Curriculum Corner with Miss Clevenger

Curriculum Corner

By Miss Clevenger, Upper School Latin Teacher

Upper School students love Latin translations! Latin words, sentences, and passages are puzzles just waiting for an eager decoder to solve. Below are some recent 8th grade sentences. Can you construe the meaning or recognize any familiar words?

1. In mundō melius nōn est quam fīdus amīcus. (proverb)
2. Quī multum habet, plūs cupit. (Seneca)
3. Bis vīvit quī bene vīvit. (proverb)
4. Fāmā nihil est celerius. (unknown)
5. Fallācēs sunt rērum speciēs. (Seneca)

The joy of puzzle-solving is not the only reason or way in which we teach Latin. Here’s a glimpse into why we teach Latin and what it looks like in the Upper School.

In the Upper School, we teach Latin through memory, grammar, conversation, critical thinking (translation), and embodied projects. Through their Latin studies, students increase their vocabulary and understanding of how grammar and languages work. Moreover, we push students to move beyond the essential memory and chanting to ask why a sentence translates this or what way, what the sentence means, and how the passage applies to our lives or other courses of study.

The goal of our Latin studies, only just realized at the 8th grade level, is to translate Latin texts in their original forms—and to wonder and delight in the author’s original language and meaning. This endeavor highlights the moral component to all study of Latin: it requires diligence, great patience, concentration, attention to detail, and humility. From the Romans, we can learn much about life, death, eternity, virtue, strength, and man’s weakness. We can learn from the wisdom of antiquity and the roots of our Western Civilization. We can then apply that wisdom to the present. Most importantly, we can learn to speak the Apostle’s Creed and Lord’s Prayer in the universal language of the church!

Finally, here are the English translations. I hope you find these proverbs thought provoking. The 8th grade students certainly did.

1. In the world there is not (anything) better than a faithful friend.
2. He who has much desires more.
3. He lives twice who lives well.
4. Nothing is swifter than rumor.
5. The appearances of things are deceptive.

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