Teach Young Children Greek and Hebrew
Dr. Michael Ford
24 October 2005
When I was in high school the two language studies offered other than English were Latin and French. We were told that Latin roots were the basis of English and French was the language of love and diplomacy. Recently I read the old claim that Latin is the basis of 65% of English and I no longer believe it as I did then. French, when I was a teen, may have been used by diplomats but English was the language that the world was seeking to learn as was Greek at the time the New Testament came together..
Neither will I accept a claim that Greek composes merely 5% of the English language. I have been using it and researching it too long to buy into those claims blindly any longer. While I think studying Latin benefits English vocabulary, languages like Greek and German are every bit as valuable, and letís face it, American English is also much influenced by Spanish. We Americans are a melting pot of language to some extent so we must decide what is most important.
Much of Western Christian thought is influenced by the Bible, the Hebrew people and the language that stems from it. The study of Hebrew and ancient Greek is useful to the promotion of the faith the production of leaders, as well as useful scholarship. Along with the study of languages must come the study of history if real body is to be given to the endeavor.
Americans lost much in discouraging homes operating bilingually in the past just as it is now losing through the emphasis on diversity. The truth is that the solution is not separation from our heritages or its exaltation, but the benefit of usage. Bilingual upbringing lends itself to facility in other languages because of the way it conditions the brain. This is one of the things that came out of psychological studies over the years. Americaís isolation and the lack of early conditioning of American brains to learn languages have probably contributed to the weakness exhibited in the U.S. in this area.
It had been my plan to introduce language study into age 5 curriculum at Christian school when ill health ended my work. I would have begun with Greek and Hebrew as my foundation languages ultimately producing the multilingual adults we need.
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Buchanan, Georgia 30113