It’s time for another year of Latin at Lower Lab!

In case anyone missed my introductory presentation last week here’s a recap:

To introduce myself: For 13 years I’ve been teaching college-level Latin at CUNY’s Latin/Greek Institute, where I am Chair of Latin.

Although I enjoy college Latin, I absolutely LOVE teaching at Lower Lab. Younger minds are complete sponges for information and research has shown that younger brains are wired to learn language faster.

Although “Latin” is a convenient shorthand for what we do at Lower Lab, a better description would be something like “The Classical Foundations of the English Language.”

We use Latin and Greek as a gateway to English, a stepping stone to study the core concepts of language:

— roots

— prefixes and suffixes

— parts of speech (verbs, nouns, conjunctions)

— grammar and syntax (subject, objects, predicates, subordination)

One of our main activities will be using Latin and Greek roots to expand our vocabulary.

Since 75% of the most advanced vocabulary in English comes from Latin and Greek, learning roots in these languages is a powerful way to expand one’s vocabulary exponentially. Here’s an example:

Most people know the meaning of carnivore, herbivore and omnivore. That’s 4 roots (CARN = flesh, HERB = plant, VOR = eat, OMNI = all.

Those 4 roots lead to advanced words like incarnation, herbicide, regicide, omniscient.

Once we see that SCI = know, we have new insight into what a SCIentist does. We also can decipher words like preSCIent.

Prescient leads us to preliminary and once we know that LIMIN = threshold or doorway,  we can decipher a sophisticated word like subliminal, which describes an influence that slips beneath the threshold of our conscious perception.

The process goes on and on, improving not only our vocabulary but also our analytical ability. Meaning we will never be intimidated by a word but always able to break it down into parts and decipher it.

In class we will be using software I created especially for Lower Lab that will help us learn the Latin and Greek roots in a fast-paced game. Soon an iPhone app will be available for play at home.

Looking forward to another great year of learning at LLS! Please be in touch if I can clarify or help.