When most of my peers were taking Spanish in high school, I wanted the romance language. I liked the idea of learning to speak romantically. Wasn’t I surprised to find I had signed myself up for a dead language with an ancient teacher and books that looked like a snooze fest!
I wasn’t a good student in school. If I came home with a B, I was delighted. The C’s kept my head above water. An A in Home Economics didn’t count. It wasn’t that I wasn’t intelligent; I was simply too interested in my friends and having fun.
It took a while, but something finally clicked for me. Latin was like a puzzle. I spotted bits and pieces of English words hiding in the Latin words. I was good at memorizing, so the vocabulary words and their meanings were easy for me. Declensions, on the other hand, made me want to pull my hair out! If it weren’t for a cute boy who helped me during tests, I wouldn’t have made B’s across the board.
What I wasn’t prepared for was when my English grades jumped from C’s to A’s. The difficulty of reading and declining Latin words made English seem like a piece of cake. I compare it to racquetball. I sought matches with the faster, stronger guys in the club, so when I went back to playing with the girls, it was easier. I signed up for a second year of Latin.
My family thought I had lost my mind when I started our son on Latin in the third grade. It was easy for him to memorize, and to this day, I think a year of Latin at a young age helped tremendously with his vocabulary.
Latin helped me to appreciate words. That’s kind of funny to me now, since I write so simply in my books. Having two years of Latin, enjoying English in high school, and then later reviewing and teaching both to our son … well, I think it was probably one of the things that gave me so much gumption to think I could write and self-publish a book.
Did learning another language help you with your writing? I still want to learn French. If I arrived in Paris today, I would only be able to ask for le fromage.