Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why Latin?

Why do we study Latin at SLO Classical Academy?  

Last year we published a three-part series on Classical Education, written by our Associate Director, Troy Wathen. (Click here to read Part I, Part II, and Part III). Today we are going to focus on Latin, with an excerpt from Part III of this series:
Latin is a common classical subject choice that gets critiqued because of its lack of use in modern society. However, Latin is foundational for unlocking the system of language in general, and especially the Romance languages of Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Latin further drives the student to truly understand how English works because it forces the decomposition of language in order to comprehend the purpose words play in the sentence. It presents grammar in a different form from English, demanding that the learner wrap his/her mind around what a subject, direct object, verb, object of the preposition, and adjective actually do in the sentence. This forced understanding enriches one’s mastery of English. The key to Latin is to appreciate the benefits and beauty of the language; something often lost on pre-adolescents and adolescents—especially for those whose significant adults agree that Latin is a “dead language.” It is far from dead. It only is to those who choose not to learn and appreciate the deep benefits of the process and content of Latin.
Latin textbooks available in SLOCA's bookstore

One way SLO Classical Academy fosters the development of Latin throughout our curriculum is with a “Latin Root of the Week,” which you may have heard about. At the beginning of each school morning, Mr. Wathen discusses the Latin root word of the week with the kids on the playground, and encourages them to find that Latin root in words we use today. Parents, you can have fun with this too, and join in with your kids to find Latin in everyday English words. To download a list of the weekly Latin root words for the rest of the school year click here.

Here are a few more Latin resources, for your own education, and for friends or family members who ask “Why Latin?”:

• As part of our Parent Education Literature Series, we have a wonderful article written by our very own Latin teacher, Sarah Weinschenk, with a further explanation about why we study Latin. It just might make you want to take Latin too! Click here to download it.

• We also have an audio presentation by Sarah Weinschenck about Latin, here.

• Here’s a link to an older blog post about a great NY Times Op/Ed piece entitled,  A Vote for Latin.

Semper Discentes!

Let’s Talk: What do you think about Latin? What do you say to people who ask “Why do you study Latin? Isn’t it a dead language?” 

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