So what’s with the all this Latin BS BTW?

If you have ever been to Great Britain you will know that the English love denigrating the Scots. Occasionally, the odd Scot has been known to woad up and over-react a wee bit but mostly we consider this wing clipping to be jolly good fun and [ahem] not in the least bit discriminatory or racist.

Until my first legal job I had not really met many English people.  When I finished my degree I took a legal clerkship with Firm C in Lincolnshire a place  famous for sausages, Margaret Thatcher & place names like ‘Little Twitching in the Woods’. Before Firm C allowed me anywhere near a client file I had to prove my self-reliance skills by answering the phone in an English accent; making the tea; buying groceries for the partners’ wives and fighting off the office letch at the photocopier. Thereafter I was assigned to WW a corporate/IP partner who swore creatively and delighted in taking the piss out of me at any opportunity.

How bloody pretentious’ he said catching a glimpse of my University of Glasgow degree ‘you can’t sodding speak any effing English and yet your &@###arse degree’s printed in Latin for some bollocks reason

And there it is in a nutshell, the reason for the North/South divide. We Scots are quite simply better educated than the English (and they know it).

In Scotland, right up until very recently, studying Latin and Classical Studies was compulsory (ancient Greek was optional). Scottish schools believed that study of classics gave us a solid basis for learning English grammar and modern languages. Now, thanks to Harry Potter, lots of little English people are learning Latin in school.

Now that the Pommy Soap Dodgers are wise to the incantation Petrificus Totalus, we’ll have to resort to ancient Greek spells come the qualifying rounds for the next World Cup…

6 thoughts on “So what’s with the all this Latin BS BTW?

  1. Ha ha ha, fantastic post. I studied Latin for 5 years at school in Paisley, and I can remember being told it would be ‘useful’. At the time, we all thought this was hilariously foolish: a dead language can’t be useful, right? But, of course, Mr Robertson, my Latin teacher, knew what he was on about, and it has indeed been enormously useful: not just in studying law (non actus facit reum nisi mens sit rea, and all that), but in learning other languages, doing the crossword, reading Harry Potter, and of course general baiting of the lesser-educated English whenever the opportunity arises. Thanks for the post!

    • Anything that annoys the English is a subtle bonus, I agree. We are the thorn in their side, the ant in their cucumber sandwich, their last piece of toilet paper that slips to the floor. I could go on…

  2. Great post!

    I studied Latin in my first year of university and was somewhat put off the fact that there were no exotic countries I could travel to practice speaking the language AND the fact that I had three 9am tutorials per week. Either Classics Professors are early risers or they haven’t managed to go to bed yet after drinking red wine through the night.

    Anyway, the end result is that I stopped going to tutorials and rote learned all the Cicero passages in my textbook for the exams. Got a B and a letter inviting me to major in Latin the following year, which I almost had framed because they were so clearly desperate.

    That’s a West Australian education for you.

  3. Great post! I so agree on the Latin thing. I went to a very old-style school in Bermuda until I was about 12, and Latin was not optional!

    It really has been incredibly useful, and not just for the 2 years when I took the 1st year of law twice. I also speak basic Spanish and French, and my early Latin education did wonders for that.

    I wish it was still taught. Not only the language itself, but also the Classics – translating Greek and Roman mythology back and forth from English to Latin was (dare I say it?) FUN!

    This geek signing off now…

  4. Funny, I also did a bit of Latin at uni and they also sent me a letter inviting me to do Honours after first year! The desperate tactics did not work though, just about every Classics department in an Australian university was closed down ages ago. Our tutorials were also at 9am. Maybe if they’d rethought the scheduling their demise would have been averted, or at least slowed down.
    Hope the same thing isn’t happening in Scotland. I don’t think you can really call it a university if it doesn’t have a Classics department.

    • It’s really hard to be excited about any subject that starts at 9.00 am. Criminal law I would have enjoyed at 9.00 am. The textbook was as dry as dust but our lecturer packed the hour full of serial killers, sociopaths and cannibals with a bit of grand larceny thrown in for levity.

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