It's All Greek to Me

Article excerpt

AS an altar boy, while I had no idea at the time what they meant, Latin phrases rolled off my tongue with ease in response to words spoken in Latin by the priest.

Some years later in high school after my altar boy days had ended, it was compulsory to do Latin in what was then known as Third Year a today it would be Year 9.

I'm still not quite sure why it was compulsory, but being a Catholic school there was probably hope that some of the boys would go on to become priests or perhaps doctors, because I'm sure back in those days doctors had to write their prescriptions in Latin.

Looking at some of the handwriting on prescriptions today, maybe they still do.

Learning Latin also had something to do, I believe, with understanding the structure of the English language.

Whatever, it was all gobbledegook to me and I happily dropped it the following year, but not before the Latin verb to prepare and its variations, paro, paras, parant, paramus, paratis, parant, became embedded in my head forever through constant repetition. …