Latin is the most efficient way to learn English grammar
- Learning a foreign language is the most effective way to learn grammar. A foreign language is just that, foreign. Therefore students have to break it down into its composite pieces in order to understand and learn it. When our students learn these skills through Latin they transfer them to English instinctively and come to understand the structure and rules of their mother-tongue with greater ease.
- As an inflected language noun endings indicate what the noun is doing in the sentence and verb endings indicate who is doing the action of the verb. So in Latin, unlike in English, the grammar is concrete and visible and thus Latin serves as an excellent introduction to how languages work.
- Latin sentences do not rely on word order for meaning in the way that English sentences do, therefore we teach specific skills for recognizing the structure and meaning of sentences.
- Latin grammar is highly systematic and is taught both explicitly and implicitly, so that students see how the words of any sentence must work together, in agreement, to produce meaning. Latin students learn how to read a sentence by the spelling patterns of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.
- Latin students learn to compare and contrast Latin and English regularly, which reinforces their understanding of grammar in general.
- Latin provides a structural contrast to English, since it is an original language rather than a conglomeration of numerous languages. This introduces students to grammatical consistencies they can use later when learning details of English grammatical structure, such as the proper use of nouns, verbs, prepositions and plurals.
Latin expands students’ vocabulary benefitting both spoken and written English
- More than 65% of English words come from Latin (and more than 90% of those over two syllables).
- Students learn the meaning of Latin nouns and verbs that are used as the base of many thousands of English words. They learn prepositions, many of which are used as prefixes in both Latin and English, as well as various Latin suffixes that always denote a particular part of speech.
- This understanding of word formation helps students decipher unfamiliar words.
- Many Latin words are used in English without any change, retaining their Latin endings and all, such as memorandum, memoranda; datum, data; appendix, appendices; matrix, matrices; synopsis, synopses, etc.
Latin develops and trains the minds of the young
- Latin is an unexcelled system. By learning Latin students learn how to think systematically. They can then approach any new subject with greatly enhanced learning skills.
- The study of Latin provides training in logical thinking, boosting cognitive processes essential for math, science, and engineering. Latin has been said to cultivate such mental processes as alertness, attention to detail, memory, logic, and critical reasoning.
- Not surprisingly, Latin boosts SAT and GRE scores (out of 270 fields, Classics scored the highest mean Verbal GRE). Click here for further information.
Learning other languages
Latin is the basis of 75–80% of all Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese words
- Once students come to understand how language works, the task of learning any new language is easier.
- Latin students have a huge advantage in learning other inflected languages, such as Russian or German. Latin is the best preparation for learning a Romance language (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian).
- Conversely, speakers of Romance languages have an edge in studying Latin: Latin is the source of 75-80% of all words in these languages.
- Latin also helps those who speak English as a second language: “a study at Gallaudet College, Townsley (1985) demonstrated that students ‘whose native language was not English could make sudden and extraordinary jumps in vocabulary and verbal skills – advancing on average a full year above those not taking Latin’” .
Students who struggle
- Promoting self-esteem and self-reliance is particularly important with those students who struggle at school. Evidence from a study carried out in Worcester, MA found that Latin “students demonstrated improved motivation, were more self-reliant, and had a higher self-image at the conclusion of the program” (Sussman, 1978; Masciantonio, 1982).
- Students with dyslexia often struggle to divide words into phonetic bits and then re-assemble these bits into a logical whole. Learning Latin allows them to understand the meaning of these pieces and this opens the door to a more in-depth comprehension of words. Dyslexics, even more than the general population, benefit from this aspect of Latin learning.
Latin is the mother tongue of Western civilization
- “[Latin] gives us the keys to an intellectual playground of breathtaking beauty, wonder, and rigour; it gives us the tools to help us understand who we are.” Charlotte Higgins
- Latin was the main language of the Roman Empire, which has had an enormous influence on Western civilization. Latin and Greek are basis for mythological and historical allusions and vocabulary in European and American Literature.
- Through the study of ancient culture and history in Latin class, students can see how people in the past have viewed the world and tried to solve problems they were facing.
- Not only does Latin provide the root words for all of the modern sciences (the word “science” itself is from the Latin word scientia, or knowledge), but it is the basis of the specialised vocabulary of law, politics, logic, medicine and theology.