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Cool course alert

Classics: Scientific Terms to shed light on everyday English words

Teaching and Learning

By Janet Harron

Ancient Greek and Latin have been relegated to the sidelines of modern teaching curricula, promoted merely as novelty courses for students who can afford the luxury of learning a supposedly “dead” language.

Yet, modern scientific, medical, legal, and technical vocabulary consist of Greek and Latin words, keeping these languages very much alive —not to mention that many English words are derived directly from Greek and Latin.

Words such as music, politics, poetry, philosophy, helicopter, rhinoceros, unicorn, mathematics, physics, biology, university, studies and pterodactyl and just a sample.

Knowledge of the roots and stems of Greek and Latin verbs, adjectives and nouns makes learning specialist terminology easier and more comprehensible — shedding a whole new light on the English language we use every day.

Cohort after cohort of science majors take first-year Latin and Greek courses with remarkable success, but these courses do not cater to these students’ specific needs. But now Classics 1900 is open to majors of all disciplines and has no prerequisites. Students in the sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and others will benefit from it and are guaranteed to become eager cadets of the “grammar police” in the process.

Offered in winter 2019

The new course specifically targets the Greek and Latin technical terminology of science, technology, law and medicine that came into being from the 17th century onward and creates an opportunity for students to learn it in a targeted format.

“In classics departments all over Canada, these sorts of courses have high enrolments,” said Dr. Milo Nikolic. “We have now closed a gap in our course offerings by putting it on the books here, as well.”

CLAS1900: Scientific Terms from Greek and Latin, will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the winter semester from 2–2:50 p.m. in A-1045. Follow along with Memorial’s classics news on Twitter @MUNClassics.


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