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Wyoming Catholic College has a “Latin Immersion weekend”

By: Shara Taylor Email
By: Shara Taylor Email

Wyoming Catholic College students and professors are publishing a newsletter about Lander and the college, following their “Latin Immersion weekend”.

Students spoke Latin all weekend to practice their knowledge of the ancient language.

"This weekend at Wyoming Catholic College is called the Latin immersion weekend, or in Latin the 'Biduum Latinum', in which interested students come together," said Latin Professor Patrick M. Owens. “This year we have about 50 in number and they speak only Latin for the entire weekend.”

Owens said students at Wyoming Catholic College must read, write, and speak Latin as a graduation requirement. Students participated in activities while speaking only Latin to exercise their classroom knowledge.

"We use it in the active way for two reasons,” said Owens. “One it's a great to learn the language and master the material. Two because this is a Catholic College and Latin is the language of the Roman Catholic church.”

Students and professors assembled a newsletter in Latin after interviewing lander shop keepers, store owners, and businesses this weekend.

"It's an essential part of the liberal arts education that we offer here,” said junior Zachary Thomas. “We propose to introduce students to the Western tradition of thought, cultural, art, literature, and Latin has simply always been an integral part of that up to 200 years ago.”

Students say at first they struggled to understand why they were doing it, but now they're excited to learn.

"The first semester of being sort of thrown into this Latin environment where you are speaking it, you're writing in it, you're communicating with other people in it," said freshman Alena Merimee. “It feels like a real language whereas before when I studied it, it was something that felt dead.”

Another student say he understood an analogy his professor used.

"If your mother spoke a language besides English and as a child wrote things in that language, then you would want to learn that language to read what she wrote and mother church spoke Latin for a long while, far before it spoke English," said college freshman Inshal Chenet.

One professor even uses the language is his math classes.

"There is not just one branch of the curriculum that is broken off from another," said Scott Olsson. “When we are reading Apollonius, who was a really influential Greek geometer, we're reading him and we’re reading him in English translation. He wrote in Greek, but a lot of the commentaries that were written on him were written in Latin.”

Owens said he hopes to share their newsletter with people who speak Latin, but many others in and outside Wyoming.


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