Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Teaching The Latin Language In High School

Latin was the language of the Roman Empire. All of the Romance languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, are directly descended from this native tongue. Our own English language is heavily influenced by roots from the Latin Language (as many as 80 percent of our language can be traced to Latin). Today, Ecclesiastical Latin is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. With so much influence on our own language coming from Latin, it is surprising that students are not encouraged to study it in high school and college. Though considered a “dead language”, Latin education can actually help students improve English grammar, as well as provide a historical foundation for their educations.

Today, Latin is taught primarily for the purpose of translating ancient literature. It is not really taught conversationally. Proficiency in Latin is achieved in reading and translating. Often, students that study Latin in college are majors in Classical Studies, wherein they study all aspects of Ancient Greek and Roman history and Culture, or they are pre-Law or pre-Medicine students. Having a knowledge of the Latin language has obvious benefits for Law and Medical students in that they will be better able to learn technical terminology, most of which is comprised of Latin words and phrases.

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