Wednesday, 2 March 2011

RE:Dead languages in a dead school system (Greek/Latin why?)

I recently read a blog post about greek and latin being in our school system and how it seems not to benefit us in the long run: link here. Now I must say I don't agree at all..having been taught both greek and latin at school and being of greek decent myself I've always been told that learning these dead languages have their benefits. I always thought that was a cliche teachers told students to guilt them into studing USELESS MATERIAL... However, I don't think anyone can deny the fact that learning Greek and Latin makes it much easier to learn many modern European languages, exactly because these were so heavily influenced by  these classical , often named "dead" languages. And I can confidently state that latin helped quite a lot in learning french and it has also helped me in understanding my OWN languague. In fact, learning Greek and Latin is a great way to improve vocabulary skills and they also help us guess at the meanings of words that we don’t know (both in English and in other languages). While I doubt that most of us would know the meaning of the English word “somniloquy”, if we know that in Latin, “somnus” means sleep and “loqui” means “to speak”, we can correctly guess that “somniloquy” means “talking in your sleep”. Now how is that not beneficial? In addition,  i  know for a fact thhat knowledge of classical languages allows us to understand the real meanings of texts which are the foundation to Western philosophy, literature, religion, theatre, and law and our western culutre in general. Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle laid the foundations for all of western philosophy. Lastly, I would say that actually studing these ancient greek and latin texts exposes us to a new way of thinking, often ground breaking... So these are my thoughts on this subject...sorry for going a bit off the topic about what our blog is suppose to be but I'd really like to read your thoughts on this matter!

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't saying it doesn't have its benefits to be taught these languages, it's just I don't like the way it is shoved down our throats. I mean if it's a choice ok. It is good for knowing the roots of our languages indeed, so why do we have to learn the whole grammar and syntaxtiko when we could just learn the etymology part? In fact, in class we do no etymology whatsoever, only if it crops up do they explain anything or we figure it out ourselves.
    The main reason ancient greek is taught is to "combat" the "evil force of greeklish" as that is why they added more hours of it, but they don't understand that discourages people and puts them off their language. Greek is spoken today, proper greek, not ancient greek and to be completely stupid, I'm going to say "like we don't know the roots of our languages are in the ancient form of it."
    It is always good to know the roots of our language definitely, preferably as a choice, but even if not, I should not be kept out of law school or any school that demands it for that matter of fact, when it has no practical use whatsoever today, and even if it does, just translate the damn papers into the language that is spoken widely TODAY!
    That's just Greece though, always living in the past. The language is only a sign of that. Instead of everything being written in a language people understand, we're surpose to spend six hours a week learning an unspeakable language for that. That's just Greece. I hate living here.