You’ve probably heard that Latin is a “dead” language. This just means that it’s not commonly spoken anymore. It does not mean, however, that it’s worthless. Quite the contrary! While some “dead” languages -such as Sumerian, are mainly of interest to scholars who specialize in such areas, Latin remains relevant for many reasons. It’s a fundamental building block of modern languages and culture.
Why Study Latin?
There are many good reasons to study Latin. Here are a few:
- Improved English skills: Latin is the foundation of English, and studying Latin can help you improve your English skills in a number of ways. For example, Latin can help you with your vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.
- Enhanced critical thinking skills: Latin is a very logical language, and studying Latin can help you develop your critical thinking skills. This is because Latin forces you to think about the structure of language and how words relate to each other.
- A greater understanding of Western civilization: Latin was the language of the Roman Empire, and studying Latin can help you better understand Western civilization. This is because many of the ideas and concepts that are central to Western civilization originated in the Roman Empire.
- Improved job prospects: Studying Latin can improve your job prospects in a number of fields, including law, medicine, and business. This is because Latin is the language of many legal, medical, and business terms.
- Personal enrichment: Studying Latin can be a rewarding and enriching experience. It can help you develop your intellectual skills, learn about different cultures, and appreciate the beauty of Latin literature.
If you are considering studying Latin, I encourage you to do so. It is a challenging but rewarding language that can open up a world of new opportunities for you.
Here are some additional benefits of studying Latin:
- Increased vocabulary: About 60% of English words come from Latin, so studying Latin can help you expand your vocabulary.
- Improved grammar: Latin has a very regular grammar system, which can help you understand the grammar of other languages, such as French, Spanish, and Italian.
- Enhanced critical thinking: Studying Latin can help you develop your critical thinking skills by teaching you how to analyze and interpret texts.
- A greater understanding of history: Latin was the language of the Roman Empire, so studying Latin can help you better understand Roman history and culture.
- Improved writing skills: Studying Latin can help you improve your writing skills by teaching you how to write clearly and concisely.
Some Common Latin Words and Phrases
For a dead language, Latin has persisted and continues to be spoken, at least in small doses. It’s worth studying the many Latin phases that have come down to us. Here are just a few:
Carpe diem – Seize the day.
Et cetera (usually written etc.) – And more.
De facto – In fact.
Quid pro quo – Something for something, often used in politics or deal-making.
Mea culpa – My fault.
Status quo – The current state of things.
How to Learn Latin
If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding language to study, Latin is a great choice. It is a language with a rich history and culture, and it can help you improve your English skills, critical thinking skills, and writing skills. If you want to learn Latin, your options are a bit more limited than with “live” languages. The closest modern language is Italian, so that can be a good preparation. You can study Latin in a few ways.
Colleges and universities may offer non-credit/adult classes as well as credit courses. You may also be able to find an online course.
For self-study, you can use books, videos, and audio programs. The following are some recommended resources (Iems for sale may be affiliate links):