Why we teach Latin (one little reason)

This from The Nature of Culture Studies, by RM Wenley, University of Michigan:

Accuracy of mental operation does not come with memorizing linguistic forms and rules. Here our culture study friends frequently fool themselves. Nevertheless, ability to write decent Latin prose, with dictionary at elbow, simply cannot be acquired without at the same time inducing the kind of mental organization which at length enables a man to go anywhere and do anything, as a great general phrased it. My brilliant colleague, Mr. Shorey, of Chicago, lays his finger on the point when he says:

I am cyncially skeptical about students who cannot understand elementary Latin syntax, but distinguish themselves in mathematics, exact science, or political economy. The student who is really baffled by the elementary logical analysis of language may be a keen observer, a deft mathematician, an artistic genius–he will never be an analytic thinker.

You can read this passage in an extraordinary work from 1911 called Latin and Greek in American Education, edited by Francis Kelsey. Look for more quotations from time to time.

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