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Old 07-30-2010, 03:21 PM
 
417 posts, read 643,196 times
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One of our children is slated for spanish for high school. She took it in middle school and did fine, but never really 'took' to it. The advantage of sticking with it is that it would likely be an 'easy' freshman course to handle while also juggling advanced/honors classes for all of her core classes, a team sport and other things.

However, she is now thinking of taking Latin instead. She is weak in vocab, and is thinking Latin may help her in that regard.

Other information? They are required to take 2 years of a foreign language. She likely will not take more than 2. Again, thus far it has not been her interest.

So, for those who have been there and done that: Which is the better choice, spanish or latin and why? Also, is latin REALLY hard? I took it in high school and remember struggling greatly with it, but then again that may simply have been because I was weak in that area.

Any advice is appreciated!

Taben
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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I've never taken Latin, but have friends who have; I think if she's excited by it, then go for it! It's not practical in the sense that she can use it to converse with native Latin speakers, but it will certainly be a good foundation for learning other languages in the future, as well as increasing her knowledge and understanding of English. My Latin-taking friends were very happy with their choice.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Yes to the Latin. In fact, studying Latin will help her with any Romance Lang that she might study afterward. This is why many schools have students take rudimentary Latin before they take classes in any of the Romance Langs. It will also help her with English vocab., as many words in English are derived from Latin and Greek, which is why many students take such courses to prep for the GRE. Either way, she should pursue whatever she feels drawn towards.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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All the way with Latin. Excellent foundation for improved English vocabulary and, I think, English wrting skills. Gain a better understanding of the English language.

You'll forget most of the Spanish in 5 years (geographic exceptions noted, of course).
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,561 posts, read 8,979,447 times
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I agree, go w/ Latin. I took it in high school and found it really helps w/ vocab in other languages. I found it esp. useful for the SATs and other similar tests. plus, it's a hard language to teach yourself on your own versus something like Spanish (personally, if I wanted to learn Spanish, I'd visit the Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago, or visit a Spanish speaking country. not as easy to do this w/ Latin)
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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My son was required to take Latin in the 4th and 5th grade, and did not like it. They did not spend much time learning the language, and he found the pronounciation difficult. It could be very different for higher grades and at different schools.

Also, our town just dropped Latin at the middle schools. I believe it was due to budget cuts, however, I also heard that a few schools had trouble finding good Latin teachers.

So, my suggestion would be to try to find out if the teachers are good and how much of the actual language they will learn (this might sound like a strange question, but in 5th grade my son learned more about Roman history than Latin itself).

Last edited by Reneeme; 07-30-2010 at 09:54 PM.. Reason: error
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Camberville
7,175 posts, read 8,927,675 times
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I'll be the odd one out and stay stick with Spanish. Also, keep in mind that many colleges require at LEAST 3 years of the same foreign language and to be competitive to the top 100 or so universities and LACs, you need to take the same foreign language through every year of high school. I believe my college actually required 4 years of the same language unless you already spoke another language fluently or your school did not offer 4 years of a language. I know it's early to be looking at colleges, but I would definitely do some research in those regards.

I got to level 7 of Spanish (my high school had block scheduling so you could take it every semester and effectively double up in Spanish until you hit level 7) and level 2 of French in high school. I kept up my Spanish so I still speak it, and even 4 years after my last French class, I was able to communicate well in France. I'm not particularly strong at languages either, just really focused on it.

NO one "takes" to middle school Spanish. It's not well taught, goes slowly, and is just boring. High school foreign language tends to be different. In particular, after you get past the high school requirement, you're in classes with people who actually care so then it gets really fun. I didn't plan on going higher than Spanish 3 (what was required for my high school) but found the classes to be fun the more I learned. Early classes are just amazingly frustrating.

Spanish not only will help just as much with the SAT (after all, it's very similar to Latin being a Romance language) but will also open employment opportunities for your daughter later. I obtained seemingly unrelated internships and jobs in college solely because I was able to speak Spanish.

Last edited by charolastra00; 07-30-2010 at 10:34 PM..
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:18 PM
 
1,998 posts, read 2,711,606 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taben View Post
One of our children is slated for spanish for high school. She took it in middle school and did fine, but never really 'took' to it. The advantage of sticking with it is that it would likely be an 'easy' freshman course to handle while also juggling advanced/honors classes for all of her core classes, a team sport and other things.

However, she is now thinking of taking Latin instead. She is weak in vocab, and is thinking Latin may help her in that regard.

Other information? They are required to take 2 years of a foreign language. She likely will not take more than 2. Again, thus far it has not been her interest.

So, for those who have been there and done that: Which is the better choice, spanish or latin and why? Also, is latin REALLY hard? I took it in high school and remember struggling greatly with it, but then again that may simply have been because I was weak in that area.

Any advice is appreciated!

Taben
I took two years of Latin and it's really helpful. Understanding concepts in diverse courses related to science, law, and several other areas is much quicker because lots of terms come from latin (and greek) originally. The beginning may be a little tedious because it's necessary to memorize verbs, vocabulary, etc. but it was exactly the same with every other language.

On the other hand Latin is a "dead language" so it's limited, compared to Spanish, but being the latter a "romance" (romanic) language, Latin also helps as a "foundation" for Spanish, if the student is interested in learning it later.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-31-2010, 03:59 AM
 
1,619 posts, read 1,180,617 times
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I took both. I started taking Spanish in 7th grade and took it straight thru til I ended up with a minor while adding in French and Italian at the same time once I started college.

I also took Latin in college and maybe it was because I had so much Spanish that I hated Latin/ found it harder. I disagree about the accent. Latin has no accent. It did help me, but I found it annoying declining nouns whereas in Romance Languages I didn't have to.

Latin will help with vocab and another foreign language. The only reason I ever took it in college was because my HS where my brothers were still attending mandated Latin for all incoming kids the years before and they complained how hard it was. I took it to prove them wrong. The HS ended up going back to Latin being an option and opening up SPanish and French to new students.

Maybe it was a mental thing and I was too immersed in SPanish to enjoy Latin. If I had taken Latin without years of other languages first I think I would have liked it better. If I had the chance now, I would take Latin. College SPanish is easy enough if she is interested in it. The Latin background would be really great and may make the difference on entrance exams and SATs. It was amazing to see root words and all the connections.
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:10 AM
 
20,797 posts, read 32,810,594 times
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I have to say stick with Spanish as well. Most colleges won't accept Latin as their foreign language requirement any longer and being "fluent' in Latin isn't going to help as much on a resume as being fluent in Spanish. Latin is great, it helps one understand languages better, I took Latin in college but Spanish is more practical. Also, a lot of colleges won't accept a language taken Freshman/Sophomore year as meeting their foreign language requirement either. Chances are when her schedule opens up junior and senior year she will have time to take both.
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