Saturday, May 9, 2020

Learning Latin the Medieval Way

From The Imaginative Conservative:
Despite the myriad arguments for the language, of which I have listed above only those which seem to me most salient, there has never been a period in history less literate in Latin than ours since the very dawn of the Roman Republic. Not a century ago, anyone with an education could be counted on to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the language, and a few to have even a great command of it. You would be hard-pressed today to find anyone in your social circle with a real proficiency in Latin. And, what is more, very few students take up the language in the 21st century, though I concede that the numbers are rising.
But even the 20th century could be said to be marked by a widespread lapse in Latin literacy. Latin had long enjoyed a status as the language of scholarship in Europe, and was widely spoken, written, and read well into the 19th century. The rise of vernacular usage during and following the renaissance did little to weaken its position. Even being supplanted as the Lingua Franca w​as not enough to knock it from its pedestal. What, then, accounts for the decline in literacy within the last two centuries?
I would argue that Latin is the first victim of modernism, its decline analogous to the worst fears surrounding such educational reform as Common Core. The early modern period saw a break in tradition; the pedagogy of antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance gave way to modern techniques and innovations, and for the past two centuries we have let our students wallow in the mire they created. (Read more.)

No comments: