California Educator

April 2013

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> L AT I N Latin is making a comeback Mike Dumbra says Latin never died ��� it simply evolved. Lingua Latina revenit! eventually evolved into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. When Pope Francis spoke Latin at his inaugural Mass at St. Peter���s Square last month, most people listened to a translator or read Latin in���uenced the development of Old English more than any other non���West Germanic language. subtitles. But La Entrada Middle School students in Mike Dumbra���s Dumbra fondly calls English a ���cousin��� of Latin, while the other Latin class in Menlo Park picked out familiar phrases and vocabulary, languages are direct descendents. Nonetheless, 50 percent of words thrilled to witness a rare modern example of spoken Latin. in the English dictionary hail from Latin, he says. ���They enjoyed it,��� says Dumbra. ���They discussed the differLatin remained strong after the collapse of the Roman Empire ence in pronunciation from the way we do it in class ��� classical in A.D. 476. During the Middle Ages and pronunciation as it would have sounded through the Renaissance, the Reforma2,000 years ago. The Catholic Church tion and beyond, Latin was used as the pronunciation sounds more like Italian and language of the church and as a universal the way Latin has been pronounced since language for discussing education and scithe Middle Ages.��� entific knowledge. While rarely spoken, Latin is alive, well and thriving in Dumbra���s class. The lanLatin���s renewed popularity in modern culguage for Romans, priests and geeks has ture can be seen in the Harry Potter novels, become cool. for example, where the main characters and ���I love Latin because you can learn a lot sorcerers��� spells have Latin names. Sheldon, about English, and it helps with verb tenses the geeky character on ���The Big Bang and derivatives of English words,��� says Tori Theory,��� supposedly studied Latin until ���fth Rarick, 13. ���I love learning about Roman grade and frequently bandies about Latin culture and traditions. Gladiators were phrases in hilarious ways. always ���ghting each other; it���s interesting to Latin students feel as though they are see what they found entertaining.��� learning a ���secret language,��� even though Students enjoyed hearing Pope Francis ���I think it���s making a comeback,��� says Latin meets the foreign language requireDumbra, Las Lomitas Teachers Association. speaking in Latin. ments of secondary schools and colleges. ���And it never died. It simply evolved.��� ���People are usually surprised when I tell them,��� says Pat Su, a student at University De antiqua ad tempus novum (from High School in Irvine. ���It makes me feel unique to be learning ancient to modern times) a dead language.��� Latin spread throughout Europe as Romans conquered other cul���I laugh at that,��� counters Josh Davis, Su���s teacher at University tures. However, those subject to Roman rule formed new languages High School. ���It���s not spoken, but it���s survived, so we don���t talk as their own languages merged with Latin. These hybrid languages about Latin being dead in my classroom.��� 42 California Educator April 2013

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