Archive for latin

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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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
17

Why Study Latin?

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As the school year gears up, prepare yourself for an inevitable question from the backseat on the way home from school: “Why am I learning Latin?”

I love Cheryl Lowe’s short and sweet case for studying Latin. She writes for The Classical Teacher over at Memoria Press.

Why Study Latin?
by Cheryl Lowe

Have you ever wished you had a good answer for those people who ask why you would spend your valuable education time studying Latin when you could be spending it on something more “practical”?

There are three reasons Latin has long been considered the one master subject before which all others must bow.

First, Latin teaches English better than English teaches English. “The study of one’s own language,” says classicist Charles Bennett, “is achieved incomparably better by the indirect method of studying another language … It is because translation from Latin to English … is so helpful to the student who would attain mastery of his own language … that I find the full justification for the study of Latin.” In other words, education based on the study of the child’s own language is inferior to one based on Latin.

Second, the mental discipline Latin instills in students makes it the ideal foreign language to study. Latin originated with the Romans, and their character pervades the language they created. The Roman, says R. W. Livingstone, “disciplined his thought as he disciplined himself; his words are drilled as rigidly as were his legions, and march with the same regularity and precision.”

Latin is systematic, rigorous, analytic. Its sentences march “serried, steady, stately, massive, the heavy beat of its long syllables and predominant consonants reflecting the robust, determined, efficient temper” of the Romans themselves.

Latin is clearly superior to other languages in this regard. Like English, modern languages are “lax and individualistic,” reflecting the modern temper of those who speak them. Thinking that you can get the same benefit out of studying them is, in Livingstone’s words, “like supposing that the muscles can be developed by changing from one chair to the other.”

Third, Latin is the ideal tool for the transmission of cultural literacy. Latin is, in fact, the mother tongue of Western civilization—a language that incorporated the best ideas of the ancient Greeks, and which then, after the conversion of Rome, put them into the service of Christian truth.

Rome fell into ruin, but the dying language of the disintegrating empire was infused with new life. Harnessing the power and precision of the old Latin, Christianity transformed the tongue of conquest into the tongue of conversion, and Latin became the very language of the Christian faith for over a thousand years.

Christian Latin takes the intellectual discipline of classical Latin and adds another element: simplicity. Although the basic grammar and vocabulary of Christian Latin are the same as the classical, Christian Latin authors emphasized the transmission of Christian truth, striving for clarity and simplicity above all else. Because Christian Latin is easier to read, it is the perfect gateway to the more difficult classical Latin of Caesar, Cicero, and Virgil.

And then she offers this compelling tidbit:

Need a short answer?
Mean Verbal SAT scores for 2006:

LATIN STUDENTS: 672
Spanish Students: 577
French Students: 637
German Students: 632
Hebrew Students: 623

Average for all students: 503

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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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Jun
16

Enchanting Chanting

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If you walk down the grammar school hallway at Regents, you will hear a lot of laughter and a lot of singing, repeating, and chanting. Children love to memorize, sing, chant, and repeat. Classical methodology capitalizes on these tendencies and emphasizes them.

Here is the Regents second grade class chanting the elements of design (part of the art curriculum) and the conjugation of the Latin verb “amo.” Also, the Regents third grade class chants the “to be” verb in Latin. Kudos to Mrs. Sowell for her excellent Latin instruction and to Mrs. Ashley Bryant for her creative art instruction.

May
14

Leftovers on the Whiteboard

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It’s the time of year a teacher begins to wonder whether or not everything’s been taught.  Sitting at my desk with a view of the whiteboard, I read the lengthy list of Latin verbs we dissected today.  My notes for our final paper are still on the board.  As we listed some main characters from the books we read this year, my students continued to express their awe of all they had completed this year.  Someone said, “That was this year!  I thought Estella happened last year!”  The names of Asian mountains, Pamirs and Tian Shan, are left on my board from the geography bee we enjoy holding at the end of the week.  Beautiful African maps that were colored and labeled by each student hang on my walls.  Piles of notebooks to be graded spill almost into the hallway.  One student, without stopping to think, called out the answer to the question about why Texas’ statehood was denied after we gained our independence from Mexico.

I’m hoping they’ve learned.  I’m hoping they’ve learned more of history, grammar and advanced mathematical procedures.  I’m hoping they’ve learned how to translate Latin sentences with relative ease.  I’m hoping they’ve learned how to get along in a world that isn’t always easy to deal with.  Most of all, I’m hoping they’ve learned that their sixth grade teacher loves them deeply!

Many people think the only difference between a millipede and a centipede is the number of legs. Since the Latin root centi- means one hundred and milli- means one thousand, centipedes must have one hundred legs and millipedes must have one thousand legs, right? Wrong. A centipede doesn’t even have fifty legs, and a millipede has nowhere near one thousand legs. Though, millipedes do have many more legs than centipedes.

There are some other notable differences as well. A centipede is flat and has only one pair of legs per body segment. A millipede is round and has two pairs of legs per body segment. A centipede is aggressive and fierce and is able to immobilize its prey with poisonous claws. A millipede is docile and slow. It eats vegetation and organic debris. And when threatened, it will roll up in a ball and hope its exoskeleton will be enough to protect it.

So, if you see a millipede, you have nothing to fear. But if you see a centipede, give it a wide berth. Its bite is painful to humans, though rarely dangerous.

Categories : latin education, science
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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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