German is derived from Roman Latin
At the John-Lennon-Gymnasium, students from the 8th grade can choose Latin as an elective. In small study groups, they learn the basics of the Latin language in two hours a week. But why is it worth learning this dead language? Here are a few key words:
Latin is a journey back in time
In class we deal with everyday life in ancient times. How did they live, what did they eat, how did people dress in antiquity? We get an insight into a past, learn more about what people thought 2000 years ago, what they laughed at, what they were afraid of and what they believed in. We take a look at the meeting places of an ancient city and find out why people went to the theater, to gladiator fights or to the thermal baths.
Latin is a special subject
The Latin language is a very logically structured language. In this way, it promotes and challenges logical thinking. Sometimes deciphering a Latin sentence even resembles a mathematical puzzle: every word and every ending is carefully examined and then translated into German. But at the same time, Latin also promotes the creative use of language, because it is also important to understand the meaning of a sentence. Often there are many different translation options, all of which are correct. Then you have to decide which translation seems best.
The language of instruction is always German. This is often an advantage for quieter or less spontaneous students, because it is not important to start talking immediately. In contrast to modern foreign languages, the knowledge learned (e.g. the foreign language) does not have to be actively applied immediately when answering in the classroom discussion (e.g. by speaking English as flawlessly as possible).
Latin - a dead language
Of course it's true - there are very, very few people left today who (can) speak Latin. But that doesn't mean that the Latin language is dead! The German language itself is strongly influenced by Latin. Terms such as high school diploma, computer, video, fact, agenda, appetite, tempo, ... come straight from the Roman vocabulary. The English language also contains up to 60% words that are derived from Latin, such as victory, crime, to study, empire, potent, content, copy, and many more.
However, Latin is even livelier in the Romance languages. French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian are the modern "children" of Latin. Anyone who has got to know Latin will find it much easier to acquire these languages, as not only the vocabulary comes almost entirely from the ancient "mother tongue", but also because the grammatical structures are similar.
With us, students learn French and Spanish as a second foreign language together and we keep finding similarities and differences between these two languages or talking about an expression in modern Latin, i.e. Italian. This gives us an insight into several Romance languages at the same time.
Latin - expressiveness training
When dealing with Latin texts, translation into German plays a central role. Again and again we consider together how a translation into German could be formulated particularly aptly. This also trains the ability to express yourself in German. At the same time, we also research grammatical structures, sentence structure and the use of linguistic means. The vocabulary is expanded through the use of foreign words derived from the Latin language. All of this together helps to deal with language in a reflected and confident manner, in German but also in all other languages.
Latin - a key to culture
Latin is the language of Roman antiquity, but also of the Middle Ages and modern times.
Latin - a Subject?
We don't just memorize, we try to understand what we are talking about. Long memorization does not take place in Latin classes at John Lennon High School. We also only learn vocabulary if it is really very important to us. Nevertheless, after a short time we can read and understand simple Latin texts.
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