Canis mea studia domestica devoravit

There are plans to introduce Latin lessons to more than 60 UK primary schools, according to this report. The initiative, which started with a small number of schools in Cambridgeshire and was taken up with enthusiasm by both pupils and teachers, is designed to introduce the children to language learning, language structures, links between languages and cultures, and also history.

A number of organisations are keen for language study to be compulsory for all pupils between 7 and 11 by 2011, and they think that pupils should have opportunities to learn a range for languages, such as French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Punjabi and Latin, and that they should concentrate on one or two of these. Learning Latin helps you understand such things as word order, verb conjugations, agreement and gender, they believe.

The title of this post means ‘the dog ate my homework’, by the way.

11 thoughts on “Canis mea studia domestica devoravit

  1. No choice of Gaelic, Irish, Welsh, Manx or Cornish I see. I understand how it would be a terrible waste of resources to learn about the languages of these islands.

  2. I do agree with Latin helping you understand certain aspects of grammar. I took Latin and German in the same semester one year in high school and had never worked with a case system like those before. I didn’t understand how the German system worked until we covered it in Latin, oddly enough.

  3. Is learning a foreign language not already compulsory there …?

    It’s nice that Latin is an option, but I don’t think learning Latin can be a substitute for learning a modern language that’s associated with a contemporary culture, is spoken daily by millions, has modern literature, etc. Not even if a conversational approach is taken, which is often not the case. Latin is viewed as a separate subject here, and taking it does not exempt pupils from taking classes in a modern language.

  4. I think learning Latin early on to help in further language learning is a good idea, however, Latin as a base can only go so far when you’re dealing with Asian languages, particularly Chinese. I can understand Latin-based languages though.

  5. Given that romance languages are the ones that are most popular to learn in secondary school (at least in Ireland), I think it’s a good idea. What I disagree with is that Latin is the only language that can teach you about grammar. The solution is to teach linguistics, not a dead language that happens to have a pretty complex declension and conjugation system.

    On a less serious note, old Irish would certainly be a choice for a complex language to learn!

  6. I think language learning should definitely be compulsory.
    However I think it is a bad idea to teach Latin, as the students experience with studying this language is more likely to put them off further language study rather than encourage it.
    I have two reasons for this:
    1. Latin is dead, so they will have all the hard work (studying) with none of the payoff (speaking while on holidays etc.).
    2. Latin is one of the more complex languages to learn and students may think that all languages are as difficult as this and not bother.

    The solution for me is to teach a language that is simpler and can actually be used, say Spanish.

    I am all for people studying difficult and dead/minority languages but I think this should be a choice.

  7. Finaly a good news. Here in Brazil (which spoke Portuguese, a Romance language came from Latin) the generation of my mother (who didin’t have high study grades) knew how to speak and write Portuguese much better than my generation, because they had Latin class on school. My generation was forced by “the educational policy” to change Latin to English, which in spite of being an Indo-european language, in from another branch. But as Jim above says Latin is dead (also the education), while English is alive (also the “importation of all kind of non-sense words which now is being incorporated into Portuguese, while we have the similar word in our language, ie. 50% off- we could say desconto de 50%, or liquidação 50%; we’ll give a break when we should say on tv vamos ao intervalo comercial.
    Let’s make the revival of Latin. Educational culture will thanks a lot.

  8. I like the idea of incorporating more than another subject with a language. I always roll my eyes when I look at text books that think students will enjoy learning what other young people do in other countries. I’d rather learn about history.

  9. Latin doesn’t really make sense as “an introductory language” despite its rich history and literature. Latin has a myriad of verb conjugations and noun declensions that students end up memorizing like multiplication tables. I also don’t see a lot of schools teaching “conversational latin” either, whatever that may be.

    There is, of course, a simple answer to this question. Instead of Latin, teach Esperanto. It has the same benefits of teaching vocabulary common to the Romance Languages. It introduces the concept of noun cases, but not to the extent that Latin does. It also teaches tenses. Basically by providing a streamlined grammar with consistent rules, it allows the student to internalize the rules easily, and not have to memorize irregular verbs or anything like that. This allows the students to start speaking faster. The students will then gain the confidence of being able to learn and use a 2nd language, giving them the encouragement needed to learn more. However, if Latin is what they’re facing up against, it could completely discourage them from languages.

  10. I would recommend teaching them esperanto. It’s easy, many of the words are from other languages and it opens them up to adjective agreement, word order, verb conjugation and declensions. Plus studies sho that those who learn it find learning other languages much easier than those who hadn’t learned esperanto.

  11. Clearly your open minded and receptive to other ideas. Many people in the online community are a little more totalitarian. im gonna bookmark ur site ;D Of course– and I probably shouldn’t even have to say this– people are free to run their own blogs as they see fit. But I get the highest value from blogs where either the author’s writing is so outstanding that the lack of comments isn’t material a combination of good writing and good comments leaving my personal Research weblog if you dont mind wael kfoury

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