Slappo wrote:I eventually want to be able to look at Latin and semi-automatically translate it in my head rather then trying to figure out what kind of grammar is being used.
You'll be able to do even better than this if you stick with your studies. Reading a foreign language can work in different phases, and you hint at this here. First, you spend your time trying to figure out the grammatical constructions; this is when you're still trying to memorize the paradigms and constructions. Second, you read the sentence and try to figure out what it means in your native language. This is what you say your aiming at. However, there is a third stage that's best of all and should be your ultimate goal; that is, you read the Latin sentence and you immediately understand
(not translate) what it says. This may sound impossible, but it's not, and this is the standard in all living languages. If you read enough Latin (outside of grammar books) you'll begin to acquire this third stage, but it takes time.
modus.irrealis wrote:So that's another option. I mean, there are a lot of books from the late 19th century, early 20th century that are geared towards teenage students and they have extensive notes which I found helpful. And although some of them use a modified text to make things easier, there are a lot that use the actual Latin.
I heartily second this recommendation. Early school texts have been very helpful in helping me with Greek. Possibly the best part is that there are so many of them freely available online, via Google Books etc. Chances are if you Google Caeser, Cicero, or any classical author, lots of editions will come up with varying levels of commentary and translation. If you need extra help, don't be afraid to look at the commentaries of multiple editions; each editor can explain things in different ways. Once you're further along in your Latin, you may find it helpful to use editions that include Latin commentary, often by way of paraphrase or simple explanations.
If you're looking for a modern and very helpful treatment of Caesar in the style of Lingua Latina (because it's by the same author!), check this out:http://www.amazon.com/Lingua-Latina-Cae ... 518&sr=1-9
It was my first Latin text after transitioning off of Wheelock and it was a great boon.