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Latin's contribution to English grammar

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 21 June 2014
  • A edited version of the following letter was published in The Courier-Mail on Saturday 21 June 2014. Underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones inserted. Paragraph breaks were also altered with the printed version appearing in just two paragraphs. The paper's heading for a collection of six letters was "Schools will have choice of languages". The first letter was from Rob Randall, CEO of ACARA.

Latin's contribution to English grammar

Tanya Chilcott reports that (In your report,) the head of curriculum at a Brisbane private school planning to make Latin compulsory for Year 7 students thinks that a knowledge of this dead language will provide a deeper understanding of English grammar (“Fail Caesar”, 20/6).

That may be so, but learning any foreign language will, by contrast, make the grammatical patterns of one’s first language more apparent.

If the aim is to develop explicit knowledge of the grammar of English (English grammar), that could be achieved more efficiently by increasing the time allocation for (the) subject (of) English in schools.

Since I started teaching high school English more than 40 years ago, the territory of the subject has expanded considerably but the time allocation has remained static.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English

Author: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: Curriculum matters

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