Monday, November 29, 2010

The Classical Roots of English

Hello, everybody!

Take a look at these expressions just for one minute: exempli gratia, anno domini, alumni, habeas corpus, annus horribilis, cogito ergo sum, coitus interruptus... UMMMMM what language am I writing in? In English, of course. The point is that all these Latin phrases are normally used in English and it is important to know them. However, this is not the only reason why one should learn Latin. In this post I will try to show you other advantages of these studies.

Let’s start by examining the vocabulary. Depending on the situation between 40 and 90 percent of English words derives from Latin. In an everyday conversation, full of phrasal verbs, we will have 40%. In a novel we will have 60% and in a book of medicine 90%. I think these data speak loud, don’t they?

Right, let’s move on the orthography (spelling). Given the fact that lots of words come from Latin and that English is very respectful with the Latin spelling, it’s glaringly obvious that your writing will improve necessarily. I have here some examples to show you: adventure, offer, vulture, which are written
aventura, ofrecer, buitre/voitre in Spanish or Galician (all of them from Latin adventura, offerre, vulture).

Ok, before moving on to the last point, let me remind you that in Spanish we say: "ése sabe latín", meaning that he must be a clever one. This is due to fact that it is scientifically proven that Latin improves your logical reasoning skills, as chess or maths do.

And finally I’d like to turn to the most practical reason. Through Latin you will be able to learn quickly French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and other Romance languages. Doesn’t it enhance your social and economic opportunities in this globalized world?

So, to sum up, I have spoken about 4 crucial reasons to learn Latin. First, to improve your vocabulary. Second, to improve your spelling. Third, to improve your logical reasoning skills and understanding how language works. Finally, to have the opportunity of learning quickly some of the most important and most widely spoken languages in the world.

Right, let’s stop here to listen to these interesting words of the Merriam-Webster's editor about the Classical Roots of English (English subtitles available, just click on "Choose Language"):