Latin: Not dead, useless, or useful. It’s something else entirely.

November 24, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

Critics say Latin is a dead language. No one writes it. No one speaks it. To study it is useless. Its utility has long since passed.

Nay, say the supporters of Latin. It does have utility. It sharpens the mind and the intellect. It tells us where we get many of our most important words and phrases. It disciplines the student in ways no other language can.

Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger

Nicola Gardini, a professor at Oxford and the author of Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language, takes on both of these arguments and rejects them. In an interesting essay on, Gardini argues:

When we study Latin, we must study it for one fundamental reason: because it is the language of a civilization; because the Western world was created on its back. Because inscribed in Latin are the secrets of our deepest cultural memory, secrets that demand to be read. Source: Look, Latin Is Not Useless, Neither Is It Dead | Literary Hub

For reasons I am still uncertain of, Latin was one of my favorite subjects in high school. It is the one subject for which I have kept the textbook for these many subsequent decades.

If you are a Latin-lover, as I am, you will want to read this essay.


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