Latin Instruction, Part III

Since our school’s patron is famous for completing the Latin translation of the Bible (known as the Vulgate), it only seems fitting that we at St. Jerome would pause to dwell on the importance of Latin for three posts.


A seventh-grader pauses in front of an image of St. Jerome in his study.

 Over the last two weeks we have explored how Latin connects us back to the Faith, how it trains the mind and makes other learning easier, and how it provides an excellent foundation in grammar. 

Here are three further benefits of learning Latin.

Although Latin can get the reputation as having little use in the job market, it shouldn’t.  Latin instruction is actually great career preparation.  Learning Latin introduces students to the core vocabulary of many fields.  The base words in the sciences, law, medicine, government and theology are derived from Latin.  Other benefits of Latin also channel into its usefulness for careers—the brain training and foundation in grammar that comes from Latin studies would undoubtedly help someone on any career path.

Studying Latin also prepares students for further language studies.  In addition to laying a strong foundation in grammar, Latin paves the way for future language-learning because it is the root of so many modern languages.   Most of the of the vocabulary used in the Romance languages—Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian—is derived from Latin.

Finally, learning Latin can also boost standardized test scores.  Because so many English words have Latin roots, knowing Latin is one proven way to increase performance on the vocabulary portion of standardized tests. 

So is Latin a dead language?  It hardly feels like it since it is so useful and it comes to life every day at St. Jerome School.  Next time you stop by the school, take a little time to find an image of St. Jerome in his study and appreciate how our school’s commitment to Latin is practically written on the walls!

Pax vobiscum!