolutely wish to forget about Latin, there might be a few examples how it can help me and my siblings too. I have the reasons down, just need the proof..