A Peek into a Not-so-Extinct Language

Adharsh Kennedy-Ganesh


The classics have been an integral part of the UCC curriculum since its founding in 1829. In the primordial days of language-studies at the school, Latin and Greek were mandatory courses. However, that has changed over the years— Greek was dropped from the curriculum entirely and Latin is no longer mandatory. As a student currently studying Latin, I can definitely say that it’s intellectually enriching and that the course offers a lot of in-depth knowledge of the language, culture, and society of Ancient Rome. Although modern languages such as French, Spanish and Mandarin are very important in communicating amongst various social-groups around the globe, Latin is unique because culture and language are intertwined throughout your four years. You could be learning a new grammar-tense, but also learn about the eruption of Mt.Vesuvius in Pompeii at the same time. Ms.Erb is the Head of the Classics Department at UCC, and she generously allocated some time to speak with me about the Classics program at our school.


Some quick information about her:


  • She loves to travel and has explored Europe many times
  • She wanted to expand her horizons and took a trip to Africa over the summer!
  • She loves music, singing and can play the piano
  • She loves to read and dabbles in philosophy


Ms.Erb first learned Latin in her second year of University. She took an ancient Roman philosophy course in her first year, which she found to be very interesting, and sat beside a girl who was studying Ancient Greek. Inspired by her classmate, she took Greek in the following year, which was part of a classics specialist course. Her keen interest in philosophy also resulted in her minoring in the subject. Ms.Erb was hired at UCC in September 1999, where she taught about 30 students while balancing her Latin courses with Canadian History. The scarcity of students taking Latin was because the IB hadn’t recognized the course as a category yet. Fortunately, In her 2nd year, Latin became an IB recognized language. This fact, combined with Ms.Erb continuing to inspire more students to take Latin, sooo resulted in a full teaching schedule of Latin courses. Her passion for teaching the course, combined with its amazing content, results in a great learning experience for everyone that takes Latin in their time at UCC.