I decided to take up Latin because I think it will help my understanding of terms in law. Are there any lawyers who have done this and seen it to benefit you? I plan on continuing learning the language even if it doesn't since I would like to learn many languages based in Latin.

January 9, 2020

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It would not really help. Latin only comes up very rarely in legal discussions. Even when it does the lawyer needs to understand the legal concept behind the words rather than the translation of the words. Example: “quid pro quo” has been in the media a lot lately. it means “this for that” or something for something. But you could just look that up if you needed to know and a lawyer needs to understand the legal significance. On the other hand learning Latin on DL is fun so do it if you want to.

Learning Latin will help you understand the origins of many law terms, but won't necessarily help you with learning law terms because firstly the words in them don't all have their original Latin meaning and secondly you won't come across many (any?) of them in the course here.

Learning Latin really doesn't give you any advantages when learning languages that had their origins in Latin. In a few cases, it will help you recognise the meanings of words that otherwise you might have puzzled over or had to look up, but at the same time it can be confusing because modern words (for example in Spanish and French) have nearly all changed their spelling from their origins. It will, however, help you to understand grammar and sentence structure, declension and conjugation, and the use of cases for words in sentences, which, bizarrely perhaps, tends to apply more to the modern languages that didn't come from Latin in the first place (perhaps because many of them are less developed and tend to retain older types of sentence structure.)

If you're going to learn Latin, do it because you want to learn Latin, not because you think it's going to help you in other areas. The help it will give you is minimal.

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    Latin is a language that helps with a lot. I take it as astudent in school, and it has helped with other foreign languages and helped with my english!

    As others have said, you need to understand the modern legal concept, not the literal translation of Latin law terms.

    However, if you are / aim to become a lawyer, I think reading and studying Latin orators such as Cicero in the original could be quite educational and interesting for you. Cicero is probably the most famous and brilliant lawyer in history, but his excellence, wit and sharpness really doesn't shine through so well in translation.

    Knowing how to read Latin well might give you an edge in some studies related to jurisprudence or legal history, and especially that of the civil law system, considering the antecedents of Roman law. I don't know how it is in your country of residence, but in mine (Mexico) a course on "Roman law" is given the first semester.You won't read any law in Latin but if you go down some paths you will eventually encounter Latin if at least in the form of quotations in works by authors who were fluent and knowledgeable in Classical Latin and Ancient Greek, and depending on the edition you are reading it might or might not have translations of whoever deceased and distinguished Roman or Greek citizen is being quoted.

    And in any case Latin will give you a huge edge in learning other Romance tongues, so that is reason enough to learn it :)

    Super interesting.

    I feel like a dark horse in this discussion is how often Latin, classical Greek, French and German are absolutely assumed in all humanities academic disciplines. Part of the reason I'd like to learn these languages is the huge untranslated chunks of quotation I'm simply expected to parse, because the education system 100 years ago enabled the writer to do so.

    Or the way they're often assumed in literature, even popular literature, of the past--I'm thinking of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, for example.

    Which I love! But also, non placetme.

    I dont think knowing that a drunk parrot could help you in law.

    Anything that sparks or encourages your interest in Latin is good; if Duolingo gets you interested in learning more Latin, then it's done its job, and that's great!

    One encounters the Latin phrases still used in (American) law from time to time: like, to adjourn a court case sine die ( lit., "without a day/date"), without a set date to resume it; nolo contendere (lit., "I don't want to fight"), meaning the accused doesn't contest the charge--but isn't considered as guilty; and amicus curiae (lit., "a friend of the court"), describing a brief filed by an interested party that's meant to help the judge decide on the issues in a case.

    (I believe I've given those correctly!)

    If you know Latin, it does help you learn other Romance languages, in my experience.

    Good luck, and have fun!

    It may well depend on where you live. Tbh I've worked as a paralegal in the US and UK, &I'd find it useful as well as interesting. There's a whole section in David Copperfield where the book's requisite Bad Lawyer says his incapacity with Latin makes his job harder, and as the UK legal profession constantly laments, not that much has changed since 1850.

    I don't think Latin on Duolingo will help you in terms of law. Latin on duo is more for day to day usage.

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