In my freshman year at Cathedral High School for Girls, Sister Fredericka told us that studying Latin would teach us to think. I didn´t quite get it at the time even after four years studying the dead language. However, these past decades spent observing the dumbing down of Americans make me wish that Latin had become a required subject in public schools. The process of deep thinking is no longer being applied to many areas of our lives, politics being just one. Sportscasters like Bob Costas could have benefited from my teacher because he sure wasn´t thinking deeply
Bottomline...there are no Conservative Messiah´s to fix this...Conservatives will have to fix this ourselves...one brain at a time...also we will HAVE TO GO to the uncool places...Colbert, Letterman, Leno etc and make our case to the dumbdown viewers...Ronald Reagan could do this as a former actor...future Conservatives must do this too..
Took Latin in HS and loved it and my teacher, Sister Seneca. I guess you can tell from her name that she was a rather big fan of a language that has had relevance all my life, including taking the SATs, learning French and Spanish in college, virtually anything language related, and what isn´t. So much for a "dead" language. As for dumbing down America, how can we expect intelligent adults when so many teachers are incompetent. I simply don´t grok incurious people.
As required by school system, I took Latin I, passed it on the second try, ditto Latin II. Learned enough to get 100% on the medical terminology component of a massive skills test given to entry-level legal secretaries back in the day.
Agree that Latin should be a pre-requisite for learning English.
Reply 9 - Posted by:
The Architect, 12/13/2012 8:26:16 AM (No. 9063049)
The extent of my knowledge of Latin comes from my days as an altar boy, which will give you an idea of how old I am. My second daughter took Latin in high school and loved it. She can pretty much understand most Western European languages because it is the basis for all of them. It also came in handy when she took the MCAT exams for medical school.
´´Many years ago I watched the Johnny Carson show when he had author Truman Capote as a guest. On that occasion he made the comment that actors were dumb. When challenged by Carson, he reiterated his comment and said that the better they were, the dumber.´´
Watch a Robert DiNero interview to confirm this sad fact. OMG. He is a great character actor because he has none of his own and dons a character much like a winter coat...
Latin has little to do with the problem. Liberalism is the problem. We actually had a teacher in the 4th grade who read the Bible in the morning opening exercises! Oh the humanity! We had Christmas parties in school, said the pledge, even prayed in a public school. Oh the horror! Yet that generation did not crumble and unlike folks interviewed on the streets by Jay Leno, we knew in which country where the Panama Canal and Mississippi River were. I´m not even sure people coming out of most inner city schools or California schools know who George Washington is or how to put a condom on a banana correctly!
If you love Latin - you must get yourself two "fun" books: Latin for All Occasion (Lingua Latina Occasionibus Omnibus) and Latin for Even More Occasions (Lingua Latina Multi Pluribus Occasionibus), by Henry Beard (Henricus Barbatus).
Perhaps more important than the fact that we don´t teach Latin is the fact that we don´t teach Logic. Students are taught ´how to think´ or ´what to think´ but not ´to think´. This is a national tragedy.
I think there is a downside to having studied two years of latin in high school. It makes one aware of language to the point of being painfully alert to bozos who don´t know the difference between lose and loose, or the correct past tense of plead.
Without it, I too would have still been aware that bob costas is a moron.
This is a mess we shall not be able to vote ourselves out of. The tsunami of fuliginous voters will forever overwhelm those of European descent. The die has been cast. We can solve any problem save one: the destruction of our people. That, my friends, has been accomplished.
FTA: "Education is the only way to stop this dumbing down of Americans. Too bad there are no more Sister Frederickas around. " Thank God we still have Sister Alicia! Loved all four years of H.S. Latin, and it was a big help in a Bio major, and on the MCAT. Even helped me learning German. Although G. is an non-Romance language, the intense grammar of Latin paved the way for understanding German grammar.
She´s right but I am afraid it´s over. We lost. Thank God, He is eternal even as America is temporal. Capote was wrong about actors. They aren´t any smarter or any dumber than anyone else but that´s the problem. The great majority of people are incredibly dumb which is why we should have continued as a constitutional republic and not a democracy. But equality as swallowed liberty and....it´s over.
Reply 33 - Posted by:
O.S. Banker, 12/13/2012 11:14:06 AM (No. 9063426)
I grew up Southern Baptist in a small town in Missouri. There was also a substantial Catholic congregation and due to the German heritage a sizeable Lutheran Congregation, but suffice it to say that Latin was not one of the foreign language options of my high school curriculum. I have over the years picked up a few useful phrases in Latin and Yiddish. Would I have benefited from a more formailzed study? Most certainly. However, my grandfather, with an 8th grade education was one of the most conservative individual you could have met. He was a dirt under the nails farmer his entire life. His source of reading pleasure consisted of technical manuals and livestock publications.
Yet he could concisely explain the fallacy of any social welfare program. ´It wasn´t earned so it won´t be valued by the recipient. Since it was distributed rather than given, it is not cherished by the supplier. It is a waste of both resource and benefit and will lead to the ruin of all.´
So I guess I am with the previous posters in that what is needed is good common sense. The formal education just stimulates the mind for additional activity.
It´s really sad to see so many intelligent people today misuse words like your and you´re, there and their, etc, etc. It´s sad because it´s not their fault. They simply did not get a decent education in our Government schools.
It was different in my era. First the Sisters and Mother Superior pounded Latin, much of it in the form of Roman History, into me for 8 years. Then I had to take it in High School because the Latin teacher was a family friend. It was not a waste of time. It´s amazing how many times I find myself using what little I remember figuring out a phrase in Spanish, Italian or some other language. So many, many words in the Romance languages have Latin (or Greek) roots. Or I often recognize or am able to translate a Latin phrase on th fly.
I only wish I had paid more attention to my English teachers. My English grammar and punctuation leave a lot to be desired. But then, as I once use to say in a lame attempt to excuse my ignorance, that´s what secretaries are for.
One more thing. Here is a quote from Cicero that seem very appropriate 2000 years later: "Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum." In English it is: "Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system."
#36, I will find the book you recommend. Even as a woman with an advanced degree, my grammar needs a brush up. I do find that having taken Latin all the way through my Catholic school years, misspelled words anywhere bug me!
Latin is a mother language. It is the primer for grammar and parts of speech. We have been slowly introducing Latin to our son in homeschool. That and a solid foundation in the father of all science, math, will do more good when developing the brains of children than anything else in the lexicon of education.
I have often wondered if those "man in the street" interviews showing giggling twenty-somethngs who were unable to answer even basic questions about news or government were cherry picked for shock value, or if the young folk were all just putting the reporter on. I am beginning to think that in fact the majority of twenty-somethings are in fact pig-ignorant airheads. This article pushes me further in that direction of thought. But as the younger generation would say, "whatever!"
I had 2 years of Latin in school and loved it. I never considered it a dead language since knowing Latin still helps me figure out the meaning of words without going to the dictionary. Also enjoyed English class; I was known for diagraming sentences for fun. Wonder if they still teach that? (What am I thinking??) To this day I can´t stand it when anyone ends a sentence in a preposition! OY!!
#44 - I also thought diagraming sentances was fun, and have the same aversion to sentances ending in a preposition.
Our great education system was infested and overrun by the marxists pigs, and thinking was suppressed. Once again world events will overwhelm us, the social system will shatter, and the survivors will put the pieces back together some day. The "Dark Ages.2" are straight ahead.
Latin, shmatin. The self appointed heavy thinkers who happened to take latin and post on this site sure grabbed onto that tidibt of enlightenment. You can have the most sophisticated educational curricula available and still sit in the back row and throw spit balls. If parents don´t have control on their kids and what the teachers are providing you will end up with a liberal fool.
Simply studying any language will help with grammar. I´ve studied Arabic for 14 years, much more useful than Latin. It´s a different way of looking at the world, like studying any foreign language is. A previous poster had it right: simply teach kids to think, to question what they are learning, to see if it makes sense.
#44... our homeschool grammar curriculum is heavy on diagramming sentences. We use a ton of memorization and repetitive learning. This type of learning is critical in the "Grammar Stage" of the Trivium, the way Western human civilization educated our young for thousands of years with much success. It has also been a great refresher for myself as well as this is how school was done when I was young. There is hope, but it will not be found in public schools.
LBJ, Ted Kennedy. The first created the great handout AND destroyed lower class families in the process. The odious Kennedy couldn´t get everything he wanted so he declared that he will simply overwhelm the system with proles from anywhere. He has won, because somehow the ´loyal opposition´ was too weak or corrupt to stop him. Now we have a culture of absolutely no shame. A feral world of obnoxious, political correct, maniacs who destroy anything that demands achieved standards. I see no leader, no movement that beat back the demonic forces that brainwash the masses into thinking they are ´special´ instead of failures. New Dark Ages is unfortunately, pretty accurate.
People are not taught critical thinking anymore. I never took Latin, but I certainly can figure out most of it. My mother was the greatest influence in my life and from her I learned that the ability to think (and think critically) was the MOST important thing one could have in life. That is why those backwoods survivalists didn´t need to be educated to do well. Yes, formal education is good and necessary for a functioning modern society, but it´s even more important that people use their brains as more than just a tape recorder.
Agree with what was said above. Especially with #22´s recommendations. Hilarious.
I studied German and French in school, then discovered Latin. If I´d taken Latin first, both French and German would have been much easier.
I´d even be in favor of learning Latin as a requirement for graduating from high school. The language, just by its very structure, forces you to think.
Heck, learning Latin would be a good thing for illegal aliens. Most of them (around CA anyway) don´t even know how to read Spanish. Learn to read and write Latin and reading and writing Spanish will come very easily.
Finally, I agree that the most important thing to learn in school is critical thinking. If you know how to think critically, you´ll find it easy to separate the wheat from the chaff in all the "news" stories you read.
For all the non-critical-thinkers out there, an Ambrose Bierce quote is very appropriate: "Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum" "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am".
This is a good article from Alicia. Keep in mind that liberals thrive on shallow. They use slogans to shout down their opponents - the typical modus operandum of those who don´t want their views examined more closely.
Liberalism is all in the saying and the pushing. Just say anything and push it. Push, push, push.
It is the extraordinary success of modern Western civilization and technology that make liberal fantasy ideology possible. The sharp and unyielding edges of reality -yes, Virginia, there IS such a thing as reality!- are seemingly suspended, leaving people without the traditional boundaries and navigational markers. Never in the history of the world have so many had it so good, so easy, so safe, and so convenient as modern Westerners have it today. But the lack of real adversity slows emotional maturation and stunts character. It is easier and more pleasant to feel and to fantasize than to learn and to think carefully. Liberalism is feel-good fantasy ideology. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Make love not war. If it feels good, do(or think or say) it. Free love. Free health care. Free everything. What´s not to like about a deal like that?
But it is all a dream. Modern liberals and those Americans who listen to them are like sleepwalkers. Alas, it seems that the sleep of reason does produce monsters. Yet if there is to be an awakening and a return to reason, it may just be that the monsters are the only thing to cause it. Their tread is still faint, but they are on their way. The dream cannot last forever.
My work involves the analyses of Roman literature, and it´s incredibly difficult to understand what its writers are saying if you stick to a lot of the printed translations. A lot of these are looked at in too much of a modern socio-political context, and, as such, are made to mean what today´s audience want to hear. Oh, that we could have their frankness in the modern political arena.
Since I know Alicia Colon sometimes posts here, I´ll take this opportunity to thank her for another great column.
I, too, studied Latin. I didn´t love it, but it was valuable knowledge that I´m glad to this day that I acquired.
Consider, also, that it might not only be learning Latin that so helped all of us get an education. It was going to schools that thought it appropriate to include demanding subjects like Latin in the curriculum--and expecting all of us to learn it, no matter what socio-economic group we came from.
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