Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are writting nowadaze might of been better if only

... the educational establishment had not stopped teaching Latin in school. A lovely little article by Katherine Eastland at American Spectator.

Ancient tongues like Latin tend to enter our daily lives in small ways. There is the quick phrase sitting like an italicized island lending polish and age, if not pretension, to what we write. In art galleries there is the occasional tapestry with Latin embroidered in the top and bottom margins or in the spaces between figures. And upon aged churchside graves there is often a name carved, usually in wing-tipped Latin letters -- proof, it would seem, that the language is at rest. And yet, every so often, like a crocus in winter, the so-called dead tongue displays her original, brilliant force. This is, I think, a gentle species of what the Greeks identified as epiphany.

As is often the case, some of the best material is to be found in the comboxes (my bolds/comments).

I took five years of Latin in a Jesuit High School. (We were required to take two periods in Freshman year.)
Not much remains except the solid foundation it provided for English. [as if that's not reason enough!]

Just the other day, one of my children asked me why I used a much more expanded vocabulary than their father. [kudos to the kids for noticing!] I told her it was because even though two words can mean the same thing in English, one of them may hold a nuance that better describes the thing than the other. This, of course, led her to ask what "nuance" meant. *sigh*

I took three years of high school Latin, and one year each of Latin and Greek in college. I have never regretted it. My high school Latin teacher (who is himself fluent in Russian and Mandarin Chinese as well as Latin and of course English) still teaches at our local community college and I have offered my daughter that I will attend the class with her if she wants to go. She doesn't think that it's necessary. I weep because she has no desire to further expand her horizons in understanding our linguistic background. My youngest child I have higher hopes for as she seems to take after me in the learning department.

And as to the above comments about returning the Mass to Latin, I have to agree. When I was 18, our priest asked me to sing the Gloria in the original Latin at Easter Vigil. I happily obliged. Afterwards, the amount of older parishoners who wanted to thank me for doing so was overwhelming. The joy that was in their faces over a simple prayer sung in the original Latin was astounding. Whether we realize it or not, Latin calls to many of us, both young and old, in ways that are primal and not understandable.

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