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Latin courses to be offered this fall at NMSU

Latin: It's the basis of the five romance languages, gateway to Latin literature and Roman culture. Eighty percent of Spanish words are derived from it and 60 percent of English words are related to it, and for the first time in a decade, New Mexico State University students have the opportunity to take beginning Latin courses.

Laurie Churchill, a professor of English at NMSU, has years of experience teaching Latin at all levels and says learning the language can improve both reading and writing skills.

"We're trying to revive Latin at NMSU," Churchill said. "A lot of what students will be learning in the classroom consists of word roots and grammar. After taking Latin, students will understand English grammar in a way they never have before. Knowing Latin also makes it much easier to learn other languages like Spanish and Italian which are derived from Latin."

Churchill began taking Latin courses in seventh grade, a requirement at the private girl's school she attended in Connecticut. She continued to take Latin throughout high school and college and went on to teach high-school Latin for six years. She holds a bachelor's degree in classical civilization from Boston University, a master of arts in teaching: Latin and classical humanities from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and a Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Cruz in literature, with a focus on Latin and English. She came to NMSU in 2000 and held positions in program coordination and administration for various units before returning to the classroom.

"I'm so happy to be back in the classroom and I appreciate that I have the opportunity to teach Latin here at the university," Churchill said.

Churchill's Latin courses will include linguistics and word structure as well as reading selections from Latin literature. The course is open to any interested undergraduate and graduate students. For more information on the course contact Churchill at 575-646-4015 or ljchurch@nmsu.edu.