There are two classical language subjectsin junior cycle: Latin and Ancient Greek. You may get the opportunity to study one or maybe both of these subjects in your school. Latin and Ancient Greek still live on in the languages we speak today. They are invaluable in understanding English and of great help in learning modern European languages. They are our direct link to the world of Greece and Rome.

What will I learn in Latin/Ancient Greek?

Some of the things you will learn include:

  • how to read, understand and enjoy Latin/Ancient Greek
  • how language works by studying the grammar of the language's
  • how to translate interesting stories in Latin/Ancient Greek
  • find out who the Greeks or the Romans were,what they achieved and why they remain important to us today
  • about some of the main events and personalities of classical history
  • what life was like in classical times.

How will I learn Latin/Ancient Greek in school?

Some of the things you may do with your teacher and your classmates are:

  • read Latin/Ancient Greek aloud in class
  • study Roman/Greek history and civilisation, Roman social life or Greek myth and legend
  • use a textbook, a dictionary, CD-ROMs and the Internet, as well as other materials
  • use evidence from the past to gain insight into the Ancient World
  • compare your world with the classical world
  • work on your own, but also in pairs and in groups.

Some other things that will help you learn in class are:

  • asking questions
  • keeping a file of your notes and handouts; they will be useful for learning and for revision!

How can I learn more about Latin/Ancient Greek outside of school?

Some of the things you may do are:

  • talk to family and friends about the classical languages
  • go to films and plays about the classical world
  • visit museums, exhibitions and places of classical interest
  • notice how often we use words and expressions which come to us from the classical languages
  • look at buildings in the classical style in your area
  • use the internet to find out more about the Greeks or Romans and their languages
  • read books and articles about Greece and Rome.

How will I know how I am getting on?

Your teacher will let you know:

  • what you did well
  • where you need to improve
  • what you could do to improve.

Other things you may do are:

  • look back over your work and previous class tests to see how you have improved.

What are the Latin/Ancient Greek Junior Certificate exams like?

In each exam, you will read and respond to different types of questions.
There will be sections with passages in Latin/Ancient Greek to be translated; a comprehension passage; an optional question requiring translation into Latin/Ancient Greek;short questions on Roman or Greek history and Roman or Greek social life.
You can take each exam at Higher or at Ordinary level. When the time comes to decide, your teacher will help you choose the level that suits you best.

Is learning Latin/Ancient Greek anything like what I did in primary school?

Learning a classical language will probably be a new experience for you. However, you will quickly begin to make connections with words and forms you have already met in your primary school in English, Irish and other languages. You may have read or listened to, and discussed stories from Greek and Roman myth as part of English. You may also have learned about the Greeks or Romans in SESE:History.

Will Latin/Ancient Greek have anything to do with other subjects I will be studying?

You will find that the classical languages have strong links with English, Irish and other languages you may be studying such as French, Spanish and Italian (which all came directly from Latin). There are also links with History and Art, Craft, Design, and, through the study of some aspects of Roman history, with CSPE.

How will Latin/Ancient Greek be useful to me?

The classical languages will be useful to you in:

  • helping you solve problems and think for yourself
  • helping you to express yourself and your ideas more clearly
  • increasing your vocabulary
  • helping you to learn other languages
  • improving your general knowledge.

You can also continue studying classical languages at third level when you leave school.

Will Latin/Ancient Greek be very different afterthe Junior Certificate?

In Leaving Certificate Ancient Greek and Latin you will continue to build on the knowledge and skills you gained through your Junior Cert. courses.

[Information sourced from]