Latin lives!

Latin is so popular that it may replace German as the third most-studied language in U.S. schools after Spanish and French, reports the New York Times.

The resurgence of a language once rejected as outdated and irrelevant is reflected across the country as Latin is embraced by a new generation of students like Xavier who seek to increase SAT scores or stand out from their friends, or simply harbor a fascination for the ancient language after reading Harry Potter’s Latin-based chanting spells.

My niece and nephew took Latin in high school. One of its charms is that you don’t have to do a lot of Latin conversation.

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  1. It will also make practically any European language much easier to learn when they get to college, go for a BA, and find out (in MO, at least) that they have to take four semesters of a foreign language.

    Latin is, after all, the root of many of the moe popular languages for college students. It can’t help but help them. I wish I’d had it available as a high school student.

  2. Catch Thirty-Three says:

    I debated taking Latin in high school and took German instead. I like German, and for that matter, Russian. But I must admit I have always been curious about Latin. Especially these days, it would have helped immensely with my Medieval Europe class! 🙂

  3. Two years in high school.

  4. Andromeda says:

    One of its charms is that you don’t have to do a lot of Latin conversation.

    Oh, this depends on the program ;). It was certainly one of the appeals for me when I started Latin — then again, I later spent a week in a Latin immersion program. I never took as much of that back to my own teaching as I maybe should have, but some of my colleagues did. I think there are pros and cons to a more oral approach myself (but this is all situated against a backdrop of tremendous change in Latin pedagogy and I could go on for hours).

    Nice to see the NYT confirming stuff I was seeing anecdotally in the profession, though. And it certainly was a favorable job market, expanding like that.

  5. And the Pope has said that all Catholic high school students should learn the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. We’re coming full circle.

  6. There is nothing like Latin. I like it even better than Greek, except for reading the New Testament. What a joy to read the Latin Vulgate, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas and so many others.

  7. In high school, my friends took it because it was easier than the other language classes and you could pontificate on how your SAT language scores would be better than everyone else’s. Strangely enough, there was no difference in scores.

    I wasn’t impressed. On the other hand, college Latin seems a) academically rigorous and b) interesting, so maybe it’s just a high school thing

  8. I took 3 years of it in high school and found that my English vocabulary helped me learn the Latin rather than the other way around. Not that it was a bad thing per se, but I think it would’ve been a more useful language to study had I been introduced to it much earlier in my schooling.

  9. It’s possible to improve one’s English vocabulary by directly studying Latin and Greek roots (a requirement at my high school). The one high school textbook that I used after I graduated was my Latin and Greek roots book.

    Will the “Latin towns” of the 17th century ever be revived?

    I suspect modern versions of such towns would be as successful as their predecessors … or the “English towns” of modern Korea:

    Anyway, you haven’t experienced frustration until you’ve had to teach an “Immigration” dialogue to fifth-grade students who can’t read, and a “hospital” dialogue to third-graders who can’t do anything … As with most aspects of English education in South Korea, I liken this to using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.