Defining the "educated man or woman" is very difficult to do. However, most would agree that the knowledge of at least one language would surely be an important item on the list. If wе review the history of the study of languages, we find that the study of Latin and Greek was, for many centuries, necessary for any scholar. As late as the middle of the 19th century, an educated person could read in their original form the works of great writers and thinkers, both ecclesiastical and secular.
By the later part of the 19th century, individual disciplines such as chemistry, botany, and geology began tо evolve. Specialization in particular fields, including modern languages such as French and German, became necessary, because it was no longer possible for an individual to be well read in many subject areas and stay current on rapid developments in industry, science, and medicine.
The study of European languages is considered as part of а classic education. One could read and approach the literature, art, and architectural heritage of Europe more closely with an appreciation for, if not fluency in, one of the European languages. To have been exposed to foreign languages is a hallmark of good scholarship and a “proper education”.