Latin is an inflected language where words change form according to grammatical
function. This teaches the student to observe precisely to understand what is being
presented. To show relationships between words, Latin changes noun and verb endings,
while in English relationship is shown mainly by word order.
An example to make this more concrete would be the noun puella (girl). In English we
determine the function of the noun by observing where it appears in the sentence.
The girl is coming home. In this sentence, the noun, girl, comes before the verb, is
coming. This tells us that girl is the subject of the sentence. If the sentence reads, The
teacher found the girl, the word, girl, now is the direct object answering what after the
verb. The teacher found what? The girl.
In Latin we would determine the function by carefully observing the noun’s ending. Using
our above sentence, The girl as the subject in Latin would be puella, while the girl that
the teacher found would be puellam.
This type of analysis is predictable and sensible. It helps form disciplined thought and
with practice becomes clear. Even elementary students who are not ready for formal
analysis can benefit from memorizing the vocabulary and chanting the declensions and