Teachers inspired to make use of Taylor Swift lyrics to make Latin accessible | Classics and historical historical past

Latin lecturers are being inspired to make use of Taylor Swift’s lyrics, Disney songs, Minecraft and fan fiction to assist make the traditional language of Virgil and Cicero extra accessible to their Twenty first-century college students.

In current many years, schoolchildren – primarily in non-public colleges – have mastered the early phases of Latin by the tales of Lucius Caecilius, a Pompeii banker who lived within the first century AD, and his household, as described within the standard Cambridge Latin Course, quickly to be revealed in its fifth version.

Now, nevertheless, a Cambridge University educational has produced a new information that means Latin ought to be taught extra like a contemporary international language, the place college students are inspired to talk, sing, carry out or write creatively, quite than simply studying vocabulary and grammar from a primer. Translating hit songs into Latin, in the meantime, can improve college students’ grasp of the totally different strategies utilized in Roman poetry.

Steven Hunt, who has been instructing Latin for 35 years and now trains Latin lecturers, says conventional instructing strategies nonetheless have their place, however is advocating a extra imaginative, open-minded strategy to widen the topic’s attraction.

Currently fewer than 10,000 college students sit GCSE Latin and they’re overwhelmingly in non-public colleges. According to a current British Council survey, Latin is simply taught at key stage 3 – the primary three years of secondary stage schooling – in 2.7% of state colleges in contrast with 49% of unbiased colleges.

As nicely as making the case for “active” Latin within the classroom to have interaction learners, Hunt’s guide particulars a sequence of modern methods of creating college students’ translation abilities. In one instance from a analysis paper, a college tutor struggling to get his college students to have interaction with Virgil’s poetry, requested them to translate well-known songs as an alternative. Among their successes was Taylor Swift’s hit Bad Blood, the refrain to which was translated as Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus.

Elsewhere, one other Latin fanatic has recorded Disney favourites in Latin together with Let it Go (Libera) from Frozen, whereas 3D digital modelling and Google Earth have helped college students to make use of Latin whereas strolling by digital historical websites, together with a 3D mannequin of Rome inbuilt Minecraft.

“The trouble with Latin teaching is that it’s never been subject to thorough academic investigation; we tend to rely on anecdotal information about what seems to work,” mentioned Hunt, who hated Latin when he first studied it on the age of 11 and is horrified that he as soon as taught Latin utilizing texts which trivialised slavery and stereotyped feminine characters.

“There is no ‘best way’ to teach it,” he mentioned, “but some teachers are creating a rich set of responses to the challenge. Most draw on principles from modern languages education. Because the human brain is hardwired for sound, it learns by speaking, listening and using language. Some Latin teachers are realising that this is the way to learn any language – dead or alive.”

Last summer time the Department for Education introduced the launch of a £4m scheme to encourage Latin amongst secondary state faculty college students, beginning initially in 40 colleges in England, as a part of a four-year pilot programme for 11- to 16-year-olds.

“Latin’s role as the gatekeeper to an elite education is over, but involving more students, especially in state schools, remains a problem,” mentioned Hunt. “The challenge for teachers in the years to come will be whether they are prepared to grasp these opportunities to present the subject differently, and widen the appeal for students, or whether they prefer to stick to familiar routines.”

Taylor Swift: Bad Blood

Verse 1

Did it’s important to do that?

I used to be considering that you can be trusted 10

Did it’s important to smash what was shiny?

Now it’s all rusted

Did it’s important to hit me the place I’m weak?

Baby, I couldn’t breathe

And rub it in so deep 15

Salt within the wound such as you’re laughing proper at me


’Cause child, now we’ve acquired unhealthy blood

You comprehend it was mad love

So have a look what you’ve carried out

’Cause child, now we’ve acquired unhealthy blood, hey!


Verse 1

Faciendumne fuit tibi hoc?

Putabam me posse tibi credere.

Delendumne fuit tibi quod lucidum erat?

Iam nunc omnino id est robigum (sic).

Pulsandumne fuit tibi in quo infirma sum?

Care, spirare non potui.

Confricandumne fuit altissime tibi,

velut advert me rides, o sal in vulnere est!


Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus.

Scis id fuisse insanissimum amorem

Aspice advert facta a te

Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus.


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