Lingua Latina Manet in Aeternum

Glenn Ricketts

In Western Australia, to be exact.  The study of Latin is on the up, according to this report earlier in the week in IHE.  That’s bound to gladden our hearts at NAS, and not at all because of a nostalgic attachment to bygone days.  

As I noted in this piece several years ago, anyone who’s struggled with this “dead language” has been compelled to carry out some pretty intense and eminently useful mental chin-ups, such as parsing sentences, learning formal grammar, lots of etymology, precision in word use and syntax, as well as a broad acquaintance with the literary, historical and philosophical wellsprings of Western Civilization.  There’s a very specific reason why the upper chamber in our national legislature is called the Senate, and our system of constitutional government a republic.  All very, very good stuff.

As a resolute, vigilant paterfamilias, you’d better believe I made sure that all of my kids got the whole nine yards and wrestled with Latin for all four years of high school.  Did they like it at the time?  No need to elaborate there.  Did they eventually come to see the value of the experience?  Yes, indeed.  

I was encouraged as well by some comments in the discussion thread, where posters provided links to some statistics indicating that Latin enrollments were increasing significantly in the United States as well.  That’s consistent with the trend in my local school district as well, where Latin sections have been consistently full, and have necessitated seeking additional part-time instructors, not always easy to find.  I’ve also been struck by the extent to which these classes seem to attract high numbers of recently- arrived students from Asia or West Africa. Apparently they have parents who realize where the best educational path lies for their children.  Too bad that point continues to elude most American educators.  Perseverantia vincit!

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March 23, 2011


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