Groton encourages the study of Latin and Greek because of particular benefits it offers in the development of language skills and the perspective it offers into our culture in a broad sense. Latin and Greek are the basis for several World Languages and can be useful aids in learning them. However, the study of a classical language is fundamentally different in its approach and goals from that of a modern one. While the learning of a World Language concentrates on developing fluency of speech and listening, the learning of a classical language focuses primarily on the structure of the language itself. It encourages precision with words and offers valuable lessons for close reading and written expression in English.
Beyond language skills themselves, classical languages offer the best access to the cultures of Greece and Rome. These cultures form the basis for much of our modern thinking. Go wherever you wish in literature, history, art, architecture, philosophy, government – even math and science – and you will find that the Greeks and Romans have been there before you. They will not be able to answer your every question, but they will usually have addressed and thought about it with perception. The clarity of their approach, reflected in the kind of language they used, will train you well to pick up on your own thinking where they leave off. To a culture like ours, so preoccupied with its own immediate present, these languages open channels not only to the classical world, but also to all the interwoven cultural traditions through the millennia that separate us.
Classical studies specialize in close reading and mental discipline while opening out onto a wide range of subjects from a readily grasped core.
NOTE: Students who begin a classical language must complete at least two years of that language. In particular, Upper Schoolers who begin Greek should plan their future schedules accordingly.