I have even heard stories of high schools that used to require students to take Latin and even Ancient Greek. And I'm not talking about extremely expensive schools for the children of the super rich. I know people in Montreal who went to school in the 50ies and the 60ies and who told me that an extensive training in the Classics was a must.
Learning Latin is very difficult. However, the commonplace belief about how much learning Latin disciplines one's thinking processes is true. For those of us in the Humanities who have no affinity whatsoever for mathematics, learning Latin is the best way to hone our logical reasoning. Latin also expands one's vocabulary like no other exercise. Students who spend years memorizing lists of words for the SATs and GREs and pay huge sums of money for courses that prepare them for these exams would be a lot better served by taking a year of Latin.
Today's universities keep spawning humongous Speech Communications and Visual Communications departments (to give just two examples) that offer a variety of useless, gimmicky courses that are incapable of letting students grow intellectually. The Classics Departments, in the meanwhile, are allowed to die out. Most of the students nowadays can't even read their own diploma in Latin, which has let many universities to switch into English-language diplomas. This makes sense since today's higher education in the US is becoming more parochial by the second.
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