Latin is known as a dead language as it is no longer in everyday spoken use. Although it is still taught in many schoolsaround Britain today, the number of students taking Classical GCSE subjects has fallen over the years, from 15,921 in2003, to only 10,533 in 2018. It seems that students are struggling to see the benefit of learning an outdated languageover, say, getting a qualification in computing. Is Latin really no longer useful in today’s day and age?

I interviewed Ms Brack, a Classics teacher at Burntwood School, on why she believes Latin is still relevant in today’s society and she stated, “I think that all students should have the opportunity to study Latin because it is a key to so many other things; language, civilisation, philosophy, art and architecture. It’s a really facilitating thing to do.”

She went on to say that, in her lessons, students are constantly drawing parallels between Latin and modern languages, such as Spanish and French, improving their language learning skills and even developing their vocabulary in English as they start to recognise Latin roots in English words. It allows you to gain a deeper understanding of languages which I really appreciate, as a student studying Latin myself.

I finally asked her what careers a Latin GCSE could help you with in the future, to which she answered, enthusiastically: “Everything! The obvious ones, I suppose, are science, medicine, and law. Legal terminology is in latin and medical terminology is either in greek or Latin, so you’ve got a good foundation for both of those. But, actually, Latin and classical subjects in general open doors into journalism - loads of people at the BBC will have classics qualifications - publishing, curating, research… everything that you could think of would be enhanced by a knowledge of Latin.”

So, although it may not be able to compete with the constantly evolving and exciting language of computer programming, Latinremains an integral part of Western culture that can open many doors in the world of work, even today. 

And, at the very least, we should all be inspired by it to “carpe diem” (“seize the day”).