The Guardian is reporting that the introduction of Latin classes in some of England’s finest cathedrals has tapped into an unexpected enthusiasm for resuscitating a subject that many have considered to be “dead as dead can be”.
At least half a dozen cathedrals have run short courses in Latin this year, with participants aged 12 to over 80.
Gloucester Cathedral is planning several weekend courses in the coming months. Tutor George Sharpley has taught beginners’ classes in Latin at Lincoln, Southwark, Chichester, Exeter and Ely cathedrals, as well as Gloucester.
In the first four months of this year, he taught 11 day courses. “One was quiet, but at the rest we had to turn people away. It was a step into the unknown, but the response has been pretty good. I get very excited about Latin, so I’m not surprised others do too.”
Graham Sharpley’s one-day beginners’ courses start with a look at the Latin roots of English words. “By lunchtime, they’re able to read a line or two of Virgil.”
But, he adds, “the Latin of Ovid and Virgil was a language to be heard, not studied in books in solitude. It’s a very lively language, one for the ear. It makes a connection, it turns lights on. Every few minutes, someone has an ‘aha’ moment when they realise Latin is part of our language today.”
I think it’s brilliant that people are wanting to learn this ancient language. Whilst it may not be spoken today, it is the root of many languages and it is interesting to learn where words have originated from. ~ Sophie
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