I would like to know why people have chosen to study Latin. I am not looking for personal anecdotes but statistics. Are there any studies on why students who choose Latin do so? If there are several, I am ideally interested in the most broad or reliable ones. But since I don't know what is out there, I don't want to set the bar too high.

Notice that I would like to know why people choose to study Latin, not why they do study Latin. A large number of students — teachers or Romance languages, for example — will have to take a course or two in Latin whether they want it or not. My interest here is in willful choice of Latin, not compulsory. I can imagine several different reasons (had to take one course and fell in love, need to use Latin for other interests like philosophy, interest in Roman culture or history, just happening to like the language, thinking it is cool, trying to avoid PE, disliking other language options, …), but it is hard to tell which reasons are most important.

  • The line between "compulsory" and "voluntary" is rather blurry... I doubt there are many schools where a) attendance is legally required and b) foreign language study is required and c) Latin is the only language offered. Other than that scenario, basically everything is optional... high school students might be required to take a foreign language, but get to pick which one. University students in certain majors could be required to take Latin, but they could choose a different major or university to avoid it. So perhaps the reasons that people do study Latin will be enlightening as well. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 20:18
  • @Nathaniel Agreed. I do see a difference between wanting to study Latin per se and accepting some compulsory Latin to get a degree in French, but it is true that most can avoid Latin entirely if they are willing to change their school or major. I just didn't want the data to be dominated by answers like "Latin was a compulsory part of the degree program", but I'm not sure if that is an issue.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 8:44
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    I would be interested to hear how many people chose Latin because they didn't want to take a different language. That's my original reason! I chose Latin in high school because I had been forced to take Spanish for eight years previously, and having learned nothing whatsoever, I decided it was time to move on to something better. I do not regret that decision!
    – Sam K
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 16:25
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    To read the Gallic Wars by JC and the poetry of Catullus... Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 14:12
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    @R.Skeeter pretty much the same here, I used the Gallic Wars of JC as lorem ipsum for a long time and finally wanted to be able to read what they actually said. Thankfully I now know that Gaul, as a whole, is divided into 3 parts... Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 13:22


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