Latin – The 5 W’s
What, who, where, when, why?
Quis, qui, quo loco et tempore, cur?
What is Latin?
Quid est Latina?
Latin is an Indo-European language. It is the root of many
modern languages, including Spanish, French, Italian,
Portuguese, and more.
Who?
Latin was spoken by the people of ancient Rome.
Julius Caesar – a famous Roman.
Caesar was a great general, politician, and writer.
Cicero – another Roman author
Where?
Quo loco?
This one can be tricky! Latin was originally just one of
a number of different so-called ‘Italic’ languages in
the region called Latium.
But as one Latinspeaking city, Rome,
spread its influence, it
came to be spoken
across much of Europe
and the Mediterranean.
When?
Quo tempore?
Latin was spoken as far back as the 8th
century BC when Rome was founded. One
of the earliest examples of written Latin is
the lapis niger, a sacred stone (seen
below) more than 2,500 years old.
On the other hand, even after the fall of the
Roman Empire, Latin continues to be used to
this day as an international language for
educated people and the church, as in this
19th century medical text.
And last, but not least…
Why take Latin?
Cur Latinam?
Of course, we can’t answer that in
JUST one slide! But let’s take a look
at a few reasons…
“OK, OK. Besides the roads, system of government, sanitation, personal safety, language,
culture, and the rule of law, what have the Romans ever done for us?“
Raise your hand if you get that joke/reference.
Latin is an important
root to modern
languages.
Latin is the direct root of several
modern languages called
‘Romance’ languages – including,
but not limited to, Spanish,
French, Italian, Portuguese, and
Romanian. Studying Latin makes
learning any (or all!) of these
languages tremendously easy.
Even languages which are not
directly descended from Latin, or
not related to Latin at all, are
easier with a Latin background. A
student who learns the extensive
but logical rules to Latin grammar
and syntax has important skills for
any language. Especially…
Latin is an important tool for
learning English.
Although English is not directly descended from
Latin like French or Spanish (it is a Germanic
language), about two thirds of our vocabulary
is derived from Latin. In fact, the words with
Latin roots are often complicated, new,
invented terms, which means that a Latin
background will allow you to easily deduce the
meaning of English words you have never
heard before (like amicable, malevolent, or
deleterious, to name a few)!
Approximately 90% of English words with two
or more syllables have Latin roots.
The Preamble: Highlighted words have
Latin roots!
We the People of the United States, in
order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common
Defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our posterity, do ordain
and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.
Latin
Italian
Spanish
French
English
unus
uno
uno
un
one
duo
due
dos
deux
two
tres
tre
tres
trois
three
pater
padre
padre
pere
father
me
me
me
me
me
Latin is an important skill for learning.
Period.
Students who take Latin gain an
understanding of grammar and syntax
and ultimately of the fundamentals of
logic that gives them an academic
advantage across the board over
students who do not take it. Latin
students score much higher on the
SAT, the GRE, and in their college
GPA’s than the average of students,
and higher than students taking
Spanish, French, and German.
A study conducted among students in
Indianapolis found that students who
studied Latin 30 minutes a day saw
signifcant improvement over their
peers in mathematical ability, world
knowledge, reading, spelling, science,
and social studies (The Elementary
School Journal, vol. 77, no. 4).
SAT Verbal scores:
2004
2005
2006
2007
Latin
674
681
672
678
Average
508
508
503
502
French
642
643
637
637
German
627
637
632
632
Spanish
575
573
577
574
Freshman
Grade Point
Averages:
UTK, 1985
Foreign Language
GPA
Latin
2.89
No language
2.58
Spanish
2.76
German
2.77
French
2.78
Latin is the key to the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean.
Latin and her sister language, Greek,
were the languages of the thriving
cultures which together form the basis
for Western civilization. To know Latin is
to have direct access to the literature,
culture, and people who laid the
foundations for the modern world.
The Romans and Greeks pioneered amazing
advances in warfare, literature, art,
philosophy, and construction that were not
seen again in Europe for a thousand years.
Even the great advances of the Renaissance
were seen as simply the rediscovery of
classical culture.
Latin is crucial to understanding Christianity.
Israel in Jesus’s own time was a province of
the Roman empire. The story of the early
Church is entirely bound up in the history
and culture of the Graeco-Roman civilization
of the time and place. How different would
the story be without Pontius Pilate, Tiberius
Caesar, or Constantine?
Christianity remains the world’s most
widespread religion, and nearly all modern
Christian churches trace their roots to the
Christians of the Roman Empire. Latin
remains the official language of the
Vatican, and the Vulgate Bible is at the
core of Catholic identity.
And finally… Latin is crucial to understanding our own, modern culture.
You don’t have to look far to see Latin and
Roman influences. Take a closer look at a
coin or dollar bill. Look at the inscriptions at
college campuses. Wander around
downtown D.C. and look at all the classical
influences on the architecture there. Or
watch a graduation ceremony with all the
fancy gowns that trace their roots back to
the toga.
And you don’t have to be reading
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to see Roman
influences. Open to nearly any page of a ‘Harry
Potter’ novel. Or, after a year or two of
learning about Roman history, take another
look at the Star Wars story of a republic that
collapses under its own corruption and a
Senate that yields to the tyrrany of an
Emperor.
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Latin – The 5 W’s - Bishop Ireton High School