Saturday, December 20, 2008

LATIN is alive and well in Columbia Missouri:
The Latin Revival
Friday, December 19, 2008 | 1:18 p.m. CST
BY Morven McCulloch (Columbia Missourian)

COLUMBIA — It seems Latin isn’t dead anymore. It’s in the spells of Harry Potter books and on the screens in movies such as "Gladiator" and "300." In Columbia and nationwide, the language is drawing new breath.

Renewed interest in the language is evident in the fairly steady Latin class numbers at Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools and Columbia Independent School. Instructors and students say it's worth taking Latin because of the language's culture and history as well as for the academic benefits.

And there's this interesting tidbit:
Latin and test scores

Research shows a strong positive correlation between a student’s academic achievement and enrollment in Latin. Ginny Lindzey, Latin teacher at Dripping Springs High School in Texas, is the webmaster for the National Committee for Latin and Greek's Web site. She said research based on the SAT II and language test scores showed students who take Latin generally do significantly better on the verbal section than students who take any other language.

According to the Web site for Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc., students who take Latin not only have a higher grade point average than students who take any other language, but in 2007, the average SAT verbal score for Latin students was 678 — about 40 to 50 points higher than students enrolled in French, Spanish, Hebrew and German. The verbal score for students who did not take a language at all was 502. The same correlations have been evident since 2000.
It's possible that part of this results from self-selection: the brighter and more highly motivated students take Latin. But students who take Hebrew are generally bright and highly motivated too, so perhaps the Latin language itself gives students a better grasp of English.

That said, I see that in 2003 the opposite result was reported: Latin students did better on the SAT than everyone but Hebrew students. Unfortunately, the link has rotted. But it seems that taking any language helps one's SAT scores, with Latin and Hebrew as the most helpful.

I have more on Latin as a healthy dead language here and here, and Latin in Columbia also made the headlines a few years ago.