Why Study Latin?

Beginning in the sixth grade, all students attending St. Johns Classical Academy will begin learning Latin. This language will be offered from 6th through 12th grades.   To graduate, two years of Latin in high school will be required. Since over half of  the words in the English language are derived from Latin, a strong background in Latin will benefit our students for a lifetime. Listed below are a few solid reasons for classical language study in our school.

The Civilization of Greece and Rome Link us with Cultures of 57 Nations on Four Continents
A background in the classical civilizations makes students aware of customs, values and ideas that we have in common with Eastern and Western Europeans, and with North and South Americans. Many concepts in government, religion, art, literature and economics are shared. This cultural kinship of nations underlies such modern alliances as NATO, the British Commonwealth, and the Common Market.

Acquaintance with Ancient Cultures Promotes Tolerance and Understanding of Other Nations and Ways of Life
Aware of the rich and varied culture of the Greeks and Romans, one is more likely to accept the differing customs and values of other peoples today. For in the study of ancient civilizations, one encounters exotic and extreme customs which were not static but evolved over the centuries. Familiar with diversity, change and longevity in one’s own culture, a person is more inclined to respect the views, ideologies, religions and economic systems of foreign peoples and to appreciate their rich age-old traditions.

Latin Develops English and Solid Foundation of Other Languages
One’s reading, writing, and speaking of English is improved through learning Latin. Vocabulary is enriched, grammar is sharpened and a sense of organization is instilled in the student.  Latin is the mother tongue of over 50% of all English words, so the study of Latin greatly enhances one’s English vocabulary. Often, just one Latin word is responsible for several English words. Take for example, the Latin word porto (“I carry”). From this word are derived port, portal, porter, porch, airport, import, important, transport, export, report, and portable. In this case one Latin word helps yield ten English words- a pretty good investment.Latin equips our students with the strongest single foundation for mastering Romance Languages, modern inflected ones such as Russian and German, and even non-related tongues like Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. In addition, Latin gives one a grip on about 80% of the vocabulary of the Romance languages – French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish.

Latin Improves College Entrance Exam Scores
Students who study Latin in high school consistently score high on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) college entrance exam than both students who have not studied any foreign language and students who have studied other modern foreign languages. Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT.