Why Latin?

Capstone will teach Latin because it demonstrably benefits students and increases their capacity to learn.
Q: Will Latin be taught at Capstone?
A: OMNINO (Latin equivalent of “Absolutely!”)

Benefits of Studying Latin

The value of teaching Latin in classical schools is demonstrated by the fact that students derive multiple benefits from its study: 

  • A better grasp of English
  • A stronger connection to a shared Western heritage
  • A deeper appreciation for other cultures
  • Better SAT scores, by far

Why Latin is Such a Valuable Academic Tool

  1. Latin was the language used by theologians and philosophers for the majority of Western history.  Learning Latin allows students to engage with works fundamental to the Western canon without having to rely on a potentially inaccurate or misleading translation.  This exposure allows students to truly engage with a work as it is meant to be read.  If you had the chance to sit down with Augustine, wouldn’t you want to be able to converse in his own language?
  2. Because languages tend to simplify, an ancient language like Latin is relatively complex and systematic, and learning it makes students more conscious of the structure of their own language and therefore able to express themselves more precisely.

  3. About 80 percent of the vocabulary of the five Romantic languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian) comes from Latin. These languages are actually forms of Latin that have evolved over the centuries in various regions with some interaction from other local tongues. To learn Latin is the beginning of a study of six languages at once.
  4. Studying Latin aids students in mastering English.  Because over 50 percent of all English words are derived from Latin—along with 80 to 90 percent of all polysyllabic words—students will greatly expand their vocabulary.  The regular grammar of Latin is ideal for learning English grammar as well as the grammar of many other languages. 
  5. For professional careers like law and medicine, Latin provides yet another bonus. Because these fields require precision in language, Latin is typically their base for technical terms and names. It will also be helpful for fields including science, music, theology, philosophy, art and literature.
  6. Learning Latin has an educational virtue as it is an ongoing practice in linguistic puzzle-solving that generally helps students to become close and thoughtful readers and writers.  Many scholars believe it also hones the mental faculties, cultivating careful analysis and attention.

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