Latin GCSE if not studying other languages?(31 Posts)
Evening all. My DS (yr 8) is choosing his GCSE options. They currently study French, Spanish and Latin, and school strongly recommend they choose to take a language gcse. Until recently, DS was planning to take Spanish but he's now thinking about Latin as he enjoys it - and, as a geeky introvert he likes the sound of no spoken exam and no overseas exchange programme 😂. I've always assumed Latin is a subject for linguists and think Spanish would be a more sensible option but I wondered if anyone has any advice/experience of Latin GCSE? Thanks in advance x
I should add, they only get to choose 3 options so he will only take one language.
No recent experience at all. But I did o'levels in French, German and Latin in the 70s. Over my life I've benefitted far more from Latin than the other two. I can only remember a word or two of German. My French isn't too bad as I went on to do it at A level, but Latin helps you understand English vocabulary and grammar so much.
Unless your DS has an interest in a particular language that he might want to take beyond gcse, I would recommend Latin. I bet most students can't remember much of their modern language gcse a few years later, but Latin seems to stick more.
I did Latin GCSE in 1993 - yikes! I quite enjoyed it. I think unless you are learning a language because you actually need to use that specific language, any language at GCSE is fine because it's an exercise in learning a language , different grammar and vocabulary. The history/cultural side was interesting too, poetry about the heinous crime of stealing napkins.
I'd go with the one he enjoys more - he's likely to do better.
I didn't find the exams too tough although I will admit that many of us did mostly learn the translations of the poems that would be in the literature exam.
Maruccinus Assinius! You do not use your left hand wisely! In jest and in wine drinking you use it to lift the napkins of those who are not careful enough.
I liked Latin GCSE for similar reasons. It followed logical rules with very few exceptions. I also found it helped me massively with understanding grammar.
I did Latin GCSE and A Level, DS1 is about to GCSE Latin and DS2 has just chosen it as a GCSE option (along with Classical Greek). No problem at all doing it as the only language IMO - although DSs and I all took at least 1 modern language, too.
I can recommend it, and my understanding is that universities are often interested to see it on an application form as it's considered to be intellectually rigorous.
I didn't find the exam tough at all. I mucked around a fair amount in the class and managed to teach myself enough in the revision period to get an a*.
I did Latin O level in the 70s and found it helped greatly with other languages
DS is year 9 and chose Latin last year. He didn't choose any other languages, but was forced to do French (which he hates) due to timetable clashes. He is definitely not a linguist, but there is something about the way Latin is taught that really appeals to his learning style (he's also very quiet and hates spoken exams) and he is predicted a top grade. I can not say the same for French, which he finds very confusing. He is really enjoying the Latin and has had no problems with understanding and learning all the declensions. He also likes the "Civilisation" aspect of the GCSE syllabus.
My DS did Latin GCSE as his only language. In his first term of A2, he taught himself French up to AS level, ended up getting A* in his French A Level later that year and studied French and Russian at Cambridge. He is now also fluent in German and Chinese.
He is gifted at languages, but I think his background in Latin was invaluable.
Thank you so much for all your responses, I feel very reassured now :-). Zen your son sounds very similar to mine! We've parents' evening on Tuesday so we will have a chat with Mr Latin but I feel much happier about the prospect of Latin after reading all your comments. Best of luck to all the Latin scholars in your households! X
My DD is doing Latin GCSE and enjoying it alongside French which she loathes! One thing to bear in mind is the grade boundries are much higher than a lot of other subjects, so if straight As or A*s is important, you might want to think again. DD is forecast all A/A*s but a B in Latin on same % mock exam. On the otherhand actual grades are not always the most important thing and the enjoyment and learning are.
Latin connects well with Maths and with literature, its a fine subject to study.
My son, like yours, did French, Spanish & Latin up to Y8. When picking GCSE options they had to pick one MFL so he chose French over Spanish, but he continued with Latin as one of his free choice subjects. He absolutely loved it and excelled in it, and is now halfway through his first year of A Level Latin. (His other subjects are Physics, Maths and Further Maths so not related in any way!)
If he could have just done Latin for GCSE he would, but had to study either French or Spanish.
When I did GCSEs (1998 ) Latin was the only subject I really needed to do any work for. I was very good at languages but the GCSE exam had an unseen translation element that you couldn't coast through. I still remember turning over the page in my mock and finding an unfamiliar chunk of Caesar's Gallic Wars- and not having a clue what to do with it! I realised I'd have to practice a bit to get the A* I wanted. Not that that did me any harm! French was an absolute doddle in comparison though.
Latin was probably the most useful GCSE I did actually. It gave me access to a couple of really interesting options on my degree and masters.
I'm sure Latin does help with other
Languages generally but a bit pointless if you're not actually doing other languages IMO.
Unless you're really into the roman civ stuff (fair enough if so)
DS2 did Latin for IGCSE and now dos it for fun. To be good at it you have to be disciplined in your work, a useful skill, he loves the stories which he translates and their relevance to today, and the way the words/sentences are constructed.
He was reliably told that if you can become good at Latin then other languages will come much easier as most of the romantic languages have their roots in Latin and the logic applied to learning Latin could also be applied to German. He's dyslexic so not necessarily an obvious linguist but he feels Latin enabled him to do well in both French and German as well. I know at the moment he may have no interest in learning an MFL but in my personal experience adolescent can change their mind.
If I had a TARDIS, I would go back and do Latin GCSE. I wish I had chosen it, I had the option at my school.
Actually I have heard it the other way round that Latin is one of the GCSEs where there is a higher percentage of A*/A grades mainly because it is the brighter children that tend to chose to study it.
The figures I have found relate to Latin in 2003 (?) for some reason but 2016 for French. 33% A* in Latin, 10% A* in French. (Is Latin IGCSE only from 2004?)
Latin was perhaps the most useful languages I studied at school. It helps your English vocabulary and your understanding of grammar. It also facilitates the learning of romantic languages. I think everyone should be taught Latin but I bet there aren't nearly enough teachers to go around!
I loved Latin (O level as it then was) because you got to study the literature to a high level. I'm learning Italian now, and it's amazing how useful a solid grasp of Latin grammar is proving - I seem to find the grammar of Italian much easier than my class-mates (unfortunately, my middle-aged memory is shot to shit, so I'm really struggling with remembering enough vocabulary to make conversations work...)
I would advise checking whether you need a mfl for applying to university.
My dd was able to do both French and Latin and carried Latin on to A Level she liked it so much.
Ds1 took Latin last yr, it was the only subject he didnt do well in and he intends to forget he ever took it.
Hes hoping it doesn't need to go on his ucas application.
Join the discussion
Please login first.