4 Reasons You Should Learn Latin
Why learn Latin? In today’s post, Derek Cooper, author of Basics of Latin: A Grammar with Readings and Exercises from the Christian Tradition, gives you four reasons.
1. You will learn more about the classical world
Every day, often without knowing it, you come across many references to the classical world. They might be really simple—phrases like “Crossing the Rubicon” or quid pro quo, or a reference to Julius Caesar. What do these references mean? What’s the back story?
Latin gives you an insight into the ancient world. When you learn Latin, you will gain a greater understanding of the Greco-Roman world, which has influenced modern society in countless ways.
2. You will gain a greater understanding of the Bible and theology
For hundreds of years, Latin was the language of the church. The earliest works of theology and history were written in Latin. The Bible was read—and commented on—in Latin for generations. When you study Latin, you get a window into this world.
If you’re studying theology in particular, knowing a little Latin will be helpful. Many theological terms are either in Latin or come from Latin. It’s hard to get very far in a serious work of theology without encountering a Latin word or a phrase.
3. You will become better speaker and reader of English
Learning Latin will help you understand the English language. It’s true that English is not a Romance language, like Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, or French. Those languages are direct descendants of Latin. Nonetheless, Latin has still influenced the evolution of English in significant ways. If you want to know word origins or etymology, or if you want to become more thoughtful and careful in your use of English words and phrases, it helps to know the Latin origins behind many English words. Knowing Latin will help you speak more clearly and write more concisely. It will make you more confident in your communication.
4. You’ll enjoy it!
This is the most important reason to learn Latin: it’s really enjoyable. It’s fun to learn it; read it; and speak it. You’ll be a better person for having learned Latin. It will give you a window into reading and learning—it will give you access to texts and ideas that are inaccessible by other means. It will allow you to engage more closely with serious scholars of the past—from the great theologians of the church, like Augustine and Aquinas, to the great historians of classical civilizations.
Learn the Basics of Latin
In the Basics of Latin online course, Derek Cooper will walk you step-by-step through everything you need to know, starting with the alphabet and pronunciation. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to read Latin texts, and you’ll be positioned for more advanced language study. It’s easy to begin—anyone can do it.
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