In this day of computers, and the triumph of science and technology, when there is so much to learn and so little time, why study a dead language? Why not study something practical and useful? Like Spanish, for instance. Here are a few reasons why we learn Latin at Harper Bell:
1. Half of our words come from Latin!
We all understand the importance of phonics, the systematic study of the English letters and their sounds.
But phonics only covers half of our language, the English half, those good old concrete words that children learn to speak and read first. But then we stop, even though there is another half of English that has a whole new set of root words, spelling, and pronunciation patterns.
English, you see, is a hybrid language, a marriage of two languages—English and Latin. The name English comes from the Angles who, along with the Saxons and other barbarians, invaded Britain after the fall of Rome in the 5th century. English is a Germanic language and, the Germans being barbarians, had mostly concrete, common, everyday words, the words children learn to speak and read first in primary school.
But, beginning in year three, children start to encounter the Latin half of English. Latin words are bigger, harder, have more syllables, more abstract meanings, and different pronunciation and spelling patterns.
2. Aspiring for a university education
70 percent of independent schools offer Latin compared with only 16 per cent of state schools.
The 'classics' are indivisibly attached to class difference. No matter how many state schools take it up, Latin and Greek have historically been the preserve of fee-paying schools, Oxbridge candidates and, ultimately, the ruling elite. We may see the Roman and Greek world in television history programming and in blockbuster movies, but we read their words inscribed on the walls of buildings where power reside.
Key Documents: Latin
Our Languages Curriculum:
The curriculum includes segments on Classical culture (e.g. mythology, everyday life) and on the Latin language.
The Latin language component is designed specifically to support the grammar and syntax learning required at KS2, while bolstering literacy through an English-Latin etymological approach.
The curriculum incorporates multi-modal learning and games, and is differentiated for all abilities.