Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A Latin revival?

I have a sense that there is an increased tolerance amongst our students for the idea that knowledge of Latin is at least useful, and at best beneficial. Few of them study Latin today, but when asked to consider its advantages, most see a purpose. Very few know how to write Roman numerals, preferring 'Henry the 8th' to 'Henry VIII', and are mystified by page or paragraph numbering in lower case Roman numerals. Few of them have any knowledge of the functions of Latin today, being largely unaware of the Linnean system, and never reading inscriptions, memorials or mottos. Despite the common currency of terms like quid pro quo, the only Latin phrase they seem to know is vice versa. They think status quo is an 80s band (it was) and etc., e.g. and i.e. are English short forms.

My linguistic wonderings today are: having long been dead (non-productive), is Latin now about to be cremated, or is it attempting to stage a come-back?

1 comment:

  1. GCSE Latin is being reintroduced into many state schools (bizarrely using the same family as when I did Latin O level - "Caecilius est pater", anyone?!) The problem is that not all schools have anyone qualified to teach it (my daughter's school had a music teacher who taught Latin). Also, it seems to be aimed more at science students rather than linguists.