By Deborah Williams
Winnie Hu, writer for the New York Times, reports in her article, “Latin Returns from Dead in School Language Curriculums,” that the number of American students “taking the National Latin Exam has risen steadily to more than 134,000 students in each of the past two years.” Further, she notes that the largest increases are in some of the country’s more remote areas like New Mexico, Alaska, and Vermont. Even though Spanish and French are the more popular foreign languages, enrollment in Latin classes “has nearly doubled over the past ten years.
The reasons for the resurgence could be any or all of the following:
- Student interest in Latin after reading Harry Potter’s Latin-based chanting spells
- The desire to improve SAT score
- The desire to stand out among peers
Many students find that their knowledge of Latin helped to make them stand out on their college applications, to decipher unfamiliar words while reading, and to improve their knowledge of grammar.