FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Want a leg up in a medical terminology course? Anatomy? Physical science? Take a look at Latin, perhaps the best grounding for all education.
Not convinced? Just ask Stephen Herring, instructor of religion, geography, and developmental studies at Edgecombe Community College (ECC). He will teach an Introductory Latin class beginning Tuesday. The class will meet at Fleming 218 on the Tarboro campus.
“Latin is not a dead language; it is very much alive,” he assures.
“Latin is the root of English. Look at medical terminology, jurisprudence, and botany, for example. So many different populations can benefit from understanding Latin.”
Herring has been hooked on Latin since his days at Yale Divinity School. “Right from the start I felt a sense of connection with the people of the ancient world,” he says. “When we read any ancient text we are doing linguistic archaeology. Someone once composed these words and shared them with their neighbors. The text gives us a window into the way these ancient people spoke, thought, and lived.”
Rather than focusing on the tedious and boring process of translation, students in this continuing education class will learn how to encounter a Latin text as a representation of the way ancient culture worked.
This creative approach to language instruction also will make the class accessible to people with less educational background. “You do not need to be well-educated to benefit from this class,” Herring says.
According to the National Review, “…even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least 50 percent.”
Latin can even help improve SAT scores. Through Latin, test takers can guess at the meanings of new words because they already know the roots and prefixes.
Even in this age of social media, in February, Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement in Latin.
“Semper Fidelis (always faithful) is the motto for the U.S. Marine Corps. Latin surrounds us; we just don’t realize it,” Herring says.
“It is inscribed on our government buildings and used in everyday speech. Words such as impromptu, per se, bona fide, ad hoc, quid pro quo – they’re all Latin.”
Introductory Latin will meet from May 21 through August 8, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m.
“Latin isn’t hard, it’s fun!” Herring adds.
For more information about the Latin class at ECC, call Herring at 883-7541 or 823-5166, ext. 180.