[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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