Why study Latin? The foregoing paragraphs make it clear why Latin forms so important a part of modern education. We have seen that our civilization rests upon that of Greece and Rome, and that we must look to the past if we would understand the present. It is obvious, too, that the knowledge of Latin not only leads to a more exact and effective use of our own language, but that it is of vital importance and of great practical value to any one preparing for a literary or professional career. To this it may be added that the study of Latin throws a flood of light upon the structure of language in general and lays an excellent foundation for all grammatical study. Finally, it has been abundantly proved that there is no more effective means of strengthening the mind than by the earnest pursuit of this branch of learning.
Review Questions. Whence does Latin get its name? Where is Latium? Where is Rome? Was Latin always the same? What sort of Latin are we to study? Describe the growth of Rome’s power and the spread of Latin. What can you say of the origin of Italian, French, and Spanish? How did the ancient Greeks and Romans compare? How did Greece influence Rome? How did Rome influence the world? In what sense are we Romans still? What did Latin have to do with the formation of English? What proportion of English words are of Latin origin, and what kind of words are they? Why should we study Latin?
THE PRONUNCIATION OF LATIN
1. The Latin alphabet contains the same letters as the English except that it has no w and no j.
2. The vowels, as in English, are a, e, i, o, u, y. The other letters are consonants.
3. I is used both as a vowel and as a consonant. Before a vowel in the same syllable it has the value of a consonant and is called I consonant.
Thus in Iu:-li-us the first i is a consonant, the second a vowel.
[Footnote 1: N.B. The sounds of the letters are best learned by hearing them correctly pronounced. The matter in this section is, therefore, intended for reference rather than for assignment as a lesson. As a first step it is suggested that the teacher pronounce the examples in class, the pupils following.]
4. Latin was not pronounced like English. The Romans at the beginning of the Christian era pronounced their language substantially as described below.
5. The vowels have the following sounds:
VOWELS LATIN EXAMPLES