Should my daughter take Spanish or Latin?

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  1. SmartAndFun profile image93
    SmartAndFunposted 11 years ago

    Should my daughter take Spanish or Latin?

    When my daughter attends high school she must take foreign language. The choices are Spanish and Latin. We live in Texas, so Spanish would come in handy here. Latin, I hear, will help on college entrance exams. My husband is pushing Spanish, while a friend is saying Latin now and Spanish in college. I don't know what to think. I think that either one will be difficult for her. She has no background in either, except for when I played Muzzy Spanish DVDs over and over when she was a toddler. It didn't work, LOL. My husband and I speak neither. We took French and retained almost nothing.

    1. profile image60
      johnkhanvipposted 11 days agoin reply to this
  2. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image60
    Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years ago

    Interestingly enough, I took both in high school, but didn't know at the time I would end up using both in my nursing career. Latin is helpful to understand word roots, particularly in the medical professions, while Spanish is fast becoming a good language to know to enter the job market. I think Spanish is probably easier, and your daughter would satisfy her foreign language requirement while learning about different word forms. I did not do well in either language because I did not find either relevant at the time and am not naturally good at foreign languages, I guess - not sure because the instruction was not what I would consider good. So, although Spanish would be easier and would be helpful in the job market and especially useful in Texas (I ended up living in Texas for 8-9 years later in life), I would also base my decision on the reputation of the teacher - which teacher is better? If both are good, then use other criteria.

    1. SmartAndFun profile image93
      SmartAndFunposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, DDT. I hadn't thought to inquire about the teacher. Luckily, I am thinking ahead (she will be choosing a foreign language at this time next year) so we have a year to investigate and make a decision. I will start looking into the teachers now

  3. Evan G Rogers profile image61
    Evan G Rogersposted 11 years ago

    Neither. She should learn Japanese.

    Latin: dead. Spanish: It's nothing new.

    Japanese: a whole new culture and way of thinking of the world through language.

    You can't make an adjective past tense in western languages!

    Ultimately, let her choose.

    1. SmartAndFun profile image93
      SmartAndFunposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Unfortunately, Japanese is not offered at her high school.

    2. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image60
      Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Latin is not a "dead" language - if her daughter is going into the medical field it can be invaluable. Sometimes we need to look beyond the immediate utility of a subject when thinking about our education.

      1. TrahnTheMan profile image60
        TrahnTheManposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I respectfully can't agree with the statement that 'Latin is dead'- that's like saying there is nothing to be learned from history; or the properties of film because everything is now digital; or from great novels because they were from another time.

    3. wingedcentaur profile image66
      wingedcentaurposted 11 years ago

      You have given the answer yourself when you wrote 'We live in Texas, so Spanish would come in handy here.' Latin, as you know, is the language of the old Roman empire, a not-quite-'dead' language. Latin will come in handy if your daughter goes into law or medicine, or becomes some a historian or scholar of some kind.

      I think the solution is: Spanish in highschool and Latin in college.

      Take it easy.

    4. lburmaster profile image74
      lburmasterposted 11 years ago

      Since you live in Texas, study spanish. Everyone speaks it here. I studied Latin for four years in elementary and middle school. There is no point to studying a dead language except if you are going into the medical field. After years of studying French, I'm learning Spanish because I don't want to be left out.

    5. TrahnTheMan profile image60
      TrahnTheManposted 11 years ago

      Great question and some excellent answers! I was OK at foreign languages at school and learned English and German (of all things), and year of French. My girlfriend now is a native Spanish speaker, so speaking from my experience I would say that Spanish has been a relatively easy language to learn, especially because of knowing English. Had I learned Latin it would have been even easier. Having a knowledge of Latin at a young age would provide a basis for all the Romance languages (French, Spanish and Italian) as well as be a big help in understanding the root of many words. I think she would then pick up Spanish very quickly- I certainly have because of the Latin heritage of many English words, and Spanish has been a LOT easier than English and certainly German!

      1. rhondakim profile image72
        rhondakimposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        What is your native language, TrahnTheMan?

    6. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 11 years ago

      Spanish would seem like the logical choice. However, I have always said the two most important courses I took in high school were Latin and typing. I would think the choice would be on how good a student she is. If she is an A or B student in Latin, I would say take Spanish. If she has trouble with English grammar. I learned more English grammar in Latin than I ever learned in an English class.

      I know schools require a foreign language and that is a mistake. Everyone cannot master a second language.

      I guess the final thing is, what does your daughter want to do.

      There is one point. You can help your daughter study Latin. I was going to try and learn Spanish with my son as I helped him study. Even the instructions in the book were in Spanish. I was no help to him and I picked up nothing.

    7. Kennedi Brown profile image81
      Kennedi Brownposted 11 years ago

      I would say Spanish, especially with you living in Texas.

      Also, I took Latin my junior and senior years and it was a nightmare. Every noun has 15 different forms and you have to learn them all. If she doesn't need it for a future job, I wouldn't put her through the extra stress.

    8. Pandapocalypse profile image70
      Pandapocalypseposted 11 years ago

      Your daughter should take whichever language interests her more. 

      If she chooses Spanish, she will likely not progress to a full conversational ability unless she studies it extensively (meaning beyond high school).  While Latin might be a slight bonus come college application time, I highly doubt that it would be the deciding factor in her admission.

      If she chooses a language based on interest instead of perceived future benefits she is likely to be more motivated and perform better in her courses.  This will result in a higher GPA, which certainly will help her come college.

      1. profile image0
        AndriyRposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I agree that she should decide which language she would like to study. Maybe it is possible to take a sample lesson of each so she could understand whichever is better for her.

      2. Pandapocalypse profile image70
        Pandapocalypseposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Sample lessons are a great suggestion.  To SmartandFun, you might get better suggestions if we had an idea of your daughter's future career goals, just a thought.

      3. SmartAndFun profile image93
        SmartAndFunposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, samples are a great idea, so thanks! As far as her career goals, she wants to major in art. However, she's not quite 14 so she'll likely change her mind several times. I would be surprised if she eventually chose medicine; that's not her thing.

      4. Pandapocalypse profile image70
        Pandapocalypseposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        If you don't see medicine or law in her future I would really question the benefit of Latin.  Even if she does pursue a career in a field where she'll encouter the language, she won't need anything more than a cursory understanding of it.

    9. ModestyKing profile image59
      ModestyKingposted 11 years ago

      I agree with TrahnTheMan. Learning Latin will open your daughter up to not only a career that deals a lot with Latin names, but it is the basis for the Romance languages. If would make it much easier if she ever wanted to learn a third language that was part of the Romantic languages. And if you hear that Latin helps on college entrance exams, then that would be even better! Spanish is a widespread language, sure, but if it ever becomes necessary to learn it, it'll be much easier since your daughter would know the Latin roots and how the language is essentially constructed. I wish I had the option to learn Latin, actually. Instead, I'm learning French right now, but I think I would have chosen Latin over French if I had had the choice.

    10. Pen.Rev profile image61
      Pen.Revposted 11 years ago

      It would depend. If your daughter wants to do medical in the future, Latin would come in handy. It is also true that Latin would help on the SAT's a bit.

      I had the same options to in high school and honestly, I don't remember a spec of Spanish.

    11. cat on a soapbox profile image94
      cat on a soapboxposted 11 years ago

      Spanish is more functional in today's workplace, and being bilingual is a plus. If she is considering a field like medicine, pharmacology, law, linquistics, or horticulture- I'd say Latin is a good subject to learn.

    12. Mazzy Bolero profile image69
      Mazzy Boleroposted 11 years ago

      Spanish is a latinate language, so much of the vocabulary is very similar. It is much simpler grammatically than Latin and has an immediate practical use if you live in an area with many Hispanic people. 

      Latin helps you in learning Spanish and other latinate languages such as French and Italian, which are descended from it.  It also helps you with English. You begin to understand how words are constructed and this enables you to work out the meaning of a word by looking at its component elements which are derived from Latin. This is especially useful in scientific areas or really for anyone who wants to achieve a particularly high level of education. Latin grammar is also very logical and much of its rules are also applied to English grammar (not entirely justifiably, I think, bearing in mind English is a Germanic language, but in the eighteenth century they thought Latin was the benchmark)

      So I can see both your friend's and your husband's point of view. However, if your daughter is not naturally inclined to be a linguist, I would go for Spanish. It's easier and it's useful. If she does not have a natural facility for learning languages and real interest in learning Latin, doing that language first might put her off for life. It's a much more complex language grammatically and in the beginning stages she probably wouldn't see the point of it. After all, she is not going to have conversations with Roman centurions or yearn to read Roman poets.  You learn Latin for its long-term general helpfulness in understanding grammar and vocabulary and in language learning - but learn a bit of Spanish and you can immediately start using it to communicate with other human beings. That's a lot more satisfying to someone learning a new language for the first time, I think.

      Ultimately, the decision should be made by your daughter and it really may depend most on how academically inclined she is.

      1. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image60
        Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Voted up. I was not good at either Latin or Spanish in high school, partly because I didn't see the utility at the time and I don't think my instructors were that good. Later in life, I needed both languages.

      2. ackman1465 profile image61
        ackman1465posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Ddt:  "Sounds" like you had a gripe about two school instructors and were willing to forego the opportunity available to you (to learn the language(s)).... so you could "show them....."  I trust you are studying one - maybe both - now?

      3. Dubuquedogtrainer profile image60
        Dubuquedogtrainerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Ackman - why must you always be so negative? Do you get your jollies out of following me around on HubPages only so you can post a negative remark to me. You need to get a life - and a better attitude.

    13. The Examiner-1 profile image59
      The Examiner-1posted 10 years ago

      Everyone talked me into Spanish in high school. All that I remember is 'Como este usted?' I do not know whether my school had Latin, but it would have been more usefulin my life than the Spanish.
      I think that Latin would help your daguhter to better understand such things as grammar and speaking/reading/writing. Having a teacher for Latin would be better and more helpful.
      The Spanish can be practically self-taught and the jobs would basically be office type. I cannot say that is the only positiion, I am just saying that the Latin might be better for her. Again it is up to her depending on what she wants to do with her future.

    14. rhondakim profile image72
      rhondakimposted 9 years ago

      As a huge fan of foreign languages and language in general, I understand the desire to learn Latin, as it is the basis for so many languages and other things, too.  However, I am telling you that Spanish is MUCH more practical.  I took Spanish in JHS and HS and wound up majoring in it in college.  What was so incredible was the opportunities, which are many here in NY, and where you are in Texas, to PRACTICE speaking it with real people.  There is no substitute for the high of communicating with others in a new language.  And speaking a foreign language will certainly help your daughter in later life, with jobs and just in general.  And, by learning Spanish, your daughter will in effect be learning some Latin roots too.  I say, go with Spanish!!!

    15. profile image55
      ParkourParker99posted 9 years ago

      Latin by far. Latin is the base of all 5 main languages: English Spanish French Italian and Chinese


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