What language would you recommend?


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a figment of your imagination
My son has expressed an interest in taking Latin next year in High School.

He'll be a freshman, he's had two years of Spanish and wants to switch.

Me, I'm thrilled. I can't get out of him why exactly he wants to take it. I know a number of his private school friends take it.

His mom, she thinks he should keep taking Spanish and is recommending against it.

I think he has the potential of using Latin the rest of his life. Knowing the word roots will benefit him in whatever he does...if he decides to enter medicine, science, theology, law...and who knows what else it'll give him a head start...

Anyone got ammo for me or a reason I shouldn't enter this arms race?
Hi wil:

I would approach it all this way. I took two years of Latin in HS back in the day, and while it didn't help me much with practical knowledge, it did help me a lot with understanding classical history, and helped ever so much with my skills in writing and speaking English throughout my life, especially when it came to vocabulary accumulation and use. Since I worked in administration at a large university, and as staff at the executive level, the english skills were probably my strongest asset. Looking back on it all I would have to say that the Latin played a major role in any success that I had there.

Now, since several of the western European languages ( French, Spanish, Portugese) are rooted in Latin, they are usually more easily learned at some later time (college ?). Then, focusing on one foreign language or another makes more sense to me since one is closer to the time when it might be practically used in one's professional life. This approach seemed to help me pick up French much faster in college than I otherwise might have.

Au revior,...flow....:p
I took french for 4 years in HS.. it doesnt do me a bit of good when I moved to Texas and 3/4 of the population speaks Spanish. However.. its not all bad since french and spanish are both latin based languages I have an edge up on recognizing a lot of spanish and could probably learn it quite easily if I ever had the notion...

I think your son should stick with Spanish because its more realistic and he wont forget it in 15 years because he didnt use it.. If he becomes fluent in spanish it would open up many venues for him in the job force :)

My 2c hehe
It's a matter of temperament. Learning a dead language is more analytical and historical. It suits people who like unravelling puzzles and exploring the annals of history. Spanish is a fast flowing modern language often characterised by vibrant outgoing speakers.

Which of these more closely matches your son?

I did Latin and quite liked it. I wasn't very good at it, but it helped me understand English grammar and etymology.
It is actually quite interesting, my son, like me at his age, has little or no interest in history...but math and sciences he loves. He's aware how much latin is in his science classes and feels if he stays in a science field it will benefit him. He also has interest in law and knows that many legal words he hears are latin. He also has issues with spelling and words and feels this would help in that as well.

He's completing his second year of Spanish...not very intensive stuff, quite rudimentary, he gets A's and enjoys it...but has this desire to learn latin.

It is still my inclination to let him... we'll see how it all goes...
I took both Latin and Spanish at the same time a score and seven years ago for three years (hated the first Spanish teacher I had in high school and rather indifferent to the Latin teacher. The second Spanish teacher I had was quite an improvement over the first one, but he was let go in favor of the incompetent one.)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine