We are often asked, “Why do you teach Latin? -it’s a dead language!”. Here is why:
- Latin is an inflective language. This means the root of the word stays the same but the endings change as to state who is carrying out the action. The different endings specify the different grammatical uses. Thus, using Latin trains the mind to logically think through and then deduce answers.
- The alphabet that we learn and teach to our students is the Latin alphabet.
- Half of our English words are derived from Latin. We choose to teach our Riverbend Academy students Latin because it helps them master the spelling and meaning of most of our English words. In addition, Gregg Strawbridge, Classical and Christian Education, writes, “…it has been estimated that for every year one studies Latin, 500 to 1000 new English words are gained. And it goes without saying that choice words and colorful speech give students an advantage in the workplace, as well as the classroom.”
- It has been proven to increase a student’s standardized testing scores. To quote Strawbridge, “… as a matter of educational statistics, students who have taken Latin score higher than students of other foreign languages on standardized tests. According to Richard A. LaFleur, Franklin Professor and Head of Classics, University of Georgia, “The mean Verbal SAT score for students in 1999 was 505; the mean SAT verbal score for students who took the SAT II Latin test was 662, 157 points higher” (College-Bound Seniors booklet published by the College Board).
- The modern romance languages such as French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish will be much easier to learn because they are directly derived from Latin.
- Lastly, knowledge of Latin enables students to connect directly to much of the theology, history and literary heritage of our western civilization broadly and of our Christian roots narrowly.