Gil wrote:And I've read on these boards that Lingua Latina doesn't really encourage students to translate. Should I be worried about that because college Latin is very heavy on translation work? Would the traditional Wheelock's be better for me? Thanks!
Wheelock will be a good grammar supplement for Lingua Latina. I would do readings from it after you've worked through relevant chapters of LL. Both volume of LL over the summer is probably too ambitious, however. If you had already completed Wheelock's you could do it, but I wouldn't recommend it now. Try rereading the first volume (out loud!) if you finish it.
What you need to realize is that translation isn't some higher form of reading Latin, but a cruder and worse one. The kind of translation you'll be doing in your Prose and Poetry class will be this: read a sentence word by word trying to figure out all the grammatical constructions, then struggle to join them all together in an awkwardly constructed English sentence, only then knowing what the whole sentence 'says'. In other words, people will be decoding sentences as if they were a puzzle and not actually reading them like you read this sentence. If this sounds horrible that's because it is.
If you were to finish two volumes of Lingua Latina, however, you'd be able to sight read most of the material in the class and understand what the Latin means. If asked to, you could then produce an English sentence that conserves the meaning of the Latin without slavishly trying to mimick the function of each word.
If you nail the Lingua Latina course you'd find yourself far ahead of your classmates. This isn't because they're dumb, but because they've never learned to naturally read Latin. Forget third-quarter proficiency; in my third-year
course on Cicero (which contained various 4th year students, too) most students never really succeeded in being able to smoothly read the prose. And I'm not even taking about sight-readings... The main thing that set me apart from other enthusiastic students was that I had read Lingua Latina (in addition to the standard Wheelock's training), and had approached Latin as I would any other language.