WHY WE DO IT
Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life beyond primary school. "As a child they won't be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won't be able to support their own child's learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility and a fairer society more difficult" (National Literacy Trust, 2017).
Despite our best efforts, a disadvantaged child in England is still more than twice as likely as their classmates from more advantaged homes to leave primary school without reaching the expected levels in reading and writing. Young children, whatever their background, should have the chance to learn an ancient language whilst discovering the patterns, history and grammar that underpins their own and do so in a way that is creative, imaginative, and relevant to today’s world.
We believe in the exceptional linguistic potential of every child and we exist to make the most of that by offering young people the opportunity to study an ancient language in a way that will provide an excellent foundation for future language learning and, above all, self-expression.
Latin is an inflected language: unlike in English, Latin noun, adjective and adverb endings indicate the object and subject of the sentence, while verb endings indicate person and number. Therefore, Latin promotes….
Early understanding of the function of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs in English and Latin.
Logical thinking: Latin doesn’t rely on word order for meaning – the clues are in the endings. All the endings need to be right to unlock the sentence.
Comparison with English: since Latin is an original language rather than a conglomeration of numerous languages, Latin provides a structural contrast to English. This introduces students to grammatical consistencies when learning the details of grammatical structure.
More than 65% of English words come from Latin (and more than 90% of those over two syllables). Knowledge of Latin vocabulary therefore can help students to decipher unfamiliar words in English.
Additionally, not only does Latin provide the root words for all of the modern sciences (the word “science” itself is from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge), but it is the basis of the specialised vocabulary of law, politics, logic, medicine and theology.
By learning Latin, students can learn how to think systematically and logically. Latin boosts cognitive processes essential for maths, science, and engineering, and has been said to cultivate such mental processes as alertness, attention to detail, memory, logic, and critical reasoning. Unsurprisingly, Latin boosts SAT and GRE scores (out of 270 fields, Classics scored the highest mean Verbal GRE).
LEARNING OTHER LANGUAGES
Once students come to understand how language works, the task of learning any new language is easier.
Latin is the best preparation for learning a Romance language (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) since Latin is the basis of 75–80% of all Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese words, Conversely, speakers of Romance languages have an edge in studying Latin. Latin students also have a huge advantage in learning other inflected languages, such as Russian or German.
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).
Dyslexic people, even more than the general population, benefit from this aspect of Latin learning. Students with dyslexia often struggle to divide words into phonetic parts and then re-assemble these parts 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 language.
“[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 (Culture Editor at The Guardian).
Latin was the main language of the Roman Empire, which has had an enormous influence on Western civilisation, including the enormous wealth of 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.