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  • Zachary Ridgwick

Latin or French?

In our school you make an important choice at the end of year 5: to learn French or study Latin. It can be a difficult decision which is why this article is here to help you. Of course in the end it’s your own choice. Hopefully this article will help make things easier. Down below you can also find this articles main points summarised once more.

Firstly, let’s go through the positives and negatives of each language, starting with French. French is one of the most spoken languages in the world and speaking it is a very useful skill to have. France is also a country you’ll likely visit at some point in your life in which case knowing the language would be extremely helpful. On top of the trip to Paris which will happen some time in year 9 it’s an interesting language to learn and you will use it for the rest of your life.

There are a few negatives. Throughout your lifetime, there will be plenty of other opportunities to learn it, compared to latin, which is barely taught anywhere. If you have no connection to the French culture it’s a waste of time, since you’ll barely get to use it.

If you already speak French, then it’s a good opportunity for expanding your grammar capabilities and getting easy 1s. Usually more people choose French than latin so you will probably be mixed hence there’s no guarantee that you’d end up in the same class as your friends.

Latin, the lesser chosen subject, mainly focuses on translating, grammar and the historical side of the Roman Empire, so if you’re interested in that sort of stuff, then Latin is for you. Also, there’s usually around one Latin class, which means you will certainly be with your friends who chose Latin too. Most European languages have Latin roots including French, Italian, German and English. You’ll find that German grammar is very similar to Latin grammar and that a LOT of French, Italian and Spanish words originate from Latin words. Speaking of words, there are only around 30 vocabulary words to revise in every chapter. That might sound like a lot but compared to French and even Spanish later, it’s nothing, they have over 100 words per chapter. And one of the best points is that you get to go to Rome in year 9.

Negatives. Latins a dead language, not spoken any more. You probably won’t use it after you leave school. You can’t study it for Abitur. The grammar is complicated and difficult to understand, and lots of revision is involved but you won’t get any other chance to learn it.

Everything summarised: French


• One of the most spoken languages in the world

• Useful skill to have

• If you go to France you’ll use it

• Bragging rights of being trilingual

• School trip to Paris,


• No guarantee you’ll end up using it

• Lots of other opportunities to learn it throughout your lifetime

• No guarantee you’ll end up in the same class as your friends

Latin: Positives:

• can help with learning other European languages (eg. French later in life)

• Learn about the Roman Empire

• One or few different classes means higher chances to end up with your


• Don’t have to learn how to speak it - only translating

• School trip to Rome, Italy

• Wayyy less vocab to learn - max 30 words per “Lektion”


• Dead language

• Difficult grammar, can be challenging to understand

• Translating can be hard

• No other chance to learn it

• Can’t study it for Abitur

I hope this helps and that you understand each subject and what they offer. At the end of the day the choice is yours, just make sure you’re happy with it.

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