do or study. All she knows is that she’ll
encounter Spanish speakers more often
than people who speak Latin. Is Latin
Colleges require students to study a
second language for a variety of very
good reasons. Americans have a horrible
track record of failing to master other languages. This failure to be more global is
far from being a primary consideration.
Learning another language does a number of important things to us and for us.
The side effects of learning a language are
just as important as the language itself.
Language study requires discipline.
Even a brilliant student will struggle a
bit to rewire the language centers in his
brain. Regular practice is the only way
to succeed and so language learning re-
quires determination. Most of us already
succeeded at mastering a first language
in our infancy, but we had to struggle
with it daily. Picking up a second lan-
guage is comparatively easy though
we’ve gotten out of practice. Mastering
a language also requires analytical alert-
ness. One has to observe, understand,
and employ the rules again and again
until they become effortless habit. Dis-
cipline, determination, and analysis are
all ideal characteristics for a successful
person in any field or endeavor.
There’s intrinsic value in learning any
language, but is Latin as practical if not
more so than most? Think of Latin as the
source code, the foundation, or the blueprint for all languages. It directly contributes to the grammar and vocabulary of
many languages (such as Spanish, Ital-
ian, Portuguese, Romanian, and a sizable
portion of English) therefore, it is one
of the best language models available. It
offers everything we need to decode lan-
guage of every kind from Indo-European
German and Russian to Chinese and
Japanese. If one is only going to learn one
other language in a lifetime, Latin is an
excellent choice. If one plans to master
many more, Latin will make it consider-
Latin is foundational to mastering any
other language including English. It also
goes without saying that Latin is essential
in the science, medicine, and legal professions. Finally, a serious study of Latin
helps build the skills necessary to tackle
anything with determination, discipline,
and logic. Latin is the most practical subject your child can master.
Amy Barr is a homeschool mother of three
and a full-time instructor of other home-educated students as co-founder of The Lukeion Project, www.lukeion.org. As an archaeologist, she spent more than a decade excavating sites throughout the Mediterranean
and teaching Classics at the college level.
Now she and her husband, Regan Barr, offer
their expertise through live online workshops
and college preparatory high school courses
about the Classical world, Latin, and Greek.
The two of them lead annual family tours
to the Mediterranean and invite you to join
them for a tour.
The side effects of
learning a language are
just as important as the