Why teach Latin?

A student with a thorough training in Latin grammar is equipped to master English and learn any foreign language, especially those derived from Latin such as Spanish and French.  However, the study of Latin offers students more than language skills. Latin also forms the mind, teaching exactness in observation, judgment, and expression.  Every lesson in Latin is a lesson in grammar and logic.  These skills are essential to the fast pace of our technological and ever-changing society and cultivate agile and creative minds. The disciplined study of the ordered Latin grammar strengthens the student’s mind, offers an appreciation of a great literary heritage, and enhances the knowledge of the student’s own native grammar and vocabulary. 

But Isn’t Latin a Dead Language?

From a purely definitional sense, this statement is not a misnomer.  Latin is a “dead” language, simply meaning it is a language that is no longer spoken in a region of the world today as a modern language.  This is one of the chief reasons that Latin should be taught to all our students at a very young age.  A dead language is fixed.  It is permanent.  It does not change due to the usage of modern speakers.  This consistency makes it a very easy language for students to study and to understand.  (Just think of all the “exceptions” English contains in spelling, usage, punctuation, grammar, and the like, and you can quickly conclude that a language that does not change can be a welcome relief to students trying to learn it.)  In addition, studying the vocabulary and the grammar of Latin aids students immensely in learning English synonyms, antonyms, prefix and suffix meanings, vocabulary, and grammatical structure and syntax.  It is also a language of the early Church, which allows Classical Lutheran schools and homeschools to teach the Faith to our children during language lessons.  Indeed, as Cheryl Lowe says, “Latin is not dead; it is immortal!”

Statue of Luther

Luther on Education

A compilation of quotations from the writings of Dr. Martin Luther concerning schools, Christian education, and classical education.

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