Latin lover's mission

7th September 2007 at 01:00

Teacher wants to spread the original language of love

ROMANI QUIDEM artem amatoriam invenerunt. Translated literally from Latin it means: "You know, the Romans invented the language of love." And former classics teacher Will Griffiths believes this is a saying all children in Wales should be taught, not just those in private schools.

The 36-year-old lover of Latin, who was raised in Abergavenny, is on a mission to revive the ancient language within the Welsh borders as proud runner of a charity dedicated to seeing its rise.

However, his efforts have so far been met with little interest by a nation that has placed so much emphasis on the learning of another ancient language Welsh.

A survey conducted by Mr Griffiths's charity, the Cambridge School Classics Project, earlier this year found that 15 per cent of secondary state schools offered some form of Latin teaching in England. But in Wales it was just 3 per cent.

He now plans to bombard secondary schools with information and the offer of a visit this month in the hope that the language will take off in Wales.

Mr Griffiths's passion for Latin began when he was at Monmouth Boys' School. He went on to study classics and Greek at Cambridge University. Later he took a PGCE in the city and taught Latin for a while in local schools.

In 2000, the 36-year-old was given a pound;4.5 million grant from the Department for Education and Skills to further his charity work to aid the revival of the language.

It took him five years to put together an educational package that would enable pupils to learn Latin without a specialist teacher. Mr Griffiths believes the language and history of the Roman Empire can tell us much about life today.

He said: "We want to make sure that any student who wants to study Latin should have the chance. About 60 per cent of English is derived from it and that percentage increases as you learn French, Italian or Spanish."

NUT Cymru's Rhys Williams said: "We welcome the CSCP's approach and would be happy for state schools to teach the language.'

Five useful Latin phrases

Vah! Denuone latine loguebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur

Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me, sometimes it just sort of slips out

Die dulci freure

Have a nice day

Nihili est, in vita priore ego imperator romanus fui That's nothing, in a previous life I was a Roman Emperor

Noli me vocare. Ego te vocabo. Don't call me, I'll call you

Vescere bracis meis Eat my shorts

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