Defining the "educated man or
woman" is very difficult to do. However, most would agree that the
knowledge of at least one language would surely be an important item on the
list. If wе review the
history of the study of languages, we find that the study of Latin and Greek
was, for many centuries, necessary for any scholar. As late as the middle of
the 19th century, an educated person could read in their original form the
works of great writers and thinkers, both ecclesiastical and secular.
By the later part of the 19th
century, individual disciplines such as chemistry, botany, and geology began tо evolve. Specialization in
particular fields, including modern languages such as French and German, became
necessary, because it was no longer possible for an individual to be well read
in many subject areas and stay current on rapid developments in industry,
science, and medicine.
The study of European languages is
considered as part of а
classic education. One could read and approach the literature, art, and
architectural heritage of Europe more closely with an appreciation for, if not
fluency in, one of the European languages. To have been exposed to foreign
languages is a hallmark of good scholarship and a “proper education”.
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