Why Learn Latin? Top 10 Reasons

November 1, 2023
5 min read

Why learn Latin? It’s a simple question students interested in expanding their linguistic abilities ask. To find the answers to this question and more, read on!

Carpe Diem, it’s a popular proverb you’ve likely heard before. It’s intended to urge you to make the most out of the present moment, shed your inhibitions, and live life to its fullest. In Latin, it translates to “seize the day” and is only one of many popular Latin proverbs used in day-to-day conversations. 

Aside from its catchy sayings, Latin is one of the oldest languages spoken. It is a precursor to many romantic languages, such as French, Spanish, and Romanian, and heavily influenced English.

As such, it was not only the dominant language spoken during the Roman Empire but continues to be a dominant language through the various languages, including English, that it influenced. 

So, whether you want to return to our Western roots or become bilingual, this guide will share 10 reasons to learn Latin and answer your frequently asked questions about this language!

Top 10 Reasons to Learn Latin

Other than the simple reason for learning a new language to acquire a new skill, here are 10 reasons you should learn Latin!

1. Provides a Foundation For Romantic Languages

One of the most compelling reasons to learn Latin is so that you can learn other related languages! If you’re interested in learning French or Spanish, two of the most common languages students learn, knowing Latin will make this process much easier, as Latin heavily influenced both languages.

Learning Latin will give you a solid foundation in these languages' structure, vocabulary, and grammar! 

2. To Improve Your English

It may seem surprising that mastering one language can enhance your proficiency in another, but it’s true! Since many English words have Latin roots, learning Latin will expand your English vocabulary. Many difficult words can be easily broken down by simply deciphering their Latin roots. 

3. To Learn English Grammar

It’s argued that learning Latin is the most efficient way to learn English grammar. English grammar is particularly difficult to teach. However, Latin grammar is more concrete–it has the most orderly, structured, and consistent grammar. 

By learning how to use Latin grammar and comparing it to English, students can hone their English grammar better and have a deeper understanding of sentence structure. 

4. To Enhance Your Academic and Professional Profile

students throwing graduation caps in air

When applying to college and entering your profession, having Latin on your resume can help you stand out and make you a more attractive candidate. Latin can boost your intellectual versatility and is often associated with academic rigor.

It has a large presence in specialized fields such as law and medicine, making it a valuable asset to have proficiency in it when pursuing advanced degrees or professional paths!

5. To Help Increase Your Cognitive Skills

A basic answer to the question “why learn Latin?” is that it will help you develop your cognitive skills. Its complex grammar will improve analytical thinking, attention to detail, and logical reasoning. Mastering Latin can sharpen your problem-solving abilities and enhance your overall language proficiency. 

Latin's precise structure and meticulous conjugations will also help you hone your discipline, patience, and perseverance! Learning a language is no easy feat, so being able to dedicate the time and effort to do so will invariably also help you improve your time management skills.

6. To Discover Latin Literature

Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of reading, learning Latin will open up a new literary world. Many of the greatest works of Western literature were written in Latin, spanning various genres and periods. 

Learning Latin gives you direct access to original, classical texts to experience their nuances. Whether you’re interested in epic poetry, the philosophical theories of Cicero, or the dramatic plays of Seneca, Latin enables you to engage with these timeless works in their authentic form!

You may gain more perspective and philosophical insight by learning Latin. Latin texts offer a broader perspective on the human condition, morality, politics, love, and various aspects of life. Being exposed to these perspectives can help foster a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities of human existence!

7. To Learn Our History 

ancient Roman statue

Since you’ll be able to read various Latin texts, you’ll also be exposed to many aspects of Roman history and culture, much of which continue to influence our current society. 

Learning Latin will open a gateway to the past, allowing you to connect with the roots of Western civilization and understand the origins of many social, political, and artistic practices that continue to shape our world!

8. For Confidence and Personal Growth

Learning this language is no walk in the park, but conquering it will be a major confidence booster! Stepping out of your comfort zone and mastering this complex language will make you a better speaker, reader, and writer. Once you've tackled Latin's intricacies, English will feel like a piece of cake!

9. To Help You Ace Your SATs

Learning Latin is said to provide significant advantages when tackling the SATs. One key area where Latin proficiency can benefit SAT takers is vocabulary. Latin learners develop a deeper understanding of word roots, prefixes, and suffixes, making it easier to decipher and comprehend unfamiliar words on the SAT.

Latin can also enhance reading comprehension skills. Studying Latin literature and philosophy can improve students' ability to comprehend complex passages, identify main ideas, and answer questions effectively on the SAT reading comprehension section.

This language also has rigorous grammar and syntax rules that provide a solid foundation for understanding language structures. The knowledge of Latin grammar helps students effectively communicate their ideas. These skills are vital for performing well on the SAT's problem-solving tasks and analytical writing section.

Some experts argue the benefits of knowing Latin go beyond the writing and reading sections of the SATs and even help students score higher on the Math section!

10. For Personal Satisfaction

Female student smiling with thumb up

Finally, learning Latin will give you a unique and profound sense of satisfaction. Delving into this ancient language and unlocking its mysteries fosters a deep connection to the history, culture, and intellectual traditions that span centuries. 

Knowing how to decipher Latin texts, piece together the meanings of words, and understand the grammar and syntax will give you a great sense of accomplishment!

Learning the language will also open the door to a rich world of knowledge, allowing for engagement with the thoughts and ideas of the past and an appreciation for the language's beauty, complexity, and endurance!

FAQs: Why Learn Latin

So, now that you have a few answers to the inquiry “why learn Latin?” you should be convinced to give Latin a chance! If you still have hesitations or concerns, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about this language.

1. Is There Any Benefit to Learning Latin?

Yes, there are numerous benefits to learning Latin! It will enhance your English vocabulary and grammar skills and improve your written and spoken communication. It will also offer new perspectives and access to a wealth of classical literature, philosophy, and historical texts.

It will expand your cultural horizons, offering insights into ancient Roman society and sharpening your critical and analytical thinking skills, time management, and logical reasoning. These combined skills can enhance your academic and professional profile and help you score higher on the SATs!

2. Why Do People Still Teach Latin?

Contrary to popular belief, Latin is not an ancient relic of the past! Latin is a strong foundation for learning other Romance languages and can help students gain a better grasp of the grammar, vocabulary, and language structures of various languages, including English! 

Latin also holds immense cultural and historical significance, connecting students with the rich heritage of Western civilization. It allows students to engage with classical literature, philosophy, and scientific works that they would otherwise never be able to experience! 

3. What Career Is Latin Useful For?

Latin can be useful in many careers: in the legal field, understanding Latin terminology is valuable for comprehending legal vocabulary and concepts; in medicine, Latin roots are found in many medical terms; and in the humanities, Latin's connection to literature and art provides a solid foundation in the classics that are so often alluded to.  

Additionally, the critical thinking, analytical reasoning, attention to detail, and linguistic proficiency you’ll gain from learning Latin can make you a desirable candidate in any field! 

4. Is Latin a Difficult Language to Learn?

Like any language, learning Latin requires dedication and effort. While it has its complexities, such as grammar rules and verb conjugations, its highly structured nature makes it easier to grasp than more irregular languages. 

Regardless, with the right resources, guidance, and consistent practice, learning Latin can be an enjoyable and rewarding journey!

5. Is Latin Still Spoken?

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to impress your friends or family by speaking Latin with locals when you travel to Rome this summer. Latin is no longer spoken as a native language in any country. However, it continues to have an important role in various contexts.

It is still used as the official language of the Vatican City, where it serves as the language of the Roman Catholic Church and is used in official documents and ceremonies. Latin also plays a significant role in academia, particularly in the study of classics, history, theology, and literature. 

6. How Long Does it Take to Learn Latin?

The time it takes to learn Latin will depend on many factors, such as your prior language learning experience, the amount of time you dedicate to studying, and your desired level of proficiency. For some learners, it can take less than a year to become proficient in Latin, while for others, it takes several years!

However, remember that learning a language is an ongoing process! Please focus on the journey rather than the destination to make the most of your experience. 

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve thoroughly answered the question “why learn Latin?”, we leave you with the question, “what are you waiting for?” It’s time to Carpe Diem and begin your linguistic journey to learning one of the oldest yet most useful languages!

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