Dlaczego warto uczyć się łaciny? Manifest poligloty

przez | 9 grudnia 2014

W zredagowanej przez Claude’a Cartaginese książce pt. The Polyglot Project (2010), w której znajdują się wyznania poliglotów na temat ich pasji i metod uczenia się języków obcych, Peter Browne posługujący się na różnym poziomie ponad 20 językami radzi wszystkim zacząć od łaciny. Czyni to w formie manifestu (s. 30-32), którego treść brzmi następująco: 

LATINIST MANIFESTO, or 10 reasons why you may wish to make Latin the first language of choice for you and your children:

  1. LATIN is the language that best represents EUROPEANNESS, and the best vehicle of PANEUROPEAN sentiment. This is because for some two thousand years Europeans of diverse nationalities were either educated in Latin, or learned it as a chief subject in school. Latin was the language of the Hungarian courts even into the 19th century, although Hungarian is not even an Indo-European language. The heritage is clearly not limited to English and the Romance languages. Latin influence can be found in the Germanic group and even in the Slavic group.
  1. During the Renaissance period, men like Erasmus not only became extremely fluent in Latin; they became masters of style. And yet it was not their native language, indeed, there were no more native speakers. Latin had survived its own funeral. And precisely because Latin was nobody’s native language, all users were at least potentially equal. Among the learned at least, Latin was a language of equal linguistic rights. For this reason also it should be resurrected.
  1. There is evidence that Latin stimulates mental agility. It is an excellent introduction to the way languages work. A Latin scholar confronted with the case system of the Slavic languages, should for instance have no trouble understanding what is going on.
  1. The higher registers of the English language often have much Latin, Greek or French, Latin perhaps being the most important of the three. Logically, for this reason Latin will give you the cutting edge in English. And then there is all the scientific and legal terminology which you will already know, all because of your Latin.
  1. Learn Latin and the doors of all the Romance languages will be open to you. That’s why I think American schoolchildren should start out with Latin, not with Spanish. Spanish is simply one of many derivatives from the mother tongue. Now that I am studying Catalan, I am surprised and delighted to find many words derived directly from Latin, like GAUDIRE=to rejoice (the Spanish equivalent GOZAR wouldn’t even help here). Learn your Latin, and learn it well, and then go on and master ALL the Romance languages.
  1. The idea that Latin is an old-fashioned language is now itself becoming quite old-fashioned!
  1. In the Medieval and Renaissance periods, it would be truly exceptional for royalty not to be well versed in Latin. If a Medieval Catalan king would quote from the Bible in a speech, the quote would come in Latin, perhaps with a gloss in Catalan. Perhaps by mastering Latin, we can all become a little more regal.
  1. Those of us who have communicated widely in artificial languages like Esperanto, Ido, and Interlingua, are well aware that we are using offspring of the Latin mother tongue. Parenthetically, Dr. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, was not a good prophet: he considered Hebrew far too dead to ever be revived. If only he could visit Israel today! Yet his own invention also became a living language.
  1. With Latin you will get great literature in the original, not just from antiquity, but from the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
  1. Latin is perhaps THE major language of Western philosophy, although Greek and German also are most important.

Książka The Polyglot Project dostępna jest bezpłatnie w wersji elektronicznej w różnych formatach [link].