In praise of Latin

By solle on 05/03/2013 — 1 min read

(from The Well-Trained Mind – A Guide to Classical Education at Home)

I am not immediately aware of anyone in my Dunbar 150 who is or has studied Latin (or who are actively encouraging their children to study it).

Classical education has to do with setting up solid foundations, with learning how to learn, with mental discipline and intellectual curiosity and a willingness to grapple with the lessons of the past.

Here are a bunch of reasons for children to study Latin even though it is often perceived (with disdain) as a dead language (no one is speaking Latin, no one is producing literature in Latin, no one is conducting business in Latin):

  • Latin trains the mind to think in an orderly fashion
  • Latin is the most systematic language (it’s a dead language)
  • In Latin, the discipline of assembling endings and arranging syntax (grammar patterns) according to sets of rules is the mental equivalent of a daily two-mile jog
  • Studying Latin demands precision, the Latin-trained mind becomes accustomed to paying attention to detail, a habit that will pay off especially when studying math and science
  • Latin improves English skills. The grammatical structure of English is based on Latin, as is about 50% of English vocabulary. The student who understands how Latin works is rarely tripped up by complicated English syntax or obscure English words
  • Studying Latin also prepares children for the study of other languages such as French, Spanish and Italian as they are all related to Latin. Even non-Latinate languages can be more easily learned if Latin has already been studied. The child who has been drilled in Latin syntax understands th concepts of agreement, inflected nouns, conjugated verbs, and grammatical gender no matter what languages these concepts appear in
  • Latin guards against arrogance
  • @solle
    //somewhere in england


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