The Dead Language That Never Truly Died

Staff Writer: Mackenzie Rich


Latin is an ancestral Indo-European language. The earliest recording of the language, dating back to the 6th century BC, comes from a pin, reading “Manios me fhefhaked Numasioi”, which translates to “Manius made me for Numerius”. The language originated in people living among the Tiber River, one of Europe’s most historic rivers residing in Italy. As the Roman political power rose, Latin spread further. It spread from Italy to Western and Southern Europe, to the Mediterranean, all the way to parts of Africa. 


(Latin Alphabet. Picture credits to Omniglot)

Today, Latin is often considered a “dead language” meaning that the language is not actively spoken in a community. While Latin stands as a dead language, some still do use the language. Some experts argue that Latin is a “dead language that never truly died”, for Latin is still studied and spoken in many parts of the world. Latin has even been the root of the five “romance languages”, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, and Portuguese. 

Latin is also commonly used in the medical world, for many root words, prefixes, and suffixes stem from the language. For example, “hard” in anatomy would be represented by “duri” which comes from the Latin language. Latin can also be seen in literature, one of the most common books Latin can be found in is the Harry Potter series. The spells and phrases cultivated in these books have strong Latin connections.

The rich culture of the Latin language gives Woodstock the opportunity to have a successful Latin club. Meetings are held every other Wednesday. The club sponsors are Ms. Baglio, the school’s Latin teacher, and Ms. Sinclair, one of Woodstock High School’s math teachers. These two teachers, along with the great students in the club, keep this club fun and exciting. The Latin club is, of course, based around the language, but the students involved in the club also help around the school by running service projects. 

Woodstock sophomore Reece Morrish, who plans on joining Latin club, claims, “I am joining Latin club to learn more about the language and culture, as well as participate in the fun activities this club provides.” Some of the service projects they have facilitated are a school supply drive and helping out with custodian appreciation day. 

Woodstock sophomore, Clara Welch, remarks that she is “most excited to help out around the school while also being involved in a club that is both interesting and educational.” 

Latin club president Haley Reynolds, a Woodstock High School senior states how, “I love Latin club because of the friendships I am able to make with people of similar interests to myself, and how inclusive everyone feels in the club.” Everyone in the club seems to make a tight bond with each other, which is so important in forming a successful club/team. 


(Members of the Woodstock Latin Club, photo credits to Woodstock HS JCL Twitter account)

The club also attends the GJCL State Convention which is held yearly. The convention is held for three days on the weekend closest to April 21, the apparent founding day of Rome. This year, the convention will be held from April 17-19. There, students will compete in various events that show off their Latin skills and knowledge. Good luck to all Wolverines attending this year’s state convention!

(Latin club Wolverines attending the GJCL State Convention, photo credits to Woodstock HS JCL on Twitter)

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