Latin classes are making a comeback. But why study a dead language?
Who’d want to study Latin? A dead language, good only for Caesar attacking the ditch with arrows (an old Molesworth joke) or honking like a pig as you decline your pronouns (hic haec hoc; hunc hanc hoc). Well, here’s a simple, utilitarian point: because Latin is a dead language, because it is taught to be read, not spoken, because it is taught entirely through its grammatical rules not through its demotic use, as you learn it you gain an understanding of the mechanics and structure of language streets ahead of any you will gain from the study of a modern tongue. Any other language – not just Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, but German, Russian, Arabic – becomes easier for a child with a grounding in Latin. A student can use Latin to grasp the bones and sinews of any language.