Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

Back to main blog

RSS thingy

Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Rident stolidi verba Latina. Latin is on the way back to the nation's classrooms according to the Independent. Probably this is an exaggeration, a little like the way the Liberal Democrats or their predecessors, the dear departed Liberals, would "prepare for government" after every good by-election result. Still, I can well believe Latin is coming back into fashion - partly because the very fact that it was such a minority subject has raised its status. There's another thing, too:
Dr Jones said. "Until the Sixties, people studied Latin because they were forced to do it. This had a spin-off in educators' attitudes towards it in the Seventies and Eighties. They remembered how they loathed it and did what they could to kill it off."

...But slowly the tide began to turn. Dr Jones said Latin hit its "year zero" in the Nineties, when the collective memory of enforced Latin was finally expunged and the Cambridge teaching technique began to pay dividends. Lunchtime clubs sprang up, Open University courses were over-subscribed tenfold, and other universities began offering starter courses.

Mutatis mutandis indeed. It's certainly true, and welcome, that Minimus the mouse is a creation of a time when no one is compelled to study Latin. Brian Micklethwait often mentions that education-by-persuasion is the coming thing and education-by-compulsion the going thing. I'm sure he's right in general, both factually and morally. Yet I don't think the decline of Latin can be blamed on the fact that it was forced on children until the Sixties. Until the Sixties people studied everything because they were forced to do it, not just Latin, and, now you mention it, not just until the Sixties. There has to be some other factor present that would work against Latin in particular.

I blame Socialism. Regular readers will know that I blame Socialism for everything - and it is a fact that International Marxism is responsible for 62% of unharvested human navel fluff - but seriously this time, I think the modernising egalitarian spirit of the twentieth century wanted Latin gone because it was old and elitist.

Incidentally, I don't speak Latin. I got the quote at the top here and checking the spelling led me here.