[EDLING:70] Maine: Schools see resurrection of student interest in 'dead language'

Francis M. Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 1 01:50:57 UTC 2007

Portland Press Herald

Schools see resurrection of student interest in 'dead language'

Latin is called a "dead language" because no one speaks it as a native tongue 
anymore. The language of ancient Rome still is taught in Maine classrooms, 
however, and teachers and students say Latin lives on because it remains so 
relevant in the 21st century.

"It's a zombie language. It's kind of undead," explained Paul Bayley, 16, a 
Scarborough High School junior who eagerly joined his classmates last week in 
translating and discussing a battle scene passage from the "Aeneid" by Virgil 
in a Latin class. "It's awesome. You learn so much."

Teachers and students say studying Latin today helps with everything from 
figuring out the meaning of the spells in Harry Potter books to laying a 
foundation for acquiring other languages. They also believe that Latin helps 
boost SAT scores, because learning Latin involves logic and reasoning and 
provides a better understanding of English vocabulary and grammar.

Such benefits have led to a "mini-resurgence" in Latin in Maine schools since 
the 1990s, according to Benjamin Johnson, president-elect of the Maine 
Classical Association, a professional organization for educators.

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