Benefits of Studying Latin


Marcus Aurelius' "To Himself" (that is, the Meditations) is originally written in Greek. Another great language to know.
It seems I'm forever a student...I'll do Greek after Latin.


Civis Illustris
I was hoping I'd get away with a sweeping statement. I think Harvard did have such a requirement at one point, and perhaps other early institutions, but I'm not sure when they abandoned it. I suppose I'm thinking more of the 20th century, and in particular the second half, when it simply wouldn't have been possible to take Latin at many otherwise good schools that dispatched pretty much their entire output to so-called good universities.
It is very worth remembering that Yale, Princeton Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, Brown, Williams, California (and how many others?) all required heaps of Latin at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Yale dropped its Latin entrance requirement in 1931. Latin was standard cultural equipment for learning, esp. "higher learning."

See Edwin Cornelius Broome, A historical and critical discussion of college admission requirements (U. of Michigan, 1903), 66.

Studying Latin helps in a special way to overcome a self-destructive presentism and self-dissolving ahistoricity. Why special? It connects us with a vast range of history more than other likely languages. English and Spanish, for example, reach back only so far. Latin goes farther, and more importantly, it gives us more direct understanding of much material of high cultural import.


Civis Illustris
My my ! feels good to be a Latinist after watching this.
Makes you realize we'd just have to get a bunch of them together to finally understand quantum gravity and we're too dumb to notice it.


Civis Illustris
Writing doesn't seem to go down nicely with most people nowadays. Unfortunately videos have replaced it - though it can sometimes be justified.
To sum up his idea (I was only referring to second vid) : learning Latin is language acquisition -> language acquisition is learning to learn new skills (any, really) -> Latin is the best language to do this (well except for Hebrew and Ancient Greek) since you need context to understand a single word of it and it's dead -> it'll make you an intellectual wonder, indeed Latin teaches logic, order, discipline, structure, precision -> God bless you.
I'm making a bit of a caricature of it, but that's a fair if rough outline. :D
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Civis Illustris
If I have the option between absorbing some information from either a video or a piece of writing, I nearly always choose the piece of writing. I can read a lot faster than I can watch.
Writing also allows for more critical potential. You'll get way more easily away with nonsense in a video. Just the simple difference in back-checking what you've read or seen is enormous, and vids can put the stress way too much on superficial and flashy effects, the more so when you've got nothing substantial to say, let alone rational...


Feles Curiosissima
That's true. To be fair, though, I tend to skim writing, so the final outcome may be rather the same. I do find that a video is more effective when the subject is something related to the sciences, since it becomes much easier to visualize what's going on when you can actually see the phenomenon they're discussing.


Civis Illustris
Staff member
If I have the option between absorbing some information from either a video or a piece of writing, I nearly always choose the piece of writing. I can read a lot faster than I can watch.
Me too. Also, my mind often wanders when I listen to people talk, especially recordings or the radio.