Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18: For a Gentleman (Vol. 37, pp. 136-145)

"Why do we need to learn Latin?" That's been the perennial question of schoolchildren for centuries. Locke's answer, from today's essay, "Some Thoughts Regarding Education," is that it is "absolutely necessary to a gentleman," especially grammar, because you have to master grammar to speak and write properly and you might as well learn from one of the sources of the English language.

Today, Latin has virtually disappeared from our schools. Considering how poorly English is taught, it's hard to see Latin as being essential when so many students are graduating from high school unable to read and write well.

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