Sona si latine loqueris

Latin Text
I was watching BBC News this morning and there was a brief snippet alluding to the fact that some schools, in this case a primary in Hackney, are bringing back the teaching of Latin (a quick search of the BBC website brought up this article.)

?It will help the children think about language and how it is constructed at an early age. They all ask questions and are making good progress? ? Class organiser Lorna Robinson

There has been a fall in Latin GCSE entries from 16,000 in 1988 to 9,900 in 2004, and I think you?ll be hard pressed to find schools that teach it. Latin is often referred to as a ?dead language?, but I think that it definitely has it?s place in teaching and the reason I?m blogging about it today is that I myself was taught Latin at school, and in fact am the proud owner of a GCSE in Latin (C).

Latin was cumpulsary for one year at school, Year 8 which meant I was around 13 years old, and along with this we were also taught German for that year too (French was compulsary all the way through to GCSE.) When we got to Year 9 we had to choose which subject we wanted to study for another year, and so I dropped the German and kept up with Latin, which I also opted to study in Year 10 and 11 for my GCSE.

Why did I choose Latin over German? Well, I could relate a lot more to Latin. You?ll laugh at the way I phrase this but German was ?like another language?, where as I could relate to Latin and see how it linked in with so many other languages. Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, and of course English have their roots in Latin.

Over the time I?ve lost most of my knowledge of Latin grammar, but I can still see how many modern day words are pieced together or derrived from Latin, and I think this gives me a better understanding of vocabulary and also the history behind certain words. I may see a word that I don?t neccesarily know, but looking at its structure and casting my mind back to my Latin vocabulary, I can often have an educated guess to it?s meaning, and I think this has helped me not only with English, but also when trying to translate other languages.

I would have to agree with Dr Lorna Robinson?s earlier quote in this post, and believe that learning Latin in the primary years will give children quite an advantage when learning in the future, be it a foreign language, or even English.

Dr Robinson in now planning to go the US to teach Latin in five schools in the Bronx, which may seem quite ?out there?, but Latin is still taught through the world, as this wikipedia article outlines, and if we see an improvement in the children?s studies then maybe we will be seeing more Latin in schools (another five primary schools in Hackey will be offering Latin in September 2007).

(By the way the title translates as ?Honk if you speak Latin?, more everyday Latin here, and some interesting links here)

Header image under CC by Karl Randay.

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5 Responses to Sona si latine loqueris

  1. j. says:

    I?ve never learned Latin. I almost took it in college, but I ended up dropping the course before the semester started. I can see how it might be useful, though, for vocab purposes. Even there, I think it would be most useful if you use it at a young age. Otherwise, your vocabulary is already pretty well established without Latin.

  2. Stef says:

    It sounds like this doc going to teach in the Brox has seen too many ?inspirational? hollywood movies. Or Sister Act.

    Still, I can see how Latin would be useful but more useful than learning Spanish or Physics??

  3. Elin says:

    I am a big lover of Latin and although I can?t master it yet I really enjoy learning. I can understand how some people not very interested in languages and ethymology don?t find it very useful since it only helps you in your every day life if you have the right way of thinking. If you have such a fascination for languages that you are used to thinking about ethymology when you run across a word you don?t understand at first. I myself love everything about and I?m determined to learn enough to master it both in writing and in speach, even though there aren?t to many to have a conversation in Latin with. For me it?s a hobby that can also help me in other situations. Nice to hear there are other than me out there who still appreciate the language! =)

  4. jacqualine says:

    To Whom it May Concern.,

    Could I have a complete translation, I just bought a wall hanging that for some reason I was most attracted to. I knew it was Latin and a few words therein, however not an expert.



  5. metro says:

    If you want to build up your vocabulary and you are a visual learner, then there is an ever growing resource of visual learning aids on Schola.

    You need to sign in, and visit the photographiae section.

    Here you will find over 2 800 photographs of objects, with the latin word for the object written on it.

    Some also have basic phrases, introducing related verbs. Everyday objects are included as well, such as furniture, crockery and cutlery, transport, boats, etc.

    There are also images related to learning greetings and salutations.

    This resource is constantly expanding, and anyone serious about learning Latin will find it useful

    All of the resources are free of charge

    The Latinum podcast now has over 50 lessons online, each lesson is composed of several episodes comprising:

    a. grammar
    b. English-Latin conversational dialogue (question and answer)
    c. Repetition of the same short dialogues in Latin only, first with
    pauses, then again more quickly.

    There are already thousands of regular users of the lessons, located all over the world. The clickable map on Latinum?s home page gives an insight into where in the world people are studying and listening to Latin.

    If you cannot attend an actual Latin class, (and even if you can) then Latinum?s lessons, and extensive vocabulary learning resources, classical text readings, etc, will be an invaluable resource.

    Many established Latin programmes, including schools and universities, are also now directing their students to it.

    With over 1,300,000 lessons downloaded to date, this is the largest single Latin programme available.


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