Professor's passion keeps Latin alive
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 23:02
People across the globe say that Latin is a dead language. Outside of Vatican City, there isn’t a single area in the world that still uses it to speak.
It’s difficult to learn. Its grammar is complicated. And to many, it’s just not fun.
“I hated Latin in high schools,” freshman Richard Scott said.
It seems that Scott isn’t the only one that feels this way. Over the past 20 years, schools across the country have been cutting their Latin programs.
However, here at SMU the language is alive and well thanks to one quirky professor, Patricia Rawlins.
“[Latin] isn’t dead. It’s pervasive,” Rawlins said. “It’s immortal and it makes you a better person intellectually.”
Since Rawlins began teaching at SMU, her class sizes and retention rates haven’t dipped a bit. They’ve actually risen. Rawlins thinks this is because she uses a teaching style that helps immerse students in the language every day.
“I mean, you have agendas and curriculums here at school,” Rawlins said.
“And if you’re walking across campus, you see the Moody Coliseum, which are all Latin words.”
Latin clearly still has a presence in the vernacular of SMU, but perhaps the real trick to keeping the language alive is Rawlins’ passion.
“I think it’s because I’m excited about it,” Rawlins said. “I think [Latin] is so amazing and cool and fabulous and just, every day, I see something new that goes, ‘Oh! That’s Latin.’”
Rawlins’ passion for the language is even spreading to her students. Even Scott, who hated Latin in high school, is coming around.
“I think Professor Rawlins is an awesome professor,” Scott said, “she makes me like Latin.”
Since Rawlins’ began teaching at SMU, a minor for the language has been added at the request of the students. She’s also had six of her students go on to teach Latin at schools around the state.
So, as long as Rawlins still has a say, Latin isn’t going to die anytime soon on this campus.
“De gustibus non est disputandum,” Rawlins said. “You can’t argue taste.”