Learning Latin

By Alex Rogers.

 When most people hear the word “Latin,” they think of the dead language the ancient Romans spoke. The thought of learning it would never even cross their minds. However, most people that have been through Heritage’s junior high program have a completely different stance on this old language. In seventh and eighth grade, students are required to enroll in Latin 1 and 2. Taught by Mr. Phelps, students learn different ways to use this  language in today’s world.

Upon entering Latin class for the first time, Mr. Phelps describes to the students, “In today’s world, you use Latin more than you would expect, being that over sixty percent of the English language is based on Latin roots. During this class, we will learn how to use Latin to further understand your own language.” Throughout the semester, students learn definitions of Latin words and how they are the base of many English words. Some examples are shown here: Nauta is Latin for sailor, which is the root for the English terms nautical and natalia, and Schola translates to school, the base for scholar, scholastic, and etc. Latin is also the base to many other languages, such as Spanish, Italian, and French (these, and many other, are known as the Romance languages because of their Roman roots).

However, in the two years students learn more than just these Latin-based words. Mr. Phelps also teaches how to conjugate Latin words. In every language, there are rules for how to form each word known as conjugations. Latin has simple types of conjugations which provide a solid base to this principle. This is a valuable skill to obtain because once these students move on to learning new languages, they will already understand the basics of conjugating verbs, thanks to Mr  Phelps’s teachings.

It is true, Latin is not an everyday language that you’ll use among strangers. In fact, you will most likely never get into a full Latin conversation in today’s world. However, this should not classify it as a language that shouldn’t be taught. Everyone says words derived from Latin in every sentence, so understanding it can help understand English. Latin can help you learn other Romance languages too. As Mr. Phelps states,” Latin is all-around useful knowledge to have.”

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