Masters Thesis

A syntactic sketch of Latin.

As David Crystal noted, the climate is changing: the study of language is coming of age. It now seems that linguistics is of interest to a much wider audience than ever before, although a question frequently asked is "Why bother to study language at all?" The inquiry merits no simple, single answer and is further complicated by the fact that most people do not indeed bother. Furthermore, when the subject matter is not the native tongue, is not even an extant language, the whole matter seems unreasonably esoteric. Aside from the usual reasons given in introductory texts for studying any language, there are, however, some well-founded motivations for investigating Latin as opposed to other languages. First, in the history of language study, the teaching of Latin grammar and the study of Latin literature were perhaps the two most important factors promoting the development of misleading principles of analysis in traditional grammars (Crystal). School children in many classrooms today are still taught the eight parts of speech as a result of an essentially unbroken grammatical tradition stretching from the twentieth century all the way back to antiquity. Second, many thousands of learned words are still found in our present-day languages, with the greatest concentrations in scientific and other scholarly vocabularie

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