Why Latin?

Cur Latina?

People often ask why Latin is worthy of being studied. There are very many answers to this question, which I think is silly to ask in the first place. Why would anyone ask about the use of knowledge? What is it that we do every day other than acquire knowledge and put it to use? Regardless, formulating an answer to the question is not a bad use of time.

  1. The Roman civilization is the origin of so much of our western culture. Our language, government, engineering, laws, and much more were born from the Roman systems. We owe so much to the Romans, that studying how they were able to achieve so much can only be beneficial to our further development.
  2. Learning Latin will improve your skills at language in general, and English specifically. We derive approximately 60% of our English words, and 90% of those words consisting of more than two syllables, from Latin. The study of the vocabulary and structure of Latin increases a person's ability to speak English and makes their language richer.
  3. On a pragmatic level, taking Latin helps students' English so much that Latin students do better on various standardized tests. A study done over a number of years by the Educational Testing Service on the SAT, which shows that students who study Latin do better than those studying other languages. Here are the results of the study.
  4. Language is not the only subject which is helped by knowing Latin--the analytical skills needed to read and understand the language translate very well to problem-solving and critical thinking skills in many other subjects and arenas of life. This is a reason that students who are skilled at math often excel at Latin, since the same skills can be applied to both. Accordingly, learning Latin can improve a student's math skills as well--it's a win-win!
  5. The joy of reading that classical authors--Livy, Horace, Cicero, Catullus, Vergil, Ovid, Caesar, and all the rest is a unique one. Knowing that their stories would influence all the stories to come makes reading them feel like a special experience that makes those years of learning grammar worthwhile.

  © Magistra Kunz 2016