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Tuesday, March 28, 2017



Do they even teach Latin in school anymore?  When I was in high school, lots of people took Latin. 

Latin is the base for many languages.  SO? NO ONE SPEAKS IT!!
Latin is required for anyone who wants to be a doctor, engineer or a lawyer. WHY?  Because these professions use many Latin terms.  SO WHAT?  TEACH THOSE TERMS, NOT A WHOLE LANGUAGE that NO ONE SPEAKS!!
Well those bull crap arguments made me take Latin, and I never became a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.  My brother is a lawyer and he never took Latin. 
So anyway, I took Latin, and I hated it; useless fecking language. 
Veni, vidi, vici.  Tempus fugit.  Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est.
Two years and that’s all I got, and I’ve never had a reason to use any of it.  Once it got me the right answer while watching Jeopardy, but then I forgot to say What is tempus fugit?”
I was horrible at Latin.  I’m not good at languages anyway, but it was extra hard to get excited about learning a language that NO ONE SPEAKS.  I got straight “D’s” and one year was in danger of failing all together.  In those days if you failed a course, you had to take it over again in summer school, and if you failed that, you did not graduate…you stayed back!!!  Oh the horrors.  The threat of being left back was frightening.  Your life would be ruined.  It would be on your PERMINANT RECORD.
So, I had a tutor for Latin.  Getting tutored in those days was a little like getting left back, except no one had to know.  It was not on your PERMINANT RECORD.
My tutor was around 90 years old.  He lived in a dingy room in an old house that smelled like a musty basement, and he smelled old.  There is no other way to explain it, he smelled old.  He also had bad breath.  It was not “I forgot to brush my teeth” breath, or “I just ate garlic” breath, it was clinical halitosis, and he was also a close talker.
I don’t think he helped me in Latin, other than giving me the incentive to study extra hard so I could get away from the smell of old and the close talking halitosis breath.
I did not fail Latin that year.  I got another “D” but I did not fail. 
I did win an award. 
Of all the subjects I ever studied, of all the sports I ever played the one award I won was for proficiency in Latin.  

We had to take some special national test, and I got a 92 which was good for a special certificate.
I was very proud.  I’m not completely sure what the certificate represents, it looks impressive, but most of it is in Latin.


  1. I had Latin in high school. I don't remember much of it, but I remember my medical terminology teacher in college saying that I had a "huge" vocabulary (in English). I *think* it helped me with learning and understanding other languages (I also learned English, and had French and Italian).

    I think Latin may help you with languages like learning multiplication tables will help you with Algebra, but only if you're "into" languages.

    Hey, I tutored Latin when I was in high school! Now you brought back some memories... :-)

  2. I believe it helps rather than hinders. I only remember a few words now, but I received some serious study skills.

  3. When son was still in high school we went to back to school night. I remember one teacher saying a D was a good grade. I questioned her motives in saying so until she said "D means diploma." You can graduate with a D and still get a diploma.

    I never took Latin. I took a semester of Spanish. I wish I had taken more.


  4. Never heard of anybody having a Latin class in the public schools around these parts. I probably would have liked it. I like words, and recognizing the root they came from, giving me an idea what they might refer to even though I am not familiar with the word itself.

    Now geography...that's another matter!

  5. "he smelled old" oh boy, do I know that smell well. I have visited old people in their old homes and the smell is in everything including the person. It's a unique smell and there is no other smell like it.
    I remember taking Latin in high school, I also took French in the same term, but I hated French and didn't listen well, didn't do the homework, didn't pass the tests, which brought my whole grade average down too far and in second term I got bumped from the A grade class to the B grade class. No more Latin which I'd been enjoying, but I was still stuck with French, so of course I did the same as before and failed the year and had to repeat. In the repeating year, I got bumped down again to the C grade class where there were no languages to be learned. I'm sorry now, if I'd just put up with the French enough to get a passing grade, I could have stayed in the original class and learned the Latin which I found so interesting. I did well in everything else, it was just the Fs I got in French that dragged me down.

  6. I love that you won an award for Latin that you can't read because ... It's written in Latin! :-)

  7. Congratulations. I am pleased to say Latin wasn't taught at my school.

  8. My school didn't offer Latin. I took 7 years total of high school and college French and loved it.

  9. SInce I am somewhat of a word nerd, I loved all four years of Latin and one semester of ancient Greek as well.

  10. I took the business Latin for me...thank goodness because Latin is all Greek to me. Sorry...I just had to.

  11. I took nine years of Spanish and I cannot speak or understand a word of a it...

  12. I took years of Latin because of my love for all things Roman. In college I had to take Latin 4 before Latin 2 because of my schedule. Latin 4 required us to translate Cicero's oration against Catullus, all forty pages of it. I was hopelessly out of my league so I got Cliff Notes and memorized it, and still got a C.

  13. After two years of Latin you got an award in Latin that you couldn't read? It that what you're saying. By gosh, I think it is.

    Aurora Musis amica

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

  14. I took Latin for 4 years. It was my worst subject, but I learned more in that class than I did in those in which I excelled. I learned about language, I learned about literary appreciation -- prose and poetry. Most of all I learned about the Romans and that was and still is my favourite historical period. Because I studied Latin I didn't graduate on the A honour roll, but the B, but I have never regretted it or felt it wasn't a price worth paying.

  15. Never took Latin, even though it was offered.

    My guidance counselor knew my older brother and my mother. She assumed I'd end up Blue collar all the way (which was nearly true) so she told me learning a language would be a stupid waste of my time. Yep, exactly like that.

    So I learned English and created my own language, odd-speak. that's my story

  16. No latin in my california high school. French, German or Spanish.

  17. Ah Latin, what a waste that course was. We had a just out of college teacher who was hung over a lot, told off color jokes in English (had the been in Latin at least it would have been a challenge) and we spent the entire year planning the Latin Banquet. Had to laugh, Veni, vidi, vici was all I retained also.

  18. Latin used to be important, and the people who speak it now (mostly in the Roman Catholic Church, where archbishops and cardinals from various regions use it to communicate to each other in a common language) have never gotten over the fact that it used to be important. They want it to be important again, perhaps.

  19. I think it would be fun to learn Latin with a best friend and then go places and only speak Latin to each other so that others will not be able to understand you. To me, that still sounds like so much fun. A secret language. I might be 47 but my brain is still like a 12 year old sometimes.

  20. They barely taught English where I went to school, but I always thought I would have enjoyed Latin.


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