If you are interested in Ancient History, or Western Medieval Studies, or some other similar field, or in an academic program that demands it, then Latin is a “no-brainer.” What about for the rest of San Franciscans…what’s the point?
First: Study of another language in general is an excellent way to focus your mind, and learn how another culture thinks, feels, and acts. In this case, it is the Roman Culture, one of the major underpinnings of most of Western Cultures and Nations. Every country that has the Eagle and the Fasces as its symbols, and builds its monuments and governmental edifices in the Roman style (think: SF City Hall), is essentially proclaiming that it is an heir to Rome. Rome is closer to our everyday lives than we may realize. English and other modern language literatures are constantly referring back to Ancient Rome.
Second: Latin Literature, spanning the centuries from early Rome (ca. 8th Century BCE) to Renaissance Western Europe and beyond, is rich, funny, insightful, and truly runs the gamut of human life and experience. Any literature is best read in the original, as the old saying goes: “A Translator is a Traitor.” It’s just a good read. And then too, if you can read materials in the original, you are no longer dependent on the “authorities,” who tell us what our ancestors said (and often selectively quote them).
Third: For English speakers, whose language is structured rather differently, Latin is a very accessible first foray into a highly inflected language (technically called Fusion Languages). It is written in letters we know, and pronounced exactly as it is written. It stretches your mind to learn a rather different way of structuring a language.
Fourth: To counterbalance the third point of Latin’s distinction from English, one should consider that many studies indicate that in our modern English vocabulary, approximately 50% of our words have their origin either directly from Latin, or through French, from Latin. Thus the student will find many cognates (words that have similar forms and meanings) between Latin and English. Latin is a great way to build your understanding of English vocabulary.
Finally, it is doable! Students of all ages have been learning Latin for over two and a half thousand years. We have–and I use–many traditional and modern resources, including the web, to make the learning multi-dimensional. With the materials I use, the student will begin reading actual short Latin inscriptions, graffiti, and texts from week one (and often, day-one), as well as traditional ‘test book” sentences and passages.
Enhance your experience of an Heir of Rome! Contact me for a Free Consultation.
Why Study Classical or Koine Greek?
Many of the same advantages that accrue from the study of Latin, also result from studying one of the ancient forms of Greek. Let’s spend time looking at the unique study experience of Classical or Koine Greek.
First, Greek Culture inspired the Romans, and eventually the Roman Empire became a Greek-speaking Empire, especially after the transfer of the capital to Constantinople in the 320s until 1453. Classical Greek is the period of the great Philosophers and Playwrights. Koine Greek is a slightly simpler form of the language as it spread throughout much of the world as Alexander the Great Hellenized Egypt, the Middle East, Central Asia and North India. Koine is the Greek of the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, made in late 2nd Century BCE Alexandria. It is also the language of the Christian New Testament and much of early Christian literature and liturgy.
Second, although Greek is written in different letters from English (which uses the Latin alphabet), they are fairly similar, and easily learned. The Greek alphabet is the ancestor of all Cyrillic scripts (Bulgarian, Slavonic, Russian, etc.). Pronunciation is regular, and spelling is logical, once you learn the rules. It is highly inflected, like Latin, but has an article (“a” or “the”) which makes reading much easier.
Third: Greek Literature is rich and deep. The Greeks filtered much of the ancient wisdom from Egypt, Eastern and Northern Shamanism, and the Mystery Schools, in ways to be disseminated throughout the West.
I use up-to-date teaching materials which incorporate the best of traditional and modern learning strategies. I won’t kid you, learning Greek will be work, but it is well worth it. Let’s have a Free Consultation to talk about it!
Why Study French or Spanish?
The reasons for learning these modern foreign languages is perhaps more easily understood. French is an important international language, and a cultural force in the world. And Spanish…well for us here in now 50%+ Hispanic ancestry California, it makes a great deal of sense. Spanish is also the most widely dispersed language in the world. While French shares strange spellings/pronunciation with English, Spanish is spelled and pronounced perfectly logically, and is known as one of the easiest languages to get a basic knowledge of. For both these Romance Languages, think of the Menus you will be able to read, and the countries to travel to! Contact me!
Why Study English?
The answer to this depends on your situation.
If you are a foreign student studying here, or a recent immigrant (Welcome!), it’s a necessity for getting ahead in our City and Country.
For those who have some English already, I can help you read and write more like a native-speaker.
For Native Speakers of English, I can help you refine your grasp of your own language, and supplement what you learned–or didn’t learn–in school, with programs tailored exactly to your needs, be they writing skills, public speaking, grammar, editing, etc.
Let’s set up a Free Consultation to asses your needs, and what I can do for you!
If you are interested in in-person tutoring, editing, or consulting sessions in San Francisco or online from anywhere, book a free preliminary online session and I will contact you.