Latin

The teaching pedagogy of Latin at NTU follows the three Ciceronian principles of rhetoric - to instruct, to delight, and to move (‘docēredēlectāremovēre’). In the footsteps of Renaissance humanists, we apply elements of direct learning, such as the use of audiovisual resources, and spoken Latin. This not only maximises class contact time, but accustoms your ears to the sound of Latin poetry and dialogue, which will prove beneficial to your grasp of the language. At the same time, acknowledging that Latin is unlike a modern language, we employ the reading approach, using texts taken from original Latin sources, or written to suit your level. We emphasise collaborative learning in class, encouraging you to engage actively with the learning material. Hence, you may expect to partake in a conviviality of learning, and transform our learning space into a republic of letters (‘rēs pūblica litterārum’).

For more information, please contact the Latin language coordinator at latin@ntu.edu.sg​

Latin was the language of Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. It is a beautiful language, and has had a lasting and profound impact on Western culture. Even today it continues to influence European and American literature, our legal and political systems, architecture, philosophy, theatre, art, and religion. Over time, Latin evolved into the Romance languages like Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, and Ladin; and Latin is still the source of 75-80% of all words in these languages. Even today, it is still one the official languages in the Vatican City.

Latin is also the source of much modern English. We know that over 60% of English vocabulary is made up of Greek and Latin words. By studying Latin, students will gain an expanded vocabulary and an understanding of word formation that can help them with technical and scientific terminology. This is because Latin provides the root words for most of the modern sciences, law, government, logic, and theology. Latin terminology is still used extensively by biologists, paleontologists, zoologists, paleoanthropologists, and other scientists to name species and specimens, and also by doctors and lawyers. This knowledge is particularly useful for students planning to enter these fields.

Latin is an Indo-European language. It is an is an inflected language with a very different sentence structure to English. In English, meaning is based on word-order, but in Latin the word endings govern meaning.  For this reason, it is an excellent introduction to how languages work, and Latin students have a huge advantage in learning other inflected languages, such as Russian or German.