Latyn en die opleiding van regstudente in Suid-Afrika: 'n nuwe relevansie
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Latin and the training of law students in South Africa: A new relevance This article reviews both the traditional arguments in favour of the retention of Latin as a compulsory university course for law students in South Africa and the reasons for its abolition in 1996. The changed position of Latin as a school and university subject in South Africa today. the new political and academic environment. and the demands of a four-year LLB course add even more weight to the arguments of those who advocated the abolition of Latin in the emotional debate which took place during the 1980's and 1990's. The academic profile of students entering university has, however, also changed dramatically over the past decade. University lecturers worldwide are increasingly concerned with students' lack of linguistic skills. their inability to concentrate, memorise, analyse, solve problems and think logically - skills which are indispensable to the legal practitioner. In the debate on the usefulness of Latin for the law student, its so-called "formative" value and the role it plays in the development of the very academic skills which today's students lack, were never in dispute and recent research substantiates these claims. In order to accommodate today's law students and their specific needs, Latin lecturers must therefore redefine the aims of their teaching. The improvement of general literacy and the honing of the academic and professional skills of future lawyers should replace the traditional aims which different circumstances dictated. A proper understanding of Latin legal maxims. correct pronunciation of Latin words, and the practical and functional use of a Latin dictionary will add to the subject's practical usefulness. If classicists adapt their methods according to these "new" outcomes. Latin, which used to be labelled the "obstacle" in the path of future legal practitioners. will smooth the academic way for them and still play its part in ensuring the quality of legal practice in South Africa as it did for many years. "Ever since the ancient Romans imposed their language on neighboring barbarians, the teaching of Latin - who learns it, and why - has been inseparable from cultural politics".
- Faculty of Law