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Churchill's quote

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Churchill's quote

Postby yee0890 » Thu May 01, 2008 8:41 pm

I am looking for this quote by Churchill about Latin and Greek.
I read it quite long ago from The Guns of August... and so I only remember certain parts of it: "I will teach (smart ones, clever students, etc) Latin, and Greek to delight them..." or something similar to that.

If you know, please let me know..
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Re: Churchill's quote

Postby thesaurus » Thu May 01, 2008 9:49 pm

yee0890 wrote:I am looking for this quote by Churchill about Latin and Greek.
I read it quite long ago from The Guns of August... and so I only remember certain parts of it: "I will teach (smart ones, clever students, etc) Latin, and Greek to delight them..." or something similar to that.

If you know, please let me know..


Here is the full quote, which actually doesn't speak too much in favor of the Classics when taken in the real context, but I agree with Churchill in full:
And when after years my schoolfellows who had won prizes and distinction for writing such beautiful Latin poetry and pithy Greek epigrams had come down again to common English, to earn their living or make their way, I did not feel myself at any disadvantage. Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for would be for not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.
Last edited by thesaurus on Sat May 03, 2008 3:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Discipulus Tristis » Fri May 02, 2008 8:35 pm

Does anyone know the source of this quote?
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Postby thesaurus » Fri May 02, 2008 9:17 pm

Discipulus Tristis wrote:Does anyone know the source of this quote?


Churchill, Winston S. My Early Life: A Roving Commission (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1930), p. 17.
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Postby timeodanaos » Fri May 02, 2008 10:24 pm

May I assume that he speaks of English as a mothertongue when demanding that boys should learn it thoroughly, just as I would want to whip the boys not learning proper Danish as Danes?

If the quote was to be interpreted as a demand for English to be widely and generally regarded as a global language of international communication, then I do not agree at all. Latin would do just fine if people were to learn it. Then there would be no cultural or linguistic dominance of any specific people.

As I am quite sure my first thought is what Churchill meant, don't mind my rambling.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Fri May 02, 2008 10:40 pm

It was certainly a dictum meant for English children.

Churchill, of course, is wrong. :) But that's okay, still a nice guy.
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Postby yee0890 » Sat May 03, 2008 2:45 am

Thank you Thesaurus!
It bugged me for days.. and I was about to use it in a wrong context. ;)
Vale
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Postby thesaurus » Sat May 03, 2008 3:55 am

timeodanaos wrote:May I assume that he speaks of English as a mothertongue when demanding that boys should learn it thoroughly, just as I would want to whip the boys not learning proper Danish as Danes?

If the quote was to be interpreted as a demand for English to be widely and generally regarded as a global language of international communication, then I do not agree at all. Latin would do just fine if people were to learn it. Then there would be no cultural or linguistic dominance of any specific people.

As I am quite sure my first thought is what Churchill meant, don't mind my rambling.


The quote is directed at his fellow countryman. He himself was classed among the "dunces" and thus only taught English, but by learning to express himself fully in his mother tongue he felt he actually had the practical advantage. And it's about time we start whipping our children again, regardless of the language!
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