Why Bother Learning Latin? An article by latindictionary.net “Who cares? It’s a dead language.” Despite this being a common phrase, Latin is definitely not a dead language. Ask any language scholar and they will effectively say the same thing. Latin did not die, it simply evolved into the English and Romance languages of today.
Nearly 60% of all English words are derived from Latin.
So, how is this all useful? Let’s take a look:
If you learn Latin, you’d have familiarity with many English words. For example, the word Latin word paucum means “a few.” If you came across the word “paucity” in a sentence, you would know that it would roughly equate to “a small quantity.” But please, use this power only for good. Don’t be one of those guys who uses convoluted words just to sound sophisticated at parties.
You would be a whiz at spelling English words that have Latin roots. Have you ever wondered why some words end in -ent (“incompetent”) and others end in -ant (“important”)? It all has to do with how the verbs are conjugated in Latin. Once you know the verb conjugations, you know a lot about spelling a word.
Latin can give you quite a command over grammar in general. By learning the finer aspects of Latin grammar you can apply that knowledge to learning other languages. You will find that you have a better working knowledge of sentence structure and word usage. Latin essentially gives you the toolkit to ask the right questions when learning a new langauge.
Having a keen grasp over Latin grammar and vocabulary can vastly improve your ability to learn and understand other similar languages, especially the languages directly-descended from Latin. More importantly, you’ll start to recognize resemblances between words in other languages. For example, the Latin word porta means “door.” The French word for the same thing is porte, the Spanish word equivalent is puerta.
Latin is a prime gateway to learning other non-Romance languages as well, mainly because so much of Western grammatical understanding comes through the lens of both Greek and Latin. Therefore, knowing more about Latin grammar opens one’s understanding of English. It also provides us with a historical context that is hard to rival. We weren’t the only ones who wrote history books. Romans were writing history books over 2,000 years ago, and they’re fascinating reads. While the objectivity of these historians might be often misplaced, they add an interesting facet to how ancient Romans understood the world around them.
Latin Links: 1. The Latin Library. Select from 54 categories to find Latin texts from classic writers and orators such as Cato, Petronius, and Virgil. 2. Electronic Text Center. The University of Virginia offers several online texts from Ovid, Francis Bacon, Martin Luther, and others. 3. Latin Grammar. A great resource for learning Latin, this site provides information on the five noun declensions and the four verb conjugations as well as several irregularities. 4. Phrases for All Occasions. This silly listing will have you practicing Latin in a whole new way with phrases like “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”