Why Learn The Latin Language?

There are many reasons why people think that you should learn Latin; and you may have heard all of them. Learn Latin because it increases your SAT score, learn it because it makes you think logically, learn it if you want to read Vergil, take Latin because it is a challenge, etc. While all of these reasons are good, I will be telling you as a Latin scholar why I personally think you should learn this language. Keep in mind that as with any other skill/language out there, it takes hard work to become perfect at something.

Great Community

Whether you are going to take Latin in your school, college, or elsewhere, you will find that your average classmates are very focused. What do I mean by this? No one (or very little) people are going to take Latin to impress a girl, easily earn a language credit, or ever speak the language with others. Many people promote Latin as a hard language and that tends to weed out the slackers. Your teachers and classmates are taking the language to achieve language perfection, and not for any other reasons. For that matter everyone taking the class is there to learn, so the atmosphere is easy going. Being in a Latin class feels more like a hobby rather than learning.

Improve Your English

Although many argue that reading more in general can improve your English as much as the Latin language can; the fact is that Latin students usually score higher on their SAT. In the process of learning Latin you will learn more about the mechanics of your native language. When translating into or from Latin you have to understand cases, tenses, declensions, infinitives, prepositions and more. Although most English speakers understand their own language, they arenâ??t really masters of it. Latin will make you a master of your native language.

It Goes Both Ways

Depending who you ask, up to 60% of the English vocabulary derives from Latin. If you asked my Latin 1 teacher he would tell you that over 60% of the English vocabulary is derived from Latin; and I would agree with that number. The actual number can be debated. Take a look at some of these words from the Latin language:

  • Abdomen
  • Albus
  • Axis
  • Bonus
  • Campus
  • Novem
  • Pelvis
  • Persona
  • Uber
  • Ultra

Now these words are really easy to find out the meanings of without ever knowing any Latin. When you are learning the Latin language you will be able to recognize words from your English vocabulary. The amazing part is that after a while of learning Latin words you will also be able to identify/explain unknown English words from your Latin vocabulary.

  • Albino, albumen, albumin
  • Axial, axile
  • November
  • Impersonal, impersonate, parson, parsonage, personage, personal, personality, personally, personification, personify, personnel
  • Exbunerance, exuberant
  • Ultimate, ultimatum, ultraviolet

These are just some of the words that derive from the Latin vocabulary. Looking at this small list you can hopefully understand that Latin will aid you in your English.

I was lucky when I started learning Latin because I already knew Romanian, a Romance language, and English. I was able to recognize twice as many words as my classmates due to this fact.

Paves The Way For Learning Other Languages

While learning Latin you will expand the unknown vocabulary you can identify. If you learn the Latin language first, it will make it really easy for you to learn other Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and many others. Not only will you be identifying derived words but the grammar will also be similar.

The best part is that learning another language will only add to your vocabulary, making it even easier to pick up another language. For example, right now I know Romanian, English, and Latin. Do you think it will be a challenge for me to learn French? It won’t be, so that’s why I am taking it in the future 🙂

If you plan on learning multiple Romance languages, then having a foundation in Latin will give you an upper hand.

Latin is Fun

Although many people may not actually enjoy a language so much that it becomes fun for them, it will make you happy when you recongize English words that baffle your friends. Learn Latin -> Improve Vocabulary -> Master English -> Outsmart your friends -> Have fun.

Learn Roman History

Although you can learn about Roman history without understanding Latin, learning the history and language will be an added bonus. You will be able to understand Roman culture and myths better if you also understand their language. If you decide to continue your Latin studying you will eventually be able to directly read historic texts.

Gives You an Edge

As youâ??ve read above, Latin really builds your vocabulary, understanding of your native language, and helps pave the way for learning other languages. If you are going to enter the medical field then Latin is a must.  On Cambridgeâ??s medical school preparation they list having at least 2 years of Latin as one of the most important things you can do to prepare. Then the second thing you can do to prepare is to take a course in Greek and Latin roots in medical terminology. So you why doesnâ??t Cambridge just recommend you learn only the medical related Latin vocabulary? The reason is because Latin gives you an edge. Consider you are a doctor and you see â??Non compos mentisâ? in a legal document. You could look confused and have no idea what it means; or if you knew Latin you would understand it to mean â??Not of sound mind.â? Although you may not need the Latin language, it will still make you knowledge in unknown vocabulary.

Imagine if you are speaking to a member from the Cambridge staff that can easily get you into the school. He asks you what does optimates mean? He also goes on to say that it is the domain name they use for one of their websites (it is). Now if you know Latin, which you should if you are going into medicine, you can respond that it means “best men” and that this group made up a majority of the late Roman republic. If you only knew the medical Latin roots, or didn’t know Latin at all, you would not make a good impression of yourself in this situation.

A Tool More Than a Language

Nowadays it is impractical to speak Latin. You might speak Latin with your friend for fun, or you might speak Latin in a classical church. That is about it when it comes to speaking the language. If you arenâ??t a Latin fanatic you wonâ??t compose Latin writing, and if you arenâ??t a history fanatic you wonâ??t read Roman history written in Latin. So what does that make this language? It makes it a powerful tool. Although Latin isnâ??t used for communication anymore, it is still important. The Latin language is a gateway into mastering your native language and a tool that will help you on your future endeavors.

Article written by Octavian Ristea.




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Octavian is a technology enthusiast and blogger. He enjoys writing for App Comrade and keeping up with current trends. The last thing he would ever do is buy a pre-made computer from a store. He believes building your own computer is a great experience that everyone should try in their lifetime. On the side he likes experimenting with Linux, servers, and programming. He is not "l33t" or ever wishes to be, but he can manage well enough :) On top of running this site he also runs a web design service, an app marketing service and a web hosting service.


  1. Latin is also fairly easy to learn by yourself. No pronunciation skills needed. You don’t need to learn a new alphabet or anything else. Vocabulary, grammar, and that’s about it. No listening to tapes 🙂

  2. The idea of being able to read Roman historic texts directly sounds great fun. I can imagine a trip to a Roman history museum would be a lot more interesting too. Bath in England would be a great place to visit if you can read Latin.
    I really liked what you said about learning for fun and interest too, as well as Latin underpinning the ability to understand the roots of most of the English language, therefore increasing modern day English skills as well.
    You’ve presented this language in a whole new light for me, as I never before would have guessed that Latin could be fun. It’s funny how something you saw in one light can totally change when you consider someone else’s viewpoint. Great points 🙂

    • Hahahahaha, this part is awesome “Please confirm that you are a human being, not a T1000 terminator spambot”.

      Didn’t know that England had baths built by the Romans, apparently they do! That’s pretty cool. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath,_Somerset

      Glad I could broaden your view of Latin 🙂 From what I understand from my friend that takes French is that his teacher doesn’t teach. Apparently many students in this woman’s class have cheated by keeping their textbook wide open on their desk. Also another friend of mine, said he hated the teacher outloud, and then she started asking him how she could be more fun. After that he would get grades on quizes like 45/45 when really half of the paper was marked for corrections, and he actually scored a 20/45. Its funny because I’ve walked into this teacher’s class before and sat down for ten minutes and she didn’t notice; on top of the fact that no one was doing anything 😛

      That’s basically what my impression is of the other classes 😀 Sitting around doing nothing, getting 100% on quizzes you failed. Pfft. I’m sitting here learning declension tables all day http://bellarella.wikispaces.com/file/view/latin_noun_declension_chart.png/222726742/732×540/latin_noun_declension_chart.png

      [Yeah well not all of Latin is fun and games 🙂 ]

      • That French teacher sounds lazy full stop!
        I used to study French at school, but on a trip to France when I was 14 years old, me and my friend went into a French cafe and tried our best to speak French and mix in. However, everyone (around 8 people) refused to drink or eat until we left. It’s a French thing that if someone doesn’t like you they won’t drink until you are out of their sight.
        Of course, when I came back from this horrendous visit I wasn’t interested in learning French any more for obvious reasons and it was the only subject I got multiple detentions in. I feel sorry for my French teacher now because she was actually a nice person.
        Having said that, I’ve since met some really nice French people including a friend and someone who helped me at the scene of an accident. Little did the person know who helped me at the scene of the accident that he had restored my faith in French people as well as helping me.

        Yes, I agree, fixed or corrupted test results go nowhere and don’t stand up to the final moderated exam. A waste of precious time. Don’t blame you for avoiding that load of rubbish.

        I have tried to spice up the comments by adding Zaazu Emoticons – here is a quick test . . .
        :Approve: :Cry-Out: :Pleasure: :Distort: :Crazy2:

        • Yeah when you cheat you’re only cheating yourself of an education.

          As for your experience with the French, I don’t think they were being very friendly. If you are a tourist in a small town they might just get annoyed after a while. Idk, I wonder what I would do in a situation like that. Maybe say “Je viens en paix.”


  3. I read some book before with some Latin phrases and from then I was really intrigued with the language. I think learning Latin is quite interesting even though it’s not being spoken anymore. I think you pointed out really good reasons why to learn it. Also, I’m really fond of those famous Latin phrases. Thanks!

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