Reactions from the New York Times' article on the revival of Latin

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cicero Arpini natus; Puteolis autem mortuus est. Gens Tullia antiqua nobilitate equestri nota possidebat haud parvam rem familiarem. Cicero, qui nihil in re publica immutari volebat, continuo oderat se cum Mario, qui tunc celebrior erat, comparari.

There was an article a few days ago in the New York Times about the continued increase in the numbers of those learning Latin in the United States that I wrote about here, and there's been a certain amount of reaction among blogs and newspapers too. There have been at least 70 blog posts about the article, and at least two newspaper items here and here.

The comments on the original article are quite interesting as well. Here are some parts of a few of them:

From page one:
I took four years of Latin in a suburban NJ public high school in the early to mid-1970s...Now, years and years later, with my own children just beginning school, I am stunned to find that Latin is not (or is no longer being) offered in public schools in Florida -- or even private schools. I am hopeful this trend finds its way down to Florida in time to enrich my children's education.
Whereas Spanish is king - after all, it's been the planet's number-two language of late - and German is queen (it's the closest we have to offer to the Pennsylvania Dutch spoken in several of our neighboring counties), Latin is somewhat akin to the duke who has rented out his ancestral manse as a bed-and-breakfast and pawned the family jewels, but who still shows up for tea at court.
Page two:
Latin is a much-better choice for a second language than German or French. It's not just for law, medicine, or theology students. More than half of our words ultimately come from Latin.
in response to another comment:
Contrary to your belief, Latin words permiate the English language and I am certain that you use them everyday. Per capital, De facto, Caveat. Carpe Diem and Persona Non Grata and five that come to mind. But there are many more. Thus, my friend, your statement regarding Latin and its value, could be regarded as a non sequitur, at best.

...and a ton of other comments over four more pages, much more interesting than the spammy OFTEN ALL IN CAPS comments you'll usually find below a political article. Definitely worth reading.


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