Why Study Latin and Greek?

Latin instruction is offered at all grade levels at Parnassus Preparatory School. Scholars begin studying Greek in the School of Rhetoric. All students take Latin every year starting in Prima through First Level Rhetoric (1R). Two years of classical languages (for current students) in the School of Rhetoric are required for graduation. We believe there are at least four solid reasons for classical language study.

Greek and Latin Develop English and Provide a Solid Foundation for the Acquisition of Other Languages

One’s reading, writing, and speaking of English is improved through learning Latin and Greek. Vocabulary is enriched, grammar is sharpened, and a sense of organization is instilled in the student. Greek and Latin equip a person with the strongest single foundation for mastering Romance languages, modern-inflected ones such as Russian and German, and even non-related tongues like Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. Working with Latin and Greek broadens a person’s notion of structures possible in languages other than one’s own. In addition, Latin gives an individual a grip on about 80% of the vocabulary of the Romance languages — French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. About 800 million people in 57 countries speak these tongues, with Spanish being the official language of 20 nations; French of 27; and Italian, Romanian,and Portuguese of 10 other nations.

The Civilizations of Greece and Rome Link Us with the Cultures of 57 Nations on Four Continents

A background in the classical civilizations makes students aware of customs, values, and ideas that we have in common with Eastern and Western Europeans and with North and South Americans. Many concepts in government, religion, art, literature, and economics are shared.

Familiarity with Ancient Cultures Promotes Tolerance and Understanding of Other Nations and Ways of Life

When one is aware of the rich and varied culture of the Greeks and Romans, one is more likely to accept the differing customs and values of other people today. This holds true because through the study of ancient civilizations, one encounters exotic and extreme customs which were not static, but evolved over the centuries. When familiar with diversity, change, and longevity in one’s own culture, a person is more inclined to respect the views, ideologies, religions, and economic systems of others and to appreciate their rich, age-old traditions.

Latin Improves College Entrance Exam Scores

Students who study Latin in high school consistently score higher on the verbal portion of the SAT college entrance exam than both students who have not studied any foreign language and students who have studied other modern foreign languages.

Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the SAT.

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Latin 672 674 681 672 678 677 676 678
All Students 507 508 508 503 502 502 502 501
French 638 642 643 637 637 632 631 633
German 626 627 637 632 632 627 630 626
Spanish 575 575 573 577 574 565 557 561
Hebrew 628 630 620 623 622 611 619 612
Sources: Dorothy Sayers “The National Review,” Conrad Barrett “Keys to Language and Cultural Awareness” California State University, College Board.


Come see for yourself what makes Parnassus unique and discover all the possibilities that are here for your children.

11201 – 96th Avenue North, Maple Grove, MN 55369 – Main Office Hours: 7:30am – 4:00pm – Main Number: 763.496.1416
Bus Company: 763.425.2542
Animus & Accendo Programs: 763.496.1416 ext. 319
Technology Support for Families: techsupport@parnassusprep.com