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Denebola » Article » South speaks: Latin
Global Education

South speaks: Latin

By Alissa Sage
Published: October 2010

My most meaningful academic experience in high school was taking Latin to fill my “world language requirement.
Freshman year I took both Spanish and Latin, but after freshman year I decided to drop Spanish and gear my focus towards Latin.
My friends used to mock me for taking Latin, laying claim that learning a “dead language was pointless, a sentiment to which I politely disagree.
For me, taking Latin was about so much more than just learning prefixes, suffixes and roots for my SATs. 
I started taking Latin in seventh grade, truthfully because I was fascinated with words and their origins.
At the age of five or six I began showing my curiosity for etymology; I was always asking my mother where certain words come from and why they sounded like they did.
I took Latin in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade, and because they do not offer a fifth year Latin course, I am now a teaching assistant for the Latin 2 class. I didn’t want to give up this so-called “dead language I had been studying for five years. 
I have taken so much from my Latin experience.
Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects I will take from learning the language are the “Latin in English phrases.
At the beginning of each school year, we would get a packet filled with short Latin phrases whose grammar or vocabulary often corresponded to what we were learning in class.
I always loved when, after we finished learning about something confusing like gerunds or gerundives, Mrs. Lanckton would say “Okay kitties, let’s turn to Latin in English.
I learned all sorts of clever and witty phrases, like what to say when your great aunt twice removed who always pinches your cheeks comes to dinner (Persona non Grata- An Un-welcomed Guest).
Or to a doctrine that I often think about when one of my friends opens her tuna fish- a food of which I am not quite fond of- for lunch (De gustibus non est disputandum, There is no disputing about tastes), which has come to be known as the common motto: don’t yuck someone’s yum.
For me, learning is all about making connections, and Latin has allowed me to do just that.
Latin is a class combining Language, History, English and even Math (Roman numerals are HARD).
I have learned more about ancient history from taking Latin than I ever have from any of my history courses. In Latin class, I’ve read wonderful myths and learned so much about Roman and Greek gods.
I also have become a master at English grammar due to the fundamentals that I learned about Latin sentence syntax.
Yes, the language itself might not be used in daily conversation and could be considered “dead, but for me, it brought my education alive.

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