I have heard that learning 'Latin' will help improve ones English grammar and widen ones vocabulary. Is this true? I can't see Latin being that useful in this day in age, but I'm not an expert. How exactly will learning Latin help to improve English grammar used today? Excuse my ignorance, but I am not familiar with the history of English grammar.
It's quite an intensive 30 hour course over 15 weeks. Would it be beneficial if I enrolled in such a class? I'd only be doing it because I have heard it improves grammar.
Course Description: (An introduction to the Latin language and technique of translation into English, based on reading, from an early stage, extracts from Latin literature. Using a course book designed for adults it takes a grammatical approach, but prior knowledge of grammar is not essential. The course also demonstrates the indebtedness of English to Latin and will help to enlarge your vocabulary).
Or would I be better off taking a class in 'writing styles and skills'?

Course description: (Good writers are made, not born. Enhance your written communication skills in this content-driven course on style! This series of lectures, workshops and discussions begins with classes on grammar, punctuation and self-editing. We will focus on refining your ability to formulate appropriate modes of expression and methods of delivery in a variety of contexts. You will also develop a personal checklist of strengths and weaknesses to help you continue to both manage and think creatively about your own writing process).

Or should I do both?
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Inquisitive wrote on 16 Jan 2005:
I have heard that learning 'Latin' will help improve ones English grammar and widen ones vocabulary. Is this true?

Yes and no.
I can't see Latin being that useful in this day in age, but I'm not an expert. How exactly will learning Latin help to improve English grammar used today?

Learning Latin grammar will make you much more aware of grammar in general. Because Latin grammar is different from English grammar, it won't help by teaching you English grammar. But it will help by teaching you what grammar is all about. Actually, I think learning the grammar of any foreign language will help you improve your understanding of English grammar. But because English grammar has been modeled to some extent on Latin grammar which means that a lot of the terminology is the same Latin grammar will probably help more than others.
Learning Latin will certainly help your command of English vocabulary. So many English words have been borrowed from Latin. So many others have been borrowed from Greek, so learning Greek would also help to broaden your English vocabulary. Most of these words, though, are scientific words, especially medical terms. But once you learn these two languages, you can see the Latin and Greek roots
Excuse my ignorance, but I am not familiar with the history of English grammar. It's quite an intensive 30 hour ... help you continue to both manage and think creatively about your own writing process). Or should I do both? Comments?

My advice would be to take the writing class and forget the Latin course. You can get texts on Greek and Latin roots in English. I have one on my computer. You shouldn't have any problem finding one or three in your local university bookstore.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
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Inquisitive wrote on 16 Jan 2005:

I agree with this. It will give you a better understanding of what grammar is about.
Learning Latin will certainly help your command of English vocabulary. So many English words have been borrowed from Latin. So ... scientific words, especially medical terms. But once you learn these two languages, you can see the Latin and Greek roots

I don't agree with this one, because quite honestly in 30 hours you won't truly learn much Latin - at least, not much that you will have remembered a year later. It took me, at a rough calculation, six years with about 24 hours of formal teaching each year, plus out-of-class learning and exercises, and revision for thrice-yearly written examinations, and a child's capacity for learning, to get a basic competence and a reasonably wide word store for interpreting novel Latin-derived words - so I can remember why supersede and not supercede is correct, for example, and enjoy a word like superjacent.
Excuse my ignorance, but I am not familiar with the ... be doing it because I have heard it improves grammar.

If that's all you're interested in the course for, I don't think you'll find it interesting enough to get value for your 30 hours.
Paul
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Paul Wolff wrote on 17 Jan 2005:

True enough. You'd need at least 3000 hours each of both languages to remember all the roots you'd need for English scientific vocabulary. I think I missed the part about the class being only 30 hours of instruction.
It took me, at a rough calculation, six years with about 24 hours of formal teaching each year, plus out-of-class ... interested in the course for, I don't think you'll find it interesting enough to get value for your 30 hours.

I agree with this. I also think that "It's quite an intensive 30 hour course over 15 weeks" is not a reasonable use of "intensive". To be an intensive language course, it would have to be 30 hours a week for
15 weeks: 6 hours/day for 5 days = 30 hours/week = 450 hours for theclass.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
I have heard that learning 'Latin' will help improve ones English grammar and widen ones vocabulary. Is this true? I can't see Latin being that useful in this day in age,

An English-usage tip: the usual locution is "this day and age".

Mike Hardy
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My advice would be to take the writing class and forget the Latin course. You can get texts on Greek and Latin roots in English. I have one on my computer. You shouldn't have any problem finding one or three in your local university bookstore.

Excellent. Thank you so much, this is the sort of advice I needed.
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Learning Latin will certainly help your command of English vocabulary. ... two languages, you can see the Latin and Greek roots

I don't agree with this one, because quite honestly in 30 hours you won't truly learn much Latin - at ... - so I can remember why supersede and not supercede is correct, for example, and enjoy a word like superjacent.

Good grief! Do you remember a lot of what you learnt and find it useful in any way, shape or form or did you find it a waste of time? Now you have me interested - why "supersede and not supercede"?
If that's all you're interested in the course for, I don't think you'll find it interesting enough to get value for your 30 hours.

Thank you!
I have heard that learning 'Latin' will help improve ones ... see Latin being that useful in this day in age,

An English-usage tip: the usual locution is "this day and age".

Oops! Thank you for the tip writes it down. I wasn't sure so I typed it into google and there was a match to people using it, as there would be I suppose. I should probably consult this newsgroup before consulting google!:)
Inquisitive typed thusly:

I don't agree with this one, because quite honestly in ... is correct, for example, and enjoy a word like superjacent.

Good grief! Do you remember a lot of what you learnt and find it useful in any way, shape or form or did you find it a waste of time? Now you have me interested - why "supersede and not supercede"?

Supersede comes from Latin meaning "to sit above" - "sede" being also seen in English in "sedentary". The "cede" bit in the misspelling is probably assumed to be from the word meaning "to give way", as in "concede". But that isn't how the word came into English.

David
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