An Amazing Thing Happened When Prisons Began Teaching Latin to Convicts

Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 8 months ago to Education
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Words are key to awareness of many things, including self.
I bet ya, if we had a definitive test for consciousness (self introspection) and levels of integrated knowledge, this experiment would of shown a quantum leap in these categories also.

In High school we had to take a language course. I wanted to take Latin but my school only offered French or Spanish...I really had no use for either.
I took the french course because I had to take one of the two and got absolutely Nothing out of it.

How many Gulchers were able to take Latin?
SOURCE URL: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/amazing-thing-happened-when-prisons-began-teaching-latin-convicts


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  • Posted by  $  blarman 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." --old commercial

    Two points I take away from this:
    1) Our internment system is failing to do the one thing it was created for: helping internees adjust their lives so they can rejoin society as productive members.
    2) Our education system is failing to do the one thing it was created for: teaching our children the importance of language and critical thinking.

    Sounds to me like neither (as presently constituted) are in our best interests.
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  • Posted by  $  dukem 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    I had two years of Latin, in the 9th and 10th grade, back in the Stone Age of the 1950's. I was able to later learn Spanish and French very easily, and my knowledge of English was very enriched. I became fluent in Italian while living in Sicily for a bit over a year.
    Latin was very useful for me.
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    • Posted by  $  7 months, 4 weeks ago
      I missed out...I was 6 in 1958 and lived thru the transition of phonics and "look see"...really screwed me up for a long time. Was really good at and enjoyed English up until then. Other than song writing and much later, technical writing...never wrote a thing. Wasn't until 2009 that I started writing and had to relearn the craft from scratch which produced my first book.
      Writing my second and I think it's up to par now...learning Latin roots on my own has enhanced the process greatly.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    Two terms of Latin were required in Middle School af my era. That was in Detroit. I hated Latin, so I thought. We were assigned a project the gist of which I have forgotten. We were all to read it to the class. What I did was tell a shrt story taking place in Rome, sunstituting Latin words for English at crucial points or Roman references such as, having the confused hero take a mint called "Non compos mintos."
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  • Posted by tkstone 8 months ago
    Actually had the pleasure of a mini-course in Latin in 8th Grade after begging the most demanding SOB of a teacher to teach us. Can't say I learned a tremendous amount of Latin, but the benefits touted by the article ring true. This particular teacher was the biggest hard ass I ever had for a teacher and we loved him for it.
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  • Posted by Lucky 8 months ago
    Back last century I was in grad school. The prof used many long unusual words.
    I had to carry a dictionary into class.
    I wondered how the students from non-English speaking backgrounds could cope.
    A fellow student was from Spain. When I mentioned this with him and gave examples,
    he said he had no problem. Those words were derived from Latin and he could work out the meaning.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 8 months ago
      In English the world of Latin origin are usually elevated scholarly words, while the German words are more down-and-dirty. In Spanish, the Latin-based words are often much more common. Words like matriculate, vestibule, cadaver, masticate, prognosticate, and castigate are all very common words in Spanish. I learned Spanish as a teenager, and I think it helped me with English.
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    • Posted by  $  8 months ago
      Latin, Greek and Hebrew were the languages, written and spoken that helped mankind make a connection to his mind...all the more reason to teach all three plus English.
      English is made up of all these languages and has words and concepts for any language in the world; but studying it's roots in Latin is extraordinarily valuable.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 7 months, 3 weeks ago
    I took two years of Latin in HS. Very helpful.

    I just scored high enough on the PSAT to make National Merit Scholar, and I know that I got at least two question right because of Latin specifically.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    My father insisted I take Latin, rather than current foreign language. He wasn't Catholic, but made me aware that the root words of science and medicine are predominantly Latin derived. His view was that understanding the origins of significant terminology gave one an instinctive understanding of the principles behind physics and biology.

    My first year of Latin was very classroom traditional, but my Latin II teacher took a very different approach. She handed me a copy of Caesar's Gallic Wars, and the writings of Cicero, and told me I would pass when I could give her the English translation of any passage she selected at random.

    What I've discovered over the course of my 50 years as a science and engineering professional is that the Latin schooled have a grasp of principle much more sound than those without that education. I guess the old man was on to something after all.
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  • Posted by CTYankee 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    40+ years ago the middle school offerings were French & Spanish. I too chose French for 3 years. Freshman year of HS I took Latin. I had the same teacher my mother had three decades earlier. (Should I mention he was a bit of a fossil?)

    What I 'learned' is that I love MY language, but cared nothing for the classes.

    On the last day of Freshman Latin, I celebrated the milestone that I'd never have to walk into the foreign language area of the school again!
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    • Posted by  $  7 months, 4 weeks ago
      Me too...never cared for other languages but now that I know how important they were in our ascension into conscious introspection and connecting to our minds, I am finding it fascinating and instructional to investigate Latin and Hebrew.
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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    I wanted to take Italian, but never saw it offered. I took four years of Latin, as it is the basis of so much of our language, and makes decoding several romance languages possible as well.
    The first two years was nuts and bolts. The second two years we translated Virgil and then Cicero from Latin to English and then discussed the content. I have never regretted taking all four years.
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  • Posted by Steven-Wells 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    My high school offered Latin, a dead, highfalutin' language that did not interest me. though I had recognized its position as a major source of English. Through the Norman Conquest, English gained enough duplicative Latin-sourced material to fill any English thesaurus with a rich panoply of word choices.

    Instead, I took German, which was alive and also a major source of mundane English. Let's see if some very basic sentences in German (almost ignored in this language discussion) can make any sense at all to those of you who know nothing of that language. Hint for English speakers: try saying things aloud.
    Meine Katze und mein Hund sitzen hier und trinken kaltes Wasser. Ich trinke ein Glas Bier. Bier ist besser. Trinkst du feinen Wein?
    Mein Ringfinger hat einen goldenen Ring. (Mein Arm, Hand, Finger, und Goldring—alle meine!)
    Mein Schuh ist auf meinem Fuss. Mein Schuh ist braun. Mein Haus hat lange grüne Gras.
    Mein Haar ist grau (Silber / Salz und Pfeffer).
    Fische schwimmen im Ozean. Hier kommt ein Eisberg. Das Eis ist blau.

    Before plugging it into Google Translate, try reading it again knowing that German “ei” is always pronounced as a long “I” (like, eye see you, so mein, fein sounds like mine, fine.) And “ie” is always long “E” (like, now you see it, too. Bier hier sounds like beer here.)
    Am I deluded, or did simple English stay close to German roots?
    At least we can thank Norse conquerors for stripping out all that gender and case specificity from German “der / die / das / den / dem / des” and leaving English with a single word for “the”.They also stripped off most of the suffixes from adjectives and verbs. We have “my” instead of “mein / meine / meinen / meinem / meiner / meines”. And “I drink / you drink / he drinks / we drink / you drink / they drink tea” instead of “ich trinke / du trinkst / er trinkt / wir trinken / ihr trinkt / sie trinken Tee”. Lest you think that Latin uses long words and German only uses short words, consider that a common feature of German is a tendency for many words to be joined together into long compounds. So Declaration of Independence becomes an un-on-hanging-ness [given] clarification, or Unabhängigkeitserklärung.

    By the way, Latin was far worse than most surviving Western languages in complex endings and conjugations. Review the “Romans Go Home” scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian for a funny Latin lesson.
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    • Posted by  $  7 months, 4 weeks ago
      Funny...Spoken Language confounds itself naturally but the meaning lingers on...until the French and progressives get a hold of it and, as you point out, some...just keep adding words to make bigger words until no one knows what it means...laughing
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