Latin and Greek Acquire Hipster Status in Australia

Some excerpts from the Sydney Morning Herald:

LATIN is up. So is legal studies. Visual arts and studies of religion have dropped slightly in the rankings but remain in the top 15 most popular courses for students undertaking this year’s Higher School Certificate, with exams to begin on Monday.

[…]

Latin is slightly up on last year with 173 students enrolled in the continuers course, making it the 14th most popular language course. Classical Greek has nine enrolments in continuers and six in extension despite being taught in only five high schools in the state. Classical Hebrew has experienced something of a revival this year, with 37 students enrolled in continuers, up on 28 last year.

”Classical languages are alive and well in NSW which is not necessarily the case in other places,” Ms Taylor said. ”There is always a small but significant number of students who see value in classical study. They are a very passionate group of students and teachers, I can tell you.”

The head of classics at Pymble Ladies’ College and president of the Classical Languages Teachers Association, Emily Matters, said reports of the demise of dead languages have been grossly exaggerated. ”People sometimes express surprise that they are still being taught but it hasn’t stopped. The one thing I regret is that more children aren’t given access.”

Dr Matters has adapted the 2nd-century story Cupid and Psyche for the stage in a production in Latin and Classical Greek. More than 60 students from 10 schools are involved in the production.

Grant Kynaston, a Sydney Grammar School student who plays Cupid, is studying Latin and Classical Greek and believes the ancient languages are coming back into vogue. ”They are hipster subjects,” he said. ”But seriously, it’s interesting to be able to read things which have maintained their relevance for two or three thousand years.”

Emily Baird, from Sydney Girls High School, who plays Psyche, was drawn to Latin for its meditative qualities. ”It’s quite therapeutic – that’s my inner-nerd coming out,” she said. ”I find it quite calming to go to Latin after doing English.”

… checking out the original article is a good thing: there’s a brief newsish video about the Cupid and Psyche production mentioned above …

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