The Study of Latin Enhances Vocabulary
Fatuous pedants agglomerate abstruse vocabularies to obfuscate meaning.
Although learning Latin will provide you with the tools to break down such words into comprehensible units, language should facilitate -- not eliminate -- communication. Fatuous and obfuscate aren't common words even in literature, but an enhanced vocabulary will help in reading and conversation. Latin is a great source language for English vocabulary.
The late Emeritus Professor William Harris explains:
The study of Latin does confer certain benefits.
First, Latinate vocabulary is very important in English, it is widely used both in literary contexts and in modern scientific nomenclature, to the extent that a person with a good knowledge of Latin automatically has an extended English vocabulary.
Greek along with Latin is the basis for virtually all English scientific terms, both languages have been used for scientific vocabulary for centuries and dozens of new terms which are being coined from Greek and Latin roots every year.
Behind this lies the need for standardization in a world which employs many languages. Since the Classical languages claimed universality for hundreds of years, their use has been accepted throughout the world as the basis for a standard scientific vocabulary.
(community.middlebury.edu/~harris/index.shtml) William Harris
The Study of Latin Introduces Logic
This is a traditional reason.
Language affects how we think
Since language affects how we think and perceive, it is likely that elements of the Greek language led Aristotle to logic. So perhaps this is really an argument for studying the other Classical language.
Latin is the language of law
However, logic can be a tool of rhetoric -- a skill in which the litigious Romans excelled. Arguably, in a society as bent on ascribing blame as the modern US, a skilled rhetor would be a valued commodity.
But it may be wrong -- Latin may not have a logic monopoly.
(http://www.middlebury.edu/~harris/LatinBackground/LatinandLogic.html) Professor Harris says:
Latin was once seen as the model for logical thought, even Logic itself, and some teachers still cite this argument as a reason for studying Latin. Nothing could be further from the truth, since all languages contain an inner logic of their own.
Learning a Language Reveals How Similar We All Are.
"The social documentary approach."
From deploring the current standards of morality to advice given by popular psychologists, Latin reveals how little new there is under the sun.
Second, there is another reason: the social documentary approach. Terence said long ago that nothing human was uninteresting to him, and now that we have a developed sense of social relevance, we can find fascinating information about that elusive fellow--Man----in all ancient documents. Human condition two thousand years ago was similar to our world but very different, and it is the varying formula for the degree of difference which makes social studies in ancient society fascinating.
Derk-Michel Strauch describes the surprise with which his students greeted this revelation:
The high school in which I teach Latin has a student population which is about 95% African-American and Hispanic. We were recently viewing a video about the Romans (Romans: Life, Laughter and Law) in which there was a scene of the slave market. My students gasped when they saw the scene and were perplexed to see that slaves were white! They had real trouble grasping the idea that slaves were a race other than Africans - in their concept of the world only Africans were ever slaves. What a shock it was for them to learn that the Romans made slaves out of person of their own race - hard to say that slavery is a universal form of racism. Four weeks later, this concept still perplexes them. Yesterday we were reading a story in which a Greek slave is bought to tutor the children and again the whole question of white slaves emerged.Why Latin - Traditional Reasons
• Why Latin - Grammar and SATs
• Other answers to Why Study Latin?
• A Little Etymology
• Learning Latin on the Internet
• (http://www.middlebury.edu/~harris/LatinBackground/LatinandLogic.html) William Harris