5 Reasons to Learn to Speak Latin

Benefits of Learning Latin

  • Prepare for learning other languages
  • Improve English grammar and expand vocabulary
  • Understand specialized terminology
  • Enhance brain functions
  • Strengthens the memory

Many view Latin as a dead language, but there are legitimate reasons that many schools and disciplines still require it. Even though it has not been spoken in a native capacity since Roman times, Latin is the origin of the 5 romance languages and the root of English. Speaking Latin is like learning the source of western culture, which unlocks many doors to the past and present.

See our ranking of the 30 Best Small Colleges for a Classical Education.

1. Prepare for Learning Other Languages

According to the Classical Academic Press, roughly 90 percent of vocabulary found in the 5 romance languages (Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Romanian) contain the Latin language. Learning to speak Latin is a perfect starting point for grasping these other languages. Tackling Latin first saves a lot of time as it is the root of other languages.

2. Improve English Grammar and Expand Vocabulary

English is derived from a mixture of Anglo-Saxon Germanic tribes and the Roman form of Latin. Although it has changed over the years from old English to middle English and finally modern-day English, it still has its Latin origins. Understanding these origins gives meaning to the spelling and grammar of each word. There is a scientific method behind the English language seen through the lens of Latin.

3. Understand Specialized Terminology

Latin is still very much alive in certain professions and in history books. Studying law, medicine, literature, art, philosophy, and history can be a challenge if Latin is not understood. By speaking and reading Latin, there are many opportunities to venture into other fields either as a career or as a hobby. It can also provide a better understanding of ancient terminology, so classic books and lost religions can be grasped. Latin truly is a scholarly language that transcends interdisciplinary subjects.

4. Enhance Brain Functions

Learning Latin can be compared to understanding mathematical equations. Roots of words can be solved into full words just like formulas into equations. Instead of numbers, Latin uses phonetics like vowels sounds and prefixes and suffixes to create complete words. This improves critical thinking skills and analysis as words begin to have new meanings just like a page of numbers to a mathematician. Words do not just have a practical meaning, they also have connections to other words that the mind can instantly associate with.

5. Strengthens the Memory

Knowing the history of a word gives one a background story or an image, which turns into an association. Looking at a word after learning Latin is like seeing a fingerprint, unique yet connected to an ancient relative. Making these connections automatically makes it easier to remember since every syllable has a past and a meaning. Words can change only slightly with the alteration of a prefix yet mean something entirely different. Keeping these small variations in the mind is an essential part of knowing Latin.

This extraordinary language enhances one's ability to learn throughout many disciplines while developing analytical skills. Speaking Latin may be dead, but learning Latin has more benefits than any other language.