Latin lovers do it in crowds;FE Focus

11th June 1999 at 01:00
A COLLEGE ran a taster session in Latin and the class was so popular students had to be turned away. Now Cirencester College in Gloucestershire is to run a full year's course from September.

The college, in the town the Romans called Corinium, staged the class for Adult Learners' Week. It was staggered by the response.

"It seemed as though we might get five or six people, but 19 turned up," said spokeswoman Pat Underwood. "We had to put another eight on a waiting list."

Students don't have to be classics scholars. In the initial class they had a gentle introduction to the language, looked at English words and abbreviations derived from Latin and sampled the basics of amo, amas, amat. Tutor Mary Pym, a retired Latin teacher, quoted Virgil and Ovid.

"We looked at how it's part of the English language, and we did some famous quotes in Latin and had some extracts from Latin literature," she said. "People gave various reasons for coming. A number said they felt they had lost out because they hadn't been able to do it at school."

Dr Peter Jones, writer, broadcaster and spokesman for the national co-ordinating committee for classics, said there was a general resurgence of interest.

"I get thousands of letters from adults saying they had learned Latin at school 20 or 30 years ago, but they'd either been badly taught or had forgotten it. They realised in adult life how useful it had been and they wanted to pick it up again.

"I am not at all surprised Mary Pym's class got this response. I think people are realising what they missed out on."

The latest survey showed that 25 FE colleges, and 6 sixth-form colleges offered courses in Latin.

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