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.