The Collected Works of David van Wert


The word “Preface” comes from Latin roots: “pre” meaning “before” and “face” meaning “face.” Therefore, a “preface” is whatever comes “before” your “face.”

Depending on how you look at it (rightside up or upside down), this could either be your neck or your hair. And so, in the spririt of inclusionism, for the purposes of this collection, let us consider “preface” to mean “neck hair.”

There are many words in the English language with Latin roots. For example, there is the word “Latin” itself, which means “Hispanic.” Yes, the ancient Spaniards of Rome contributed much to what we now know as “Modern Day English.” From “Habeas Corpus” (meaning “you’re screwed”) to “Corpus Christi” (meaning “it’s Spring Break in Texas, let’s screw on the beach”), the Latin language is still alive and well, even though all of the original speakers are long dead. Why else would so many Texan collegiates exclaim the phrase, “Vidi, vici, veni!” (which means “I saw, I conquered, I came!”) after a night on the beach in Corpus Christi? They wouldn’t, quite frankly.

An understanding of ancient Latin is fundamental to the proper use of current English, or current “American” as it will soon be known. For instance, if you aren’t aware that “Aqua Velva” means “Smooth Water” are you likely to splash it upon your face after shaving? I think not. And if you don’t know that “Ego Amo Te” mean “I love you” would you be likely to say it to some Latin babe on the beaches of Corpus Christi? Again, I think not.

I think not most of the time, which is why the Latin language is so important to me. As both a scholar and a guy who’s looking to impress drunk chicks on Spring Break, my knowledge of Latin is an indespensible tool, even though I myself am a completely dispensible tool.

And so I urge you to learn Latin. The knowledge it will bring you far surpasses anything measured by the LSAT, GMAT, or other standardized tests– it is the knowledge of “life” or what the Latins called nothing in particular because they had no word for “life.”