Top 4 Benefits of Taking Latin in High School

By Maureen Leming

Ever heard the phrase "Latin is a dead language" and wondered why it's still taught in schools?
As it turns out, Latin is far from dead — it continues to vibrantly shape the way we learn and speak languages across the world! 

From expanding your English vocabulary and improving your critical thinking skills, to boosting your Scrabble game and even deepening your Harry Potter trivia, the Latin language has countless benefits to offer students today!

The Benefits of Taking Latin

Can studying a language in high school that’s not currently spoken anywhere in the world benefit your life in any tangible way? At The Hun School of Princeton, we say it certainly can! 

Latin can:

  1. Improve your English vocabulary
  2. Deepen your communication skills
  3. Enhance critical thinking
  4. Give you a new perspective on language

Students in our Latin classes experience many advantages, from the way they think about language to the way they view the world at large.

1. Latin Can Improve Your English Vocabulary

Much of the English language stems from Latin. These origins go beyond vocabulary and include grammatical rules, too. A firm foundation in Latin will help you learn new words while improving your English grammatical and structural knowledge. You'll likely find yourself speaking, writing, and reading with more confidence in your other classes as a result.

Beyond expanding your vocabulary, learning Latin can help you decipher new words quickly in the future. If you go on to study law or medicine, for example, you'll find it easier to identify complex phrases or words by their Latin roots.

2. Latin Can Deepen Your Communication Skills

Ever have that moment when you're struggling to find the perfect word to express a thought or feeling? You might be surprised to learn that learning Latin could be the cure. Studying this foundational language will help you understand the real meaning of words in a whole new way.

By strengthening your foundation, you may notice that you can communicate more effectively and accurately. This can help you in your relationships as well as your academics.

3. Latin Can Enhance Your Critical Thinking

A Latin class is the linguistic equivalent of a visit to the gym. You'll get a thorough mental workout — and over time, you'll build impressive mental muscles. Studying Latin requires you to build various skills, including precision, attention to detail, and patience. The more you practice, the easier these skills will become — and the more you'll be able to transfer them to other subjects and classes.

4. Latin Can Give You a New Perspective On Language

Words don't exist in a vacuum — they're shaped by the culture and history around them. Studying Latin will introduce you to many fascinating concepts. Through the study of this ancient language, you'll also take a deep dive into history and politics, and see firsthand how the etymology of each word has morphed over time into the language we use today.  

Practical, Real World Applications of Latin

Latin may not have any immediate tangible application — but it has value in countless practical ways! From navigating other classes to understanding the world at large, learning Latin can have a tremendous impact on your success both inside and outside of school.

Still wondering, "why should I take Latin?" Here are four concrete ways it can pay off both in and out of the classroom.

Learning Other Languages Easily

Hoping to master a popular world language down the road? Studying Latin can drastically improve your language learning skills. English isn't the only language that draws from Latin — other Romance languages, including French, Italian, and Spanish, all derive from Latin roots.

A strong foundation in Latin will help you in your study of many other languages.

Improving Your English Language Skills and SAT Scores

We can all admit that English grammar doesn't always make a whole lot of sense. Even if you're a native speaker, it can often be tricky to remember the irregular rules that make up our grammar and vocabulary. When you learn Latin, you'll have a handy set of tips and tricks that you can apply to your English writing and reading every day. 

Let's take the word "soliloquy" as an example. This might trip you up on an exam — unless you've got an understanding of Latin in your back pocket. Soliloquy stems from two Latin roots, including "sol" (alone) and "loqu" (to speak). With a Latin foundation, you'll be able to identify the correct meaning of unfamiliar words in no time.

When you become a better English speaker, you'll likely see incredible, practical payoff, like improved SAT scores and impressive college papers.

Gaining a Big Picture View of the World

At Hun, our Latin classes go far beyond the semantics of the language. Our students are immersed in an engaging classics and civics lesson that transports them back in time. You'll learn about the history and politics that surround the Latin language, and how every component connects to the democratic structure we know today.

As a result, you'll discover how each small detail works together to form the bigger picture. This understanding can spill over to many other classes, from social studies and government to world geography.

Learning How to Analyze Context Clues

Learning how to think analytically is a life skill you'll use everywhere, from the classroom to the professional world. In a Latin class, you'll have to adapt to analyzing context as well as words. You won't just learn a language — you'll learn how to learn. The potential applications for this skill are virtually limitless!

Understanding Harry Potter (Yes- this is important!)

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, Latin can definitely make this series more interesting! Did you know that many of the unforgettable spells in the Harry Potter universe — like "Lumos" and "Expelliarmus" — are direct translations of Latin words? [~Light and ~Disarming]  With some linguistic knowledge under your belt, even your reading,  movie nights, and trivia nights can be much more fun!

Discover the Benefits of Learning Latin at The Hun School of Princeton

Latin may not be the perfect fit for every student, but it can certainly benefit everyone in some way. 

At The Hun School of Princeton, you'll have the opportunity to learn Latin in an interactive environment under the guidance of experienced teachers. Discover the ways this formative language has shaped the world — and experience the way it can benefit many areas of your life — at The Hun School.

Interested in learning more about Hun? Reach out to us today!