By the way, can I convert cassette recordings to digital format?
Yes you can do it and you should do it - as soon as possible. If you can't figure it out write to me privately as I believe I could in good conscience send you the mp3s since you already have the cassettes.
As an autodidact, I think parallel translations are unbeatable: they let us intuit how the target language works and build up a vocab without agonies of total bafflement.
Yes, but of course we will not have learned latin if we rely on parallel translations forever. However, for didactic purposes, they are the best - Lingua Latina notwithstanding. Actually I think LL is just another way of providing a parallel translation. The material is added gradually and the student mentally supplies the equivalent in his native tongue. Listening repeatedly to something that we understand perfectly in the target language as well as our native language is the optimum method of developing speaking ability. From speaking ability flows the ability to write.
As for writing/speaking Latin, Iâ€™m still stuck in my shell of silent shame â€“ ridiculously enough.
Cast all shame aside. Step forth boldly.
How did you start out?
I started by writing on the grex a number of years ago. Most of the writers on the Grex are expert. Nevertheless, I was warmly received even with my limping and error filled prose. I am still from far expert but I find the more I write the easier it becomes. I suggest that you join the Grex but I think you are unclear what the Grex is. The Grex has a web page where it links to various materials. But main action of the Grex is on the Listserve where the letters of the participants are distributed. When I say to join the grex that is what I mean. If you can't find out how to SUBSCRIBE let me know and I will dig up the information.
By producing sentences out of the blue in your bath tub?
Yes, in the tub and in the car and laying in bed.
Like you I am a great fan of the Oxford Latin Course. Verum est, ut videtur, quod homines magno ingenio aeque cogitant.
I applaud your 7-month plan of study.
When I am on a jag, as now, I tend to overextend myself. If I need to let something go in order to keep up with the Assimil I will do it. In other words Assimil is my focus for now. When I have mastered the principal parts of every verb, learned the gender and genitive of every noun, and have throughly digested every grammatical structure in the Assimil method I will do the same thing for Lingua Latina and Oxford. It should take about a year or year and half of very concentrated study. At that point I would hope I could negotiate almost any classical text with only occasional recourse to the dictionary. If not then I would think that basic methods need to incorporate much more vocabulary. We will see.
Your mention of Grex Latine Loquentium reminds me that I must check it out more often.
See my comments and subscribe to the Grex's listserve. You will be amazed. There are persons who write profusely with perfectly polished prose.
Now I must do a bit of Attic Greek.
I attempted a bit of Biblical Greek last Spring. I used the Rev. John Dobson's method which has a lot of similarities to the Assimil course. In four months I was able to pretty well translate at will from the Gospel of John (but not the letters of Paul). One day, God willing, I will return to Greek and to Sanskrit as well. But, friend, what a strange hobby we have! I mean ancient languages! So fascinating yet potentially alienating! What I miss most is persons in the flesh with whom I could share some poems, some verses, some idle conversation. Nonne sit jucundum recumbere cum amico vero sub tegmine vitis lagona meri in promptu. Ibi possimus agitare summas cogitationes philosophicas atque recitare aliquos versos nostri Horatii cari!