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pedagogical question on self-instruction

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pedagogical question on self-instruction

Postby hlawson38 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:35 am

I'm a retired, age 74. Although I was a teacher by profession, I was not a language teacher. I've been studying Latin as a hobby for four years.

My practice had been just to plow ahead, reading one sentence after another, advancing about 30-50 lines per day on prose.

Like this:

Try to read the sentence. If I can't, look up unknown words, parse the words, and so on. If still stumped, read a translation, and study the sentence to make sure I can identify the stumbling blocks.

At this stage, I usually move on to the next sentence. Would it be better to do more repetitions of the same page before moving on, or does it work just as well to keep moving to new material.

What prompts this question: When, six months after reading a hard text, I look at it again, it still seems hard. Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, is an example.
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Re: pedagogical question on self-instruction

Postby Scribo » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:48 am

Everyone is different, but I personally believe in the value of two kinds of reading: one being very close reading, repeatedly, the other being a more broader type. If I were you I would mix and match, that is continue reading as broadly as you're doing but take a smaller section of text to re-read and do so in a close manner, noting grammatical and syntactical constructions, word choice and so on.

Not to worry though, you're clearly on the right path.
(Occasionally) Working on the following tutorials:

(P)Aristotle, Theophrastus and Peripatetic Greek
Intro Greek Poetry
Latin Historical Prose
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Re: pedagogical question on self-instruction

Postby Shenoute » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:06 pm


What do you mean exactly by "try to read the sentence" ? If you apply the grammar-translation approach (finding the verb first then the subject then...) you may find it hard to read extensive bits of Latin.
In this case, The Art of reading Latin could help you to develop a more intuitive approach of the Latin sentence.

Also, and if you're not already doing it, you may benefit from reading the works of one author instead of several. Getting acquainted with the subject, vocabulary, idioms of one author makes it easier to read quicker.

But whatever the method, the shift from learning Latin to reading confortably is always a long one, so as long as you're reading a lot, you will eventually get there.
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Re: pedagogical question on self-instruction

Postby cb » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:31 pm

hi, if you're struggling a few months later with texts that you've already worked through, then i suggest you try an exercise of determining what exactly is making you stall on the re-read.

over on the greek side i talked about this (see the second post here: http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... hp?t=11778 ) and so while the texts etc. that i mention there aren't relevant to latin, i think it could still be helpful for you to try the exercise of working out exactly what is making you stall on a re-read (e.g. vocab? something else?) and then work on that specifically.

also on the greek side there were later very helpful posts by markos and others pointing out something i missed, that sometimes these factors alone aren't an issue but in combination they can overwhelm causing your brain to crash. that you could also work on methodically too, getting a better grasp of each part so that the whole is not so daunting to a brain trying to grasp everything on the fly while reading.

if you try one of these approaches and it helps, it would be great if you could let others know as i'm sure you're not the only one having this difficulty! cheers, chad
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Re: pedagogical question on self-instruction

Postby hlawson38 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:47 pm

Thanks to Scribo, Shenoute, and cb for answering. Each was helpful. Shenoute IIRC asked had I read Hale, The Art of Reading Latin; I have and I like the advice Hale gives.

For the time being I'm reading Cicero, doing a second pass through de Senectute.

I agree with cb's daunting list of matters to be overcome in reading a text.
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