Ryan SellersThe value of Latin
In January 25th, Kobe Bryant at the Los Angeles Lakers
made some very critical comments about the younger generation of
basketball players in the American.
He was actually during a press conference
following a loss to our own Memphis Grizzlies,
in which he lashed out the young man who have come up for the AAU system.
He said that alothough these young palyers may have mastered
a lot of fancy dribbling techniques
and gravity-defying slam dunks,
they never learned the basic skills about basketball,
带球上篮 罚球 中距离投篮
layups, free throws, mid-range shots,
背身单打 抢位挡人 篮板球 传球和防守
posting-up, boxing-out, rebounding, passing and playing defense.
And summarizing his observations about these young players.
Kobe made a very perceptive comment,
he said, “they don’t know the fundamentals of the game.”
Just as the fundamentals is important in basketballs,
they’re also important in education.
We can’t prepare students for the future
simply by giving them a laptop and hoping for the best.
Now we all know the TED events like
this are based on ideas,
big ideas, counterintuitive ideas.
So the idea I’d like to propose today is this:
one of the most effective ways of building strong fundamentals in students
and prepaing them for future,
ironically enough is by looking to the past through the teaching of Latin.
Latin will help students think more logically,
communicate more effectively and
have a more comprehensive understanding of the world around them,
no matter how technologically advanced that world may become.
To begin with, let’s address a commen misconception
that Latin is a dead language
spoken by ancient European 2000 years ago,
holding no relevance whatsoever for people living in the 21 century.
There’s even an old poem that expresses the point of view.
Latin is a language, as dead as dead can be.
First it killed the romans and now it’s killing me.
Now students may feel this way sometimes but the…
this simply is not true,
the reality is that Latin never died,
and never came to a crashing end with a death of a single tragic figure.
It’s simply evolved gradually over time
and developed into the other languages.
Moreover classic Latin is still very much alive
在政府 艺术 宗教 文学 医学 法律和科学中仍然活跃
and well in government, art, religion, literature, medcine, law and science.
It’s not a dead language.
It’s an eternal language.
So, what are the benefits of studying this eternal language?
How can it help students develop
as Kobe Bryant would say the fundamentals of the game?
First point: language foundation.
As I just mentioned Latin experienced an evolution not an extinction.
Over the course of hundreds and hundreds of years,
it gradually developed into a set of languages
known today collectively as the Romance languages.
法语 意大利语 罗马尼亚语 葡萄牙语和西班牙语
French, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese and Spanish,
if you have a strong foundation in Latin,
then learning any of these other languages
will be much easier endeavor.
Number two:Word Power
English is not a Romance language per se.
But nevertheless about sixty to seventy percent of the words
in the English language do derive from Latin.
Here’s the example,
a famous sentence the preamble of the US Constitution.
We the People
I remember having to memorize this when I was in school,
many of you probably required to do the same.
If we remove the Latin derivatives from this sentence,
then as you can see,
not much is left behind.
Therefore this illustrates the fact that Latin is the backbone of the English language.
It’s invaluable for vocabulary acquisition
and it should come as no surprised that Latin students
outperform everyone else on the verbal sections of standardized tests.
Number three, there is critical thinking skills.
The past few years, we’ve been hearing a lot
about the importance of STEM education
科学 技术 工程和数学
– science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Latin may be 2,000 years old,
but it fits in perfectly with these trendy 21st century subjects,
Why? Because Latin is a very mathematical language,
just like math and science,
it requires students to pay very careful attentions to detail,
and requires them not only to memorize vast amount of information,
but more importantly to evaluate that information
and to apply it in new situations.
Number four: cultural connections.
By this I simply mean that Latin encourages students to recognize
the parallels between the ancient world and the morden world.
Here’s an example.
A passage from the Roman poet Marshall from
a collection called de spectaculis
which he wrote to commemorate the grand opening of the
Flavian amphitheater a building better known today as the Colosseum.
Although this is a poem about the Colosseum,
it’s not about gladiator combat.
Instead it’s a celebration of the diversity of the spectator in the audience.
有从巴尔干半岛 俄罗斯西部 埃及
There are people understands from the Balkan Peninsula,
不列颠 阿拉伯 土耳其 德国
western Russia, Egypt, Britain Arabia,
Turky, Germany, and Ethiopia.
What’s the significance?
Well the significance is that it reminds us that ancient Rome
was a large, multi-ethnic, multilingual superpower,
just like the United States today.
And along with the power and glory of being a huge Empire
came a lot of very serious challenges,
many of the same challenges were facing today.
Studying how the ancient Romans confronted these issues
2000 years ago therefore,
will help today’s students grapple with the same issues
in a much more sophisticated fashion.
Final point: career preparation.
I always like to give some examples
of people who started out with a very strong foundation in Latin.
And who then went on to achieve success
in a wide variety of ares.
And I don’t mean just doctors and lawyers,
I mean performers like Chris Martin from Coldplay.
Mindy Kaling from the office and the Mindy project,
and Bob Dylan.
Dylan not only studied Latin at Hibbing High School in Hibbing Minnesota,
but he was also a member of the Latin club.
Imagine that Bob Dylan a legendary nonconformist
joining his high school Latin Club.
He’s been incorporating classical references
into his music ever since.
Writers such as Toni Morrison the last American
to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.
And JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series.
Both of whom minored in classical studies in college.
Entrepreneurs such as Ted Turner, the founder of CNN.
And Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook.
One of the very first computer programs Zuckerberg ever designed
was actually a video game based on the ancient Roman Empire.
Moreover he initially went to Harvard
with an interest in majoring in classical studies,
until as we know he was sidetracked by little computer project.
NFL quarterbacks, such as Drew Brees,
who was an excellent ap latin student in high school.
And Robert Griffin, the third
who was studying Latin at Baylor University.
during a record-setting season on a field.
And finally political figures from
both the left and the right.
Bill Clinton, Boris Johnson and Condoleezza Rice.
When students finish school and hit the job market,
let’s be completely honest.
Prospective employers are not specifically going to be looking for people,
who can conjugate Latin verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive.
They’re not specifically going to be looking for people
who can translate book four of the Aeneid,
and they’re not specifically going to be looking for people
who can rattle off the accomplishments of the giulio Claudian emperors.
They will however be looking for people
who can think logically, communicate effectively
and solve problems in innovative ways.
In other words they’re going to be looking for people
who know the fundamentals of the game,
fundamentals which we can cultivate through the teaching of Latin.
拉丁语的价值 - Ryan Sellers