What Surprised Me about Latin

When I first came to Groton, the prospect of taking Latin both disgusted and scared me. But after countless declensions, translations, and conjugations, Latin has become one of my favorite subjects. People often ask me why I like studying the language so much, and I can never come up with a succinct, clever answer. No one really speaks it anymore, it’s tedious to go through the minute details of each text, and memorizing principle parts isn’t the most exciting thing.

Yet translating lines of poetry and prose gives me a very subtle but deep-rooted satisfaction. Pieces of a sentence fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and when everything falls into place, I can’t help but admire the simple complexities of its construction. I’ve only taken Latin for three years, but I’ve discovered that the language has a way of expressing things and implying meaning that English can’t.

I’m especially lucky this year because I also have an amazing Latin class. Though I usually enter the classroom feeling pretty tired, I never fail to leave invigorated and energized. We discuss, act out, and sometimes even sing lines of Latin, and the scenes that we’re translating come to life in the classroom. This Christmas, we even spent one of our classes singing festive songs in Latin …