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Ben Johnson once said of William Shakespeare that the Bard had small Latin and less Greek. That may, in fact, have been an exaggeration, but regardless, it shows that a person can do great things in one language at a time.

Still, as the Spanish proverb goes, a man who speaks two languages is worth two men. Since my days of high school, I’ve studied Latin. With a dictionary and grammar book at my side, I can operate in it–slowly, to be sure. But it’s time to master the tongue. The books stand ready. I have a stack of index cards, and the spirit is willing.

The pleasure of reading Virgil in his original words
450px-Publius_Vergilius_Maro1
will make this more than worth the effort. But beyond even that, learning Latin–thoroughly, not just in bits and pieces–will make English a deeper and more enjoyable language for me.

If this idea intrigues you, you may also want to watch this space for my poem, “Learning Languages through Chapter Three,” which is soon to appear.

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