The Latin Language
Some say Latin is a dead language. In so far that it is not spoken widely anymore, that is correct. However, others see it rather as an eternal language, useful in so many ways to understand not only the times we live in but also to connect us with the past. Just think how many times you have seen a company or organisation with a Latin name or motto. I’d reckon quite a few.
It is no accident that the subject that Latin is a part of, Classics, comes from the Latin word classis meaning ‘fleet’. When one comes to studying Latin, and Greek, ancient history and civilisation, you are learning a whole fleet of subjects encompassing history, politics, law, poetry, philosophy, drama, science, geography and more, that make up and can be found within classical literature.
This is what lies ahead for a student beginning Latin. Immediately, a student will be able to recognise the connections between Latin and English, the roots of our language, where words derive from, and how languages work. In this way it most definitely helps increase attainment in English and subjects requiring analytical thought such as Maths.
The Latin Language can also lead students to learn and love the Romance languages as well such as French, Spanish and Italian which have similarities. However, when learning Latin through translating Roman myths and history, and other writings, you can perceive the very roots of Western Civilisation and humanity itself; that there are things that we can learn about ourselves and our society and, if we open our minds to it, take it as an inspiration or a warning as to where we are heading.
Why Learn Latin
Latin is a wonderful language, and wonderful to study. It is delightful to hear that the British Government is encouraging more state schools to take up Latin, along with other modern languages as part of a pilot scheme. It is already building on a lot of work over the past decade by the charity Classics for all in giving more state school pupils the opportunity and resources to study Latin, Classical Greek, Ancient History and Classical Civilisation.
The linguistic links between Latin and English were the initial fascination for me, and enough of a spark to pursue Latin further and find my talent. Then I eventually transitioned to studying Classical Greek too, developing an interest in historical writing and rhetoric, and eventually leading to study Classics at university and a route into Law.
I have had the privilege to study Latin at school. It has also been a privilege for me to share my passion for Latin and Classical Greek for over ten years to independent and state school students alike, and it has been so rewarding to see them do so well. I look forward to even more students seizing this opportunity in the future... carpe diem!