10 Reasons to Study Latin
Latin is a classical language that was widely used in the Roman era when the Romans dominated significant portions of the world. It was so common that colloquial forms were derived from it, and eventually became modern languages still spoken today including Italian, Spanish, and French.
A lot of people believe that Latin is a “dead” language, however, lots of people are still chosing to learn Latin every year. But why study a suposed 'dead' language?
If you are interested in the idea of learning Latin, or are just curious as to why people still do, here are ten benefits of studying Latin.
1. Become Multilingual
Latin is the source of most languages spoken today.
Once you’ve become familiar and have overcome the complexity of this ancient language, learning other languages will be a breeze. French, in particular, is complicated for those uninitiated with inflected languages.
Studying Latin, which is also heavily-inflected, equips you with the fundamental principles and helps you understand modern languages at their roots.
These are the most widely spoken Roman languages today:
- Spanish – There are approximately 470 million native Spanish speakers in the world.
- Portuguese – Portuguese speakers come in second place with about 250 million speakers.
- French – An estimated 150 million people speak French. Learning Latin is particularly helpful if you plan to go on a trip to European countries.
- Italian – Native Italian speakers make up about 90 million.
- Romanian – The Romanian language is spoken by around 25 million people.
2. Improve Your English Skills
English is a combination of the Germanic language and Latin. The modern language came about when the Saxons conquered Britain after the Roman Empire’s fall in the fifth century.
You may have noticed that English for beginners sounds more Anglo-Saxon, while more complex words have Latin roots, such as democracy and paternalism. English also adopted Latin’s rules for plural endings, like for datum and data, as well as appendix and appendices.
Knowing the foundation of this modern language can help you improve your communication skills. Plus, it also makes imparting this knowledge much easier if you plan on teaching English abroad.
3. Prepare for Your Career
Several professions use terminologies that are rooted in Latin. If you plan on pursuing a career in law, medicine, music, theology, and art, learning Latin can help you memorize the jargons used in your industry of choice without much difficulty.
4. Understand History
Latin became a widely used language when the Romans were conquering countries left and right. Studying it entails learning about history. You understand and become aware of the continuing effects that the ancient empire has until today.
5. Appreciate the Arts
Voracious readers will enjoy learning Latin, which allows you to savor influential literary works, like those from Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, and Horace in their original forms.
Latin literature made a significant impact in shaping the world today. Acquiring the ability to understand these books in their raw structure and context will make you appreciate the authors’ minds even more.
6. Deepen Your Spirituality
Learning Latin is valuable for aspiring theologians and philosophers because a lot of theological texts are written in Latin.
Knowing how to read books written by Agustin and Aquinas can help you discover and gain spiritual knowledge that may have become lost in translation.
7. Gain a New Perspective
There’s an adage that says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” You may find answers to the philosophical questions you have today when you read historical texts.
Medieval thinkers have thought about hundreds and thousands of existential ponderings; reading them in their original – Latin – form can enlighten you and elevate your critical thinking skills.
8. Boost Your Memory
There are a lot of complexities that entail learning a new language. You have to memorize new grammar and pronunciation rules. This type of mental exercise can help boost your memory, which will have a significant impact on other aspects of your life.
9. Experience New Cultures & Meet New People
You can find language schools around the world offering Latin classes, this is a great way to live in a different culture and also make new friends as most classes are in groups. You could study abroad in Italy, some universities and language centers offer combo programs which include Latin.
10. Keep Your Mind Active
Engage in stimulating conversations with your classmates and professors, especially when practicing Latin, can sharpen your mind. You become better at noticing things semantically as well as thinking critically.
Having regular mental exercises, such as practicing a new language, can also help protect your mind from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, among others. This is because cognitive training strengthens the neural connections in your brain, which has favorable implications for your psyche.
While Latin is an ancient language and there are no native speakers today, it still has considerable influence over modern civilization. Learning it can help you become multilingual because it’s the root of modern languages, like Spanish, French, and Italian. It can even improve your English communication skills.
Studying Latin can also help you prepare for careers in law and medicine. You also get to appreciate history, the arts, and theology even more. Plus, you gain a new perspective from reading literary works in their original forms.
Moreover, there are so many reasons to study a foreign language including mental health benefits, like boosting your memory and keeping your mind sharpening.