For many college-prep students, graduation requirements call for at least 2 consecutive years of language studies. Over the years, Spanish, French and sometimes German were staples. These days, as our world “shrinks” and Middle Eastern countries become more and more active and in the news, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish dialects are becoming increasingly prevalent in college language offerings, as are many widely-spoken Asian languages, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
These languages, along with a dizzying array of dialects, are alive and well, with literally millions of people speaking many of them as their primary, or at least secondary, tongue.
Well, there is actually a bit of controversy over that term, with some linguists considering the primary characteristic a lack of living, native speakers (some also use the term “extinct” in this case), while others say that a dead language is known and used in written form, but is no longer commonly spoken. In addition, there are a large number of languages considered endangered , on their way to becoming extinct.
However they’re defined, most of them are not taught in schools anymore – except one.
Latin is commonly used as a prime example of both a dead and extinct language. Yet it is still taught in many high school classrooms across these United States, and in countless homeschools, too (including ours). So the question begs asking: “Why?”
So if, even after all the discussion above, your child still rolls his or her eyes at language study, don’t get discouraged! There are ways to make this study meaningful and alive. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
From a tiny village on a Caribbean island to a rural town in the US South, Pat Fenner has been homeschooling her 5 children for 20 years through a lens on the world, learning and adapting her methods quite a bit during that time. Visit her blog at PatAndCandy.com.