People Do Think Differently
Latin can help your children realize not everyone thinks the way they do.
Why is this so important? Empathy.... Patience.... Readiness to cooperate and compromise....
Despite our human similarities, a few thousand years and a different language structure have produced differences. One of the major differences between English and Latin is the word order. In spoken English the subject comes first, the verb and its object next. In Latin the action word often comes at the end of the sentence, so although you already know the who and the whom, you have to keep a slot open in your mind for the verbal connection between the two.
PrestigeAs Late Emeritus Professor Harris warns [in www.middlebury.edu/~harris/LatinBackground/BeginningLatin.html ]:
Never think that things said in Latin are better for being in Latin.
Latin quotations often seem to have a prestigious ring, authors will sometimes try to turn an English phrase into Latin to give it prestige. Such efforts generally fail, they are either funny or un-understandable, simply because the Romans thought in different ways.
It is really the difference in ways of speaking and thinking which makes a foreign language worth studying.
Traditional ReasonsIn www.wtvl.k12.me.us/wshs/why.htm "Why Study Latin," Timothy Vachon recites traditional reasons for studying Latin:
- Give yourself a better understanding of grammar- English as well as French and Spanish.
- Learn about an ancient culture.
- Develop and expand your vocabulary.
- Acquaint yourself with mythical references in literature.
- Learn words used in medicine, law, and pharmacy.
Latin Is Fun!
I have one more to add:
Help With Phonics
If English spelling (alumni.EECS.Berkeley.EDU/~lorentz/Ancient_Scripts/phonetics.html) idiosyncrasies do not interfere with your children's learning to read, you're lucky. My son was so confused by the variant spellings/pronunciations that we despaired of his learning to read.
- Phonetic Latin was a godsend.
- Linguists use the letter schwa, depicted as an upside down lower case e, to represent an unstressed vowel. For my son all vowels were shwas until, with superhuman patience, he listened as (http://www.bolchazy.com/auth/sonkowsky.html) Robert Sonkowsky's voice, using Restored Classical Latin, enunciated the sound of each letter dozens of times on a beta copy of the CD-ROM of Bolchazy-Carducci's (http://www.bolchazy.com/al/index.html) ARTES LATINAE.
- Although we progressed through the entire CD-ROM -- and quickly too, since we had to report on the program -- my son retained little actual Latin from it. However, of considerably greater importance to us was the fact that he could suddenly sound out and therefore read new words in English.
At (http://www.newcovenantschools.org/distinct.htm) New Covenant School, which follows the Classical Curriculum, children begin Latin in kindergarten.
But How?Maybe your childrens' schools don't teach Latin in kindergarten or second grade. Perhaps the school district doesn't provide Latin instruction even in high school. That doesn't mean your children have to do without. Artes Latinae mentioned above is available for home use. There are also programs available on the Internet.
I haven't even mentioned what Professor Harris names as the first and best reason for learning Latin, but, PARENTS, if you need some added incentive to learn alongside of your children, read his (http://www.middlebury.edu/~harris/LatinBackground/StudyOfLatin.html) essay.