Results of Page F30 reader poll on Latin ability

Friday, September 25, 2009

A week has passed and the poll has just ended, with a total of 72 responses. If this is at all representative of the population at large then this bodes well for the revival of Latin, as there is a quite shallow but very wide pool of knowledge of the language.

Here are the results:

Which best describes your experience with Latin?
I'm fluent in it and/or teach it to others.
3 (4%)
Not fluent but I'm pretty good at it.
4 (5%)
Used to be quite good, now somewhat rusty.
6 (8%)
Kind of okay at it and/or studying it at the moment
3 (4%)
I've studied it a bit in school or on my own.
21 (29%)
I plan to study it soon or eventually.
11 (15%)
I'm afraid of it.
5 (6%)
I'm not really interested in learning it.
19 (26%)

Votes so far: 72

Putting them all into a chart gives us this.

Now let's take the responses and combine them into some more general categories that directly apply to the potential success of a revival of Latin. The first two categories will be combined as good, the next three will be combined as average, the one after that will be will be average, then afraid and not interested.

That gives us 7 (10%) for good, 30 (42%) for average, 11 (15%) for will be average, 5 (7%) for afraid, and 19 (26%) for not interested.

Now the chart looks like this.

This is admittedly a poll given to readers of a blog with a large portion of it devoted to languages, but nevertheless it would be hard to find results like this with a number of other languages, even fairly large ones like Portuguese, Turkish, Russian or most others. The widespread, if shallow, knowledge of the language is a big plus for Latin. As detailed in the post linked above, the best way to try to revive it as a spoken language would be to pinpoint in which part of the world it has the most support per capita (I think the eastern US might be best for this, but other locations could suffice) and focus entirely on there, in the same way that a flame can be created with a magnifying glass even on a relatively cloudy day if a good enough location is chosen and one's hand is steady enough. Divide one's efforts though (going for two, three or more locations instead of one) and nothing noteworthy will come of it.

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