Practicality of learning Latin

Discussion in 'Languages' started by Harley, May 7, 2011.

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  1. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Freshman

    I've begun studying Latin. I wanted to hear some specific reasons on just what kind of benefit it would produce? I see that a lot of old works are written in Latin and at one time it was the official academic language, though that doesn't seem to be the case today. As someone interested in growing as a Christian and having a deep interest in theology, what would this do for me? What are the benefits? Even non-theologically, would it be worth it to study and learn?
     
  2. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    1. If you spend any time reading Puritan works, Latin will help you. They frequently quote in Latin.
    2. Latin will help you understand English better. You will see Latin roots all over the place, and your understanding of grammar will increase significantly.
    3. If you ever need to learn a romance language (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, Romanian, etc.), knowing Latin already will make it almost absurdly easy.

    If you are doing this for theology reasons, though, I'd go with NT Greek if you don't already know it.
     
  3. TexanRose

    TexanRose Puritan Board Sophomore

    The classical model of education/homeschooling really pushes teaching Latin to your children. But I'm not convinced that it's necessary. I feel like I got a pretty good understanding of the Latin roots just by studying two languages (besides English) derived from Latin--Spanish and German.
     
  4. Reformed Thomist

    Reformed Thomist Puritan Board Sophomore

    The ability of read Latin opens up great worlds of literature to you, secular and sacred. True, you may (and you should!) read much of the Classics through English translations, but at the end of the day translation is always interpretation, more or less, a sort of 'commentary' on the actual text, with the translator's knowledge, character and presuppositions in play. You always lose a lot of what you're looking for, and gain a lot of what you're not. Those with only one language will never realize how true this is. Encountering Augustine or Calvin 'fully', face-to-face, as it were, demands reading them in the original.

    I encourage you to keep at it.
     
  5. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The best thing I ever got out of my 16 years in Roman Catholic schools was the 5 years of Latin I took. It wasn't good only for a career spent in the legal field; it's been good for every kind of reading I've undertaken since then. Because I took so much Latin, learning French (albeit spoken by much-older relatives in the home when I was young) and Spanish have been a breeze. Learning Latin, surprisingly enough, will make a good English writer out of virtually anyone. I've never been sorry for having taken all that Latin. (It even made the Hebrew class I took a few years ago easier than it would otherwise have been.)
     
  6. torstar

    torstar Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have always assumed that Vatican II ended the mandatory study of Latin in public schools.
     
  7. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  8. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Except John Owen. :lol:
     
  9. torstar

    torstar Puritan Board Sophomore


    Confused?

    My grandparents in the 1920s and parents a few decades later were forced to study the language if they had plans to attend University. Latin was as much as a given in your course selection as math or English literature, even in Ontario public schools.

    French replaced Latin by the time I showed up post-Vatican II, without compulsion to study.
     
  10. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think the confusion lies in how RC councils affect public school curriculum.
     
  11. torstar

    torstar Puritan Board Sophomore

    No deep confusion was read into the emoticon.

    Just a request for an expansion, easily provided.
     
  12. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    All right, but I am still confused as to how Romanist councils affect public school curriculum. Is Canada heavily Roman Catholic?
     
  13. torstar

    torstar Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well, you did ask...

    In Canada the view of the English in negotiating with our French brothers, in Canada, is that the French are allowed to dictate the terms of "What is ours is ours, and what is yours we will start bargaining over right now."

    Always was strange to hear about Latin forced on schoolchildren clearly not cut out for it up through the mid 1960s and have it dead as dust when I started the process around 1970.

    ---------- Post added at 10:50 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:46 AM ----------

    Quebec is a majority non-practicing RC heritage. Enough of Ontario is as well to allow for the co-mingling of separate (RC) and public funding out of the public purse.

    It is utter suicide for a politician to even think of bringing up an honest review of the situation.
     
  14. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Okay... Even though I live about half an hour from the Canadian border, I was not sure how the public school curriculum there was affected by Vatican II. Except for kindergarten, I've never been in a public school, here in the States or anywhere else. Thanks for the interesting history lesson re: our near neighbor!

    BTW, and :offtopic:: I meant to congratulate all Canadians on the PB on the radio and TV ads we heard and saw here prior to your most recent election. They were tasteful, subdued and an absolute model of civility. They were also duly informative about the issues. I never changed a radio or TV station when they came on. I sure wish that U. S. candidates and parties would take a (maple) leaf out of the most recent Canadian elections "book" regarding their conduct and that we could have something better than the loutish, crude, ad hominem (a little Latin for ya) attack campaigning we've come to expect here.

    Carry on...

    P. S. I don't know why sometimes a word I type at the end of a line is duplicated at the beginning of the next line in the post, even when it isn't a poster error. I try to edit it - and I know I haven't typed it twice - but nothing happens. Weird.
     
  15. torstar

    torstar Puritan Board Sophomore

    From 1910 to 1962 family members going to University were forced to study Latin in public schools.

    From 1970 forward the language was dead as dust.

    What happened between 1962 and 1970 to kill this educational tradition? Woodstock? Anything else???

    Our federal election wasn't much to admire.

    Our opposition party in parliament is the result of a 100% cynical protest vote in Quebec. One newly elected member was partying in Las Vegas thinking he had zero chance of winning his riding. Hurray!!!!
     
  16. semperreformata

    semperreformata Puritan Board Freshman

    Agree with you on this brother. I know right now I'm reading Lecture to My Students from Spurgeon and even he uses a good bit of Latin. Not to mention I put down Death of Death by Owen for a future read due to the amount of Latin and Greek. Of course I'm using my summer away from college to take time with Greek and possibly some Latin as well.
     
  17. dudley

    dudley Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Excellent advice Austin, you summed up exactly what I would say. I would say to Harley follow Austins advice and study latin.
     
  18. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    Learning Latin is a workout for the brain! Being so highly inflected, it opens a window (to mix the metaphor) into the mechanics of language itself. It's the mathematics of the Arts faculty, an unrivalled aid to clear thinking.
    When I came up to St Andrews University, it was still compulsory for every Arts student to do a year of Latin and a year of Philosophy (the other mathematics of the Arts faculty). No wonder Scottish graduates of that vintage are all so awesome! :)
     
  19. semperreformata

    semperreformata Puritan Board Freshman

    Wish either of those classes were offered where I am going to college. Reflecting now with my last semester coming this fall, I am certainly going to encourage other Christians I meet to take classes of this nature as I see the benefits of particular things I missed out on and seek to show them the benefits.
     
  20. Harley

    Harley Puritan Board Freshman

    I greatly appreciate the feedback everyone. I am going to be continuing in this study. Sounds like it's well worth the time!
     
  21. Theogenes

    Theogenes Puritan Board Junior

    Omnia dicta fortiora, si dicta Latina :lol:
     
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