LANDER, WY- WCC’s Latin program is a unique and intensive curriculum that instills in students a command and fluency of the language that is rivaled by few. Any who have had the opportunity to experience the memorable teaching methods of Dr. Hamilton requires no convincing of this.
One of the reasons that Latin is taught at WCC, according to the school’s website, is in hopes of “facilitating and encouraging firsthand encounters with the Catholic and Western cultural tradition and making possible direct access to much of the seminal thoughts and literary masterpieces of Western Civilization.” By this, of course, they refer to the works of both Ancient Rome and the Catholic Church, both integral parts of Western Civilization, to be sure.
But, are they the only parts of Western Civilization? Certainly not! For a while, the “West” was populated by barbarian tribes, all of which intermingled and intermarried. Who did the Romans battle time and time again? The Germanic Tribes. Who raided along the coast of Europe, clashing with the Catholic Church on numerous occasions? The Vikings. What language did these tribes speak?
Old Norse. Such an emphasis on the typical aspects of Western Civilization (Greeks, Romans, the Church, etc.) permeates almost every other aspect of WCC. Why not expand our horizons?
Thus, I suggest we take a hiatus from the Latin Immersion program with an “Old Norse Immersion” program put in its place. This program will plunge students into the Viking Age and Dark Ages. The Old Norse Immersion program will be taught by the distinguished Dr. Lars Larssen, who holds a Ph.D in Viking Studies at Oslo University in Norway.
Not only will students learn how to say “Hail Odin” in the thick, rolling language of the barbarians (“Heill Óðinn”), but they will also learn to write in various runic styles. Depending on the student’s year, they will learn to write fluidly and elegantly in either Elder Futhark runes, Younger Futhark, or Anglo-Saxon.
The immersion aspect of the program will not be ignored either. Students will get to wear horned helmets, wield battle axes, and even partake in “immersion raids” where they will only be allowed to speak in Old Norse as they raid an establishment of their choice. Ideal options include NOLS and the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.