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  #1    
Old January 12th, 2010 (12:55 PM).
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(And the continued study of them in schools today?)


I personally can't think of any examples of dead languages taught in schools today except for Latin and Ancient Greek. If you come up with more, don't hesitate to say so!
Perhaps Ancient Egyptian and Hebrew, too, but I have no knowledge of these.


Okay. So, the only people who properly speak Latin today are the Pope and the others living in Vatican City, and I'm sure even they don't actually speak it when given a choice between it and their native tongue.
Latin is a language steeped in history, and is the base of many languages today, especially the Romance Languages and even English.
Some people argue that it's stupid to continue to study Latin; it's a dead language, why should we learn it? Others argue that a study of Latin is good for learning more about other languages and that it's good to learn about the past.

It is a similar story with Ancient Greek; many English words today come from Greek, such as misogynist and bibliophile. Many believe that by studying these Ancient Languages we can unlock knowledge and wisdom about our own, and again, many don't think it's worth even thinking about this dead language, let alone learning it.

When it comes to it being taught in schools, many schools do not offer such subjects. Do you think these languages should be offered in a larger amount of schools, and do you think a dead language such as Latin should be compulsary like a modern foreign language, even just for a year or two?

Of course, when you study an Ancient Language in school, you do not (in most cases, I'd wager) just learn the language, but also about the history and civilisation of the people who spoke it. These historical studies happen alongside the study of the language itself, and provide us with knowledge about the past.
There is a general agreement that the Ancient Greeks and Romans were among the most sophisticated and wise civilisations, and by studying them we can learn about ourselves, too.


I want to know your opinion. Tell me, do you think it's good to study Ancient Languages, or should all the textbooks be thrown into the bin because, after all, they are 'dead' languages?

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Old January 12th, 2010 (03:57 PM).
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uh... my brain hurts after reading all that... but anyways...
i think we should continue learning latin and other dead languages, well most of them anyway. Latin may be dead, but it's the basis of all other languages such as french, english and so on. so basically, if you know latin, you know every language of the world...well mostly.
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Old January 12th, 2010 (04:53 PM).
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We humans must keep the dead languages zombies.(Keep them around)
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Old January 12th, 2010 (05:55 PM).
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Why of course dead languages should be preserved. Though i don't think they should be enforced to be taught in schools unless one chooses to as an elective. It connects us to the past and preserves our roots. Well i would talk more about this but its hard to type on a netbook while laying in bed XD.
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Old January 12th, 2010 (06:28 PM).
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Quote originally posted by ArcanineOod:
a study of Latin is good for learning more about other languages
This is true. Not for all languages, of course, just the romance languages like French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Catalan, etc. and languages like English since it borrowed heavily from French.

I think it's good to study languages - dead or alive. Studying any language prepares you to learn new languages. It teaches you some things which are common to all (or most) languages and some things about your native language just by showing you that some people do things differently. Oh, and studying doesn't have to mean becoming fluent. Just having familiarity goes a long way.

On the practical side I think it would be hard to find enough interest in some languages to warrant entire courses in them. Latin, and to a smaller extent Greek, kinda have the ancient languages market cornered. How many people will want to learn Coptic and where are you going to find someone to teach it? Personally I'd like the option, and the option to learn dozens of other languages or at least try them out, but I understand that just because I want to study Classical Arabic and Sanskrit doesn't mean anyone else does.
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Old January 12th, 2010 (08:28 PM).
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Dead Languages are not as dead as most people think. Especially if your talking to the right people on a college campus. I have friend who's taking Sanscrit this quarter for his archeaology major, both written and spoken. The fact is dead languages are dead languages because no one bothers to learn them It's stupid. I think Latin, at least, should be mandatory in Middle School.
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Old January 12th, 2010 (08:43 PM).
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There is a girl at my school who ca speak Latin fluently
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Old January 12th, 2010 (10:06 PM).
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Learning and understanding what we can about dead languages is incredibly important. Not only do they help us to better understand the origins of our modern tongues, but they assist us in understanding how language can change over time - something very important to modern linguists. Without the knowledge of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Proto-Slavic, etc. modern linguists would have never been able to acquire the vast amounts of information we currently hold on the development of language itself.

If we allow such languages to truly die out, future generations would be lacking some pretty crucial proof in the evolution of modern speech.
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Old January 13th, 2010 (02:02 PM).
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I believe they are dead and we should leave them that way, because if we resurrect them, they might turn into undead vigilantes D:
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  #10    
Old January 13th, 2010 (06:01 PM).
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Quote originally posted by ArcanineOod:
Latin is a language steeped in history, and is the base of many languages today, especially the Romance Languages and even English.
I'm sorry, but this information right here is wrong. English is a West Germanic language along with German and Dutch for examples, and some Latin-based languages are French and Spanish. (Source: World History and Wikipedia)
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  #11    
Old January 13th, 2010 (07:47 PM).
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I say that Latin should be a class that is available for anyone to take during highschool, but not required. If someone was interested in foreign languages the option of Latin could be beneficial to them. Many languages like Spanish, French, and Portuguese descended from Latin. Even the English and German Language contain many Latin or Latin based words even though those languages themselves are not as connected to Latin. Also I've had many English teachers in the past who have suggested taking Latin because once you understand Latin you will be able to understand English even better.

I'm not as familiar with other dead languages, but I do think it's important to have atleast some people understand them. Since many dead languages are mixed in with the world's history.
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Old January 13th, 2010 (08:56 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Raichu_is_Awesome:
I'm sorry, but this information right here is wrong. English is a West Germanic language along with German and Dutch for examples, and some Latin-based languages are French and Spanish. (Source: World History and Wikipedia)
Yes, English is in the Germanic language family, but Latin has had a big influenced on it. Just look at a word like alias, which comes directly from Latin, or a word like domestic, which from from Latin via French. Oh, via is straight from Latin also.
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Old January 13th, 2010 (09:15 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Raichu_is_Awesome:
I'm sorry, but this information right here is wrong. English is a West Germanic language along with German and Dutch for examples, and some Latin-based languages are French and Spanish. (Source: World History and Wikipedia)
Thing is, that purely West Germanic English (Old English) died out about 1000 years ago, when the Norman French conquered much of England and ruled it for a good while, mixing their language with the language of the Anglo-Saxons in the process.

Here is a brief page that includes a tree that includes most of the languages that have influenced English. "Renaissance" includes several languages spoken in Europe at the time, including Latin, French, Greek, and Italian (which are all listed at the opposite end of the light blue line).

Anyways, on the OP's question, I think they should be more widely offered. Though my cousin did teach himself Hebrew while also teaching himself more advanced Spanish than his school offered (but that's because his is a small town school).
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Old January 13th, 2010 (10:34 PM).
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What's my opinion about them? Well, my language comes from latin, and i would really like to learn a little of it, as well as the main indian language of my country, which just a few people know.

But when i say this, some of my relatives always come asking "what will you do with that? What kind of job do you plan to take by learning those languages?" The point is that not everything i do in my life is aming for a purpose, maybe all i want is to acquire culture, is this wrong?
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  #15    
Old January 13th, 2010 (10:58 PM).
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I apologise for any misunderstandings about English being based on Latin! I meant that Latin is the base for the Romance Languages and that some English words were based on Latin. I worded that sooo badly, and I apologise.

In regards to ¡Laxbe!'s post about jobs and stuff:
Upon reaching my school's senior school, Latin becomes compulsary for two years, then you can drop it. I kept going because I liked it and was quite good at it, but I wasn't thinking it would be anything long term. During that year when it was no longer compulsary, it dawned on me that I love Latin. It was easily my favourite subject.
Starting last academic year I also began to take Ancient Greek because I had realised my love for Classics, and I've discovered that it's something I want to do in my career. I also found a love for Archaeology through Classics, and now I've decided that I really want to be a Classical Archaeologist when I'm older.

I was part of Latin Club in junior school, and really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I would have taken Latin in the senior if it hadn't been compulsary; the idea was extremely daunting when I found out about it.
If I hadn't taken Latin, I might never have realised how much I enjoy studying dead languages and Ancient History. Of course, it's likely that I would have eventually; I've always loved Ancient Roman and Greek history, but by then it might have been too late. So I'm extremely thankful to the school for making Latin compulsary for a couple of years. =3

So while lots of people, such as ¡Laxbe! might not ever actually directly use Latin, it's always best to give it a go, I think.
Not to mention that Latin is perceived ny many to be a scholar's subject. I mean, tell anyone that you can do Latin, and they're probably going to be impressed. A good mark in Latin shows commitment and probably high intelligence, so taking Latin can help you move towards better and brighter things in the future.


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Old January 14th, 2010 (05:07 AM).
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"Dead" languages should be preserved in books and ancient records. They may not be valid to use it today but it reminds us of our pasts.
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Old January 14th, 2010 (06:46 AM).
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As long as they're not compulsory, I don't see any reason why they can't be kept around. Either way, they should not be abolished - ancient languages should be kept on record, somewhere. Just in case.

Also, Hebrew is taught at schools. It's a proper VCE subject over here in Victoria, Australia, so yeah.
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Old January 14th, 2010 (08:41 AM).
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Quote originally posted by aurevesque:
uh... my brain hurts after reading all that... but anyways...
i think we should continue learning latin and other dead languages, well most of them anyway. Latin may be dead, but it's the basis of all other languages such as french, english and so on. so basically, if you know latin, you know every language of the world...well mostly.
This. Latin can be an extremely useful language.

I think that other 'dead languages' should still be learnt, so that we always have fresh translations of old texts coming out, but I don't think they should be mandatory. Modern world languages like French, German, Spanish and Chinese are far more important :x
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Old January 15th, 2010 (03:19 PM).
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Well, I personally find them useless. I wouldn't mind chucking all the Latin books in the world into the bin. But I know I'm wrong.

xD, I'm so contrary to my own self.

Modern languages used now have there roots in other languages, some in dead- languages, such as Latin.





By the way, I only said the Chucking-all-the-Latin-books-into-the-bin thing because I got a 84 in my language class. Spanish.
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Old January 15th, 2010 (04:22 PM).
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I say we should preserve the "dead" languages anyway. Just in case we might need them in the future.

That said, I am interested in learning Latin. Don't think my school has any classes on it, though.
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Old January 15th, 2010 (05:06 PM).
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As a dedicated Latin student, my opinion on the matter is a resounding Yes for the preservation of "dead" languages. Much of history is recorded on languages that are not of use in current day, and the human identity is preserved in dialects and languages themselves. I see no apparent reason to rid ourselves of history.
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Old January 15th, 2010 (05:41 PM).
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Personally, I think we should still learn the 'dead languages' of yesteryear, since they are quite interesting, and can help you with modern language studies. Also, if you know one of these dead languages, you could say insults to other people, and they wouldn't know what you were talking about.

Unfortunately, my school doesn't offer Latin, only Spanish, which isn't bad, but it just doesn't hold my interest.
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