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How is Latin useful in the Modern World?

By ITS Education Asia

Learn LatinIn their first Latin lesson students often pose the questions, “Why do I need to learn Latin?  Is there any point in studying a dead language if I don’t want to be a historian or archaeologist?”  In fact Latin is very much “alive” in our everyday lives.  At least 60% of words in the English language are derived from Latin and every European language has been influenced by it to some extent.  Latin not only increases linguistic awareness and helps the understanding and usage of the English language, but promotes precise analysis and logical thinking because of its grammatical framework.  

 Firstly, the study of Latin enhances knowledge of vocabulary which will help in reading, writing and conversation.  Enhanced writing techniques and precision in expression is a very important skill in today’s society and many employers look for this sort of competence in employees.  If English is your mother tongue, then through Latin, you learn to know your own language better.  For example, what does etc, a.m., and e.g. stand for?  A person with a good knowledge of Latin automatically has an extended English vocabulary which is beneficial since Latin along with Greek is widely used in both literary texts and in modern scientific terminology.  People who have studied Latin tend to find memorising complicated words or phrases easier, and their awareness of linguistic processes and details confer benefits on reading and thinking.

  Secondly, learning Latin is not just about the language, but also the Roman world and its culture.  Through this, students gain an understanding of the roots and sources of the world today, such as that of architecture and remnants in modern cities, and have a fuller and richer knowledge of the history of a major European civilization.  Furthermore, having a general knowledge about gods and goddesses, mythology, historical folks, and geographical references makes studies in history and literature easier and more enjoyable.  It also enables you also to read, understand and interpret some ancient literature in the original language.

  Thirdly, Latin is a specially designed language based on rules which have to be reflected upon with every sentence you translate, since eachLatin lessons sentence is a puzzle of words held together through grammatical rules.  It is this requirement of precision and logic which trains students’ minds to be precise and to pay attention to detail.  Latin can be considered to be the “mother” of all Roman languages due to its relation with many foreign words.  The Latin vocabulary and grammatical framework has similarities to that of other European languages, especially French, German and Spanish.  But it also helps the learning of other languages; both related to and not related to Latin, for example, Greek and Russian, which are both, like Latin, highly inflected languages.




  Finally, having Latin on your resume is a fairly impressive credential.  Latin is a challenge and it takes a lot more than intelligence to master.  The fundamental requirements of perseverance, passion and endurance are also the qualities ofan employable individual in today’s society.   

By Teresa Ng        


Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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