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Jan
31

Why study Latin?

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Are you one of those who wonders why we teach Latin at Regents Academy? Well, recently while an omnibus class was being taught in my room, I heard a student ask the teacher how collaborate and conspire are similar in meaning. Since I was in the room, I was asked about the roots of these words. I reminded the students that the col- and con- prefixes come from the Latin word cum- with, together with. All the students were very familiar with this Latin word. I told them that for conspire they did not know the other part which comes from spirare- to breathe. Therefore, conspire means to breathe together. Immediately a hand went up and a student said he recognized that the second part of collaborate comes from laborare- to work, therefore collaborate means work together. This is just one of the valuable tools Latin is giving our students.

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Jan
13

Are students Latin?

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The word student is a Latin word. It is 3rd person, plural, present. It comes from the Latin word studeo, studere, studui- to pursue, be diligent in, strive after. Therefore, it can be translated- they strive after, they pursue, they are diligent in.

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Jan
04

Whole or part?

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Can Latin help you in Math? Have math terms like integer and fraction ever troubled you? These terms should not trouble a student of Latin. The word integer comes from the Latin word integer, integra, integrum- whole, untouched and the word fraction comes from the Latin word frango, frangere, fregi, fractus- to break. Therefore, a student of Latin should see the word ‘integer’ and think ‘whole’ and see the word ‘fraction’ and think ‘part of a whole’ because something was broken.

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Nov
17

Extract

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Have you ever had a tooth extracted? The most common definition for extract is- to draw out by effort; pull out. This word comes from the Latin roots ex-, out + trahere, to draw, drag. Looking at the principal parts (traho, trahere, traxi, tractus) it is easy to see where we get the words traction and tractor.

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Aug
25

Conjecture

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The dictionary defines conjecture as guesswork; inferring, theorizing, or predicting from incomplete evidence. The Latin roots are cum, together + jacere, to throw. Therefore the student trained in Latin could easily figure out that conjecture is something that is ‘thrown together.’

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Aug
21

Procrastinate

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Do you ever procrastinate? Then you are saving something pro- for + cras- tomorrow.

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Aug
01

Exit

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Do you know that exit is a Latin word? It means: he/she/it goes out. It is posted everywhere you go. In Latin many verbs are formed by taking a base verb like go and adding a preposition as a prefix to enhance the meaning. If you want to look it up in a Latin dictionary, see: exeo, exire, exii, exitum. Those are its principal parts.

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Apr
22

Ursa Major and Ursa Minor

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Third graders are so amazing. We were making prepositional phrases with their new prepositions and they wanted to say “in front of a bear” in Latin. I told them the word for bear is ursus, ursi and we declined it to see which form we needed for our prepositional phrase. I remembered that they study astronomy in science and asked them if they had learned about Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (lit. Great Bear and Little Bear) which contain the Big and Little Dippers. Most of them were somewhat familiar with these so I asked them why it was ursa and not ursus. Hands went up. It’s because it is a mama bear with her cub. They figured this out because they know that the “a” ending makes it feminine. We also talked about Ursa Major and Ursa Minor being constellations. Since cum is one of their new Latin prepositions, we talked about the roots of the word constellation. When cum is used as a prefix it often means together. The Latin word for star is stella. So constellation literally means stars that are together.

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On February 26, 2010 I heard Bob Costas interviewing Joannie Rochette, who had won the bronze medal in the Olympic women’s figure skating the night before just four days after her mother’s sudden death. He offered his condolences. My mind immediately thought about the roots of that word- com- with + dolēre- to suffer pain (physical or mental.) It is my hope that all the students at Regents Academy of Nacogdoches, TX will learn to see the rich meaning of the vocabulary of our language.

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Knowing Latin takes half the work out of learning anything else.

Through learning Latin you really learn English grammar.

Learning Latin gives you a better understanding of English words (most of which come from Latin roots).

Categories : latin education
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