Here at Northwestern, students have lots of opportunities to learn new topics and grow in their interests. One of these interests’ students have shown they appreciate is the ability to learn new languages. Within the fall semester of 2023, students will have the opportunity to learn Latin through the Latin 101 and Latin 102 courses provided by the history department’s own Dr. Robert Winn.
Winn has been teaching ancient and medieval history here at NWC for 19 years now. Because of his degree, which specializes in Late Antiquity and early Christianity, he frequently works with Latin language. “I really enjoy ancient languages,” expressed Winn. “So, I find it fun to be able to introduce students to Latin.”
In the early days of NW’s existence, Latin was an offered course that students could take. It was required for students to take the class as a part of the Christian curriculum. Since then, it has been removed, but it has come back. Winn expressed that he is excited to teach it again, as he has taught the course six other times.
Winn has also openly expressed that every major is welcome to take the course. He believes that it is an important cultural experience that each student should get to experience if they so choose. In the past, he has had students of all kinds take the course. From biology majors to theatre majors, each one sought importance in the course.
The class will focus mainly on classical Latin, which he expressed is the “language of the ancient Romans.” However, in Latin 102, students will have the opportunity to read in medieval Latin. Students in these courses will even get a chance to read from the Biblia Sacra Vulgata, which was a translated version of the Bible in ancient times.
For most students, the two classes combined will count toward their language credits. Although this is true, some students may be able to skip over Latin 101, but only if they have a good background in Latin already. Both courses will still be offered this upcoming fall for anyone who is interested, even if it does not apply to their major.
Dr. Winn has frequently been asked whether Latin is a difficult language to pick up. “In most cases of students dropping out, it is a matter of trying to balance a busy schedule on top of scheduling time to practice Latin in order to succeed,” said Winn. He expressed that at some point during the semester, Latin eventually clicks with his students, and they do well in the class, even though it takes time and work to succeed. Though it sounds like a lot of work, Winn works hard to create a fun environment for his students. At some points during the class, students will take a look at what Latin looks like in the modern world, in which they view spells that wizards cast in the famous Harry Potter series.
Overall, students and staff are anxiously awaiting the course’s arrival on campus. It has proven to provide the campus with a new experience other campuses may not have. Winn is excited to start the program back up and hopes to see you in class soon.