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Latin Language Instruction

Original post made by interested in Latin on Mar 25, 2007

Trying to find an introductory Latin course. The Palo Alto High Schools do not offer these courses. The local language schools don't have these classes either. The best I could do was find some online computer courses. Any info would be appreciated.

Comments (11)

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Castilleja offers Latin - perhaps they would have some guidance for you.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 25, 2007 at 9:43 pm

What about some of the colleges or local Catholic schools?


Posted by k, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2007 at 10:58 am

Great question. Gunn used to offer Latin - I took two years (OK, years ago). I think it was worthwhile. I was surprised that Paly doesn't offer it. I suggest you recommend it to the BoE and IS for World Languages (Norm Masuda). My kids would take it (if it were implemented before they graduate) and I know others would, too. Plus I know there is a wonderful activity you hear about periodically for high school students who study Latin - a kind of 'Latin Olympiad' regional event/competition featuring public oration.


Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 26, 2007 at 12:31 pm

There is a Latin students' club called the JCL or "Junior Classical League." When I took Latin as a Castilleja student way back when, we used to dress up and go to regional gatherings where we met up with junior classicists from Gunn and Paly (which had an amazing Latin teacher). There were also Latin regoinal and national tests you could take for recognition. M-A has a great Latin teacher now. Latin is a fabulous language to learn, not only for learning how to learn a foreign language, but for understanding English grammar and etymology better as well. It was great!


Posted by Tulley, a resident of El Carmelo School
on Mar 26, 2007 at 1:09 pm

I found it interesting to watch the National Spelling Bee last fall, because the contestants used Latin for deciphering the root/meaning/ of words to help with the spelling. It made me think that Latin might be the language to teach in elementary school as a way to help with english, spelling, grammar. I understand it can be helpful in learning other languages as well.
Latin instruction in the elementary schools for all grades would eliminate the "which language" dilemma and seems to provide a sound base for language. Perhaps it's worth looking at when considering FLES options.
Traveling Latin teachers, enhanced by classroom teachers. What a concept.


Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 26, 2007 at 2:43 pm

I love the idea of exposing all students to Latin. I wonder if it is realistic to teach all of them declensions, though. I wonder about things like that when we discuss teaching really grammatically complex languages in our schools anyway. But there are great books out there for high school and middle school students that have exercises re: Latin and Greek roots and I guarantee any student who goes through those will have a stronger grasp of spelling and a great vocabulary. But that is different from learning a language. Interesting idea.


Posted by trudy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2007 at 7:55 am

When I took Latin decades ago, we didn't learn to speak it (does anyone know how classical Latin is pronounced?) If you aren't concerned about credit, you could get textbooks and teach the kids at home. It would look good on a college application anyway.


Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 27, 2007 at 8:57 am

My teacher did tell us how we believe it was pronounced. We did speak it in a sense, though not the way we learned to speak French. A friend of our family was a classical scholar who was off in some country where he didn't speak the language and was able to cmmunicate by finding old Catholic priests and speaking to them in Latin for directions etc. I think that is really cool. And I love being able to decipher inscriptions etc., enough so that I even started learning ancient Greek so that I could read the inscriptions when I went to Greece. With help from a dictionary. But I don't think Latin or Greek will catch on as a district-wide language concept (LI? GI? ;0)), even though I wish they were available for interested students.

There are always correspondence courses, I suppose. Sigh.


Posted by interested in Latin, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2007 at 10:02 am

From original poster:
The language school on Cambridge is trying to contact a Latin teacher for potential lessons. thanks for all your comments, I'll post if we find something. I just found that Stanford Summer High School program offers a Latin course, but its expensive, mainly for Juniors and Seniors, and we are looking for something less stressful (program requires a serious application process).


Posted by essgeh oohay, a resident of JLS Middle School
on Mar 28, 2007 at 5:14 pm

OW-HEY ABOUT-LAY IG-PAY ATIN-LAY? Will be about as useful as Mandarin..


Posted by ABC, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 1, 2007 at 7:40 am

I speak ig-pay atin-lay better than mandarin, but I have found my few words of Mandarin opened more doors for me in China than either Pig Latin or English. Speaking someone else's language when you are in their country is a sign of interest, respect, and desire to connect. Small efforts bring big smiles, good will, and extra hospitality.

Essgeh oohay, you may not like MI—and that is your right—but disparaging Mandarin insults more than one billion Mandarin speakers around the world. It also insults people who support the idea of MI as either choice or charter, and ultimately, it insults people who support choice. This forum would be taken more seriously by the community if people would keep arguments focused on the issues without sniping and belittling the values and cares of others.


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