Once upon a time I possessed sufficient ignorance and moral certainty to rail against “dead languages,” to wit Greek and Latin, and their valorization for their part in the “Western Canon.” On some level, I still think valorization of the “Western Canon” is mistaken, but so do I think that about the idea of “dead languages.” My own comments on dead languages ended when I discovered, to my surprise and chagrin, that Greek and Latin are very much alive in the roots of the English language.
Anyway, if you’d like your students to understand this, perhaps this Cultural Literacy worksheet on dead languages will help.
If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.