by Addie Sears '20
If you are a Latin student, I’m sure that you are no stranger to the unsolicited harassment from so-called “friends” about choosing to take a “dead language.” Comments like these are honestly quite unfortunate, considering that without Latin, said “friends” wouldn’t even be taking whatever language they’re in now. Alas, peers who are tremendously misinformed about Latin’s purpose in the world continue to slander the language. Some common remarks you might hear in your day to day life range from: “Latin will never help you,” to questions like “What will you do when the whole world is speaking Spanish?” And of course the notorious “There’s not even vocab on the SAT anymore.” To combat this unadulterated abuse, here are a few reasons why Latin is definitely NOT dead, and is completely, 100%, prevalent in everyone’s lives.
Do you have any idea how many english words originate from Latin? No? You don’t? That’s funny. The answer is: a lot. Over 60% of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. How does it feel to know that the word: “stupid,” as in, Latin is stupid, comes from the noun stupidus? With this in mind, a fun little game you could all play is when you try to insult people without using words with latin origins. Spoiler alert! You probably won’t be able to. As for vocabulary in the science and technology realm, the percentage raises to 90%. Hey, STEM boys and girls! Latin dominates your lives and interests as well. So fun.
Another reason to take Latin is the overwhelming enjoyment it can bring to your life. The highlight of my day is always when I get to spend hours on hours rewriting declension endings I should’ve memorized years ago. It’s always super wonderful to know that the time it takes me to memorize basic grammar rules is the same as how long I need to crank out a five-paragraph paper. The endless, time-consuming, upkeep necessary to keep my grade from plummeting to uncharted depths always reminds me of what a fantastic language Latin is.
Super Fun History
One great thing about Latin is that to make sense of bizarre translations that a student may come across, it’s necessary to have a good grasp on some of the history of that time period. This is especially fun because not only do we get to take a break from drilling verb tenses into our brains, but we get to hear about some arguably ~abstract~ customs of the Roman Empire. A particularly family-friendly one is when gladiators were thrown into the Colosseum to try and hold their own against terrifying, enraged, ravenous animals. Sounds thrilling. If you ever have a spare moment, I would definitely recommend becoming acquainted with Roman traditions like this and see which ones you like the best.
Although this list is on the shorter side, I could honestly go on forever about how much I’ve personally benefited from studying Latin. It’s been a really fun and great experience so far, and I’m beyond excited to continue on this wild educational ride. For any of you that bully your friends about their language choice, I hope you spend some time reminiscing on this article, and how your slander is irritating and unappreciated. Sic semper tyrannis.