Now that you know what Latin is and can recognize it, you will see it everywhere in books, in magazines, and yes, in tattoos (although probably badly translated). You will hear it in Jeopardy questions and at Trivia night. These questions will stump your friends, but you will answer easily.

Even more importantly, you will have increased your word power. You will no longer need a dictionary to understand four or more syllable words like egregious, postulate, and concatenate. Well, maybe ‘concatenate’ will stump you. It means to link together from the Latin catena (chain) and con (together).

Not only will your word power be increased, but you will also understand the grammatical structure of language much better. How a sentence goes together is a major topic in Latin class. Learning to put together a Latin sentence will help you to write English sentences which agree subject to verb and pronoun to antecedent.

All of your increased language ability can also be applied to languages other than English. The Romance languages, which descend from their mother Latin, are languages for which Latin is an excellent base for learning. These languages are French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese. Law, medicine, and other sciences also rely upon Latin for specific terminology within their fields. In addition, Latin is a language of music. Look up ‘songs in Latin’ on youtube and you will see what I mean.

Most everything you have heard about Latin is true. Does it help with the SATs? Yes. Is it a dead language? Most certainly. Latin is dead because there are no native speakers. But the fact that Latin is dead is also what makes it so useful to us. Anything you write today in Latin will mean the same thing a hundred years from now when our grandchildren will still be learning Latin.

by Ann Myers

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