Textkit Logo

Latin Drills and overlearning

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby A.A.I » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:05 am

Salvete omnes!

Recently, I discovered something shocking. I actually like doing language drills! I also love to see lots of example sentences when learning a new grammatical point. I just don't like being forced to do a bunch of grammar and then get a text with a couple of examples. It's simply neither an efficient nor enjoyable use of my time.

So, I am interested in creating a bunch of sentences / patterns for drilling. Perhaps there are some good ones already? Perhaps there are some books which could provide patterns and/or inspiration? Perhaps, somebody would be interested in working with me on some project which we could sort of make up as we go. I've got some ideas already but nothing is set in stone yet.

Comments? Criticism? Questions? Go ahead.
A.A.I
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:25 am

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby A.A.I » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:26 am

Since this took a while to get approved, it's moved down and probably nobody will see it.

*bump*
A.A.I
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:25 am

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby Shenoute » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:00 am

Salve,

I agree, repetition of basic sentences seems essential to me. That's why I'm so disappointed with all these methods based only on "authentic texts" (a requirement in the French school system for the last 15/20 years). As if learning English or German should begin with Shakespeare and Goethe. Lessons having ten lines of "real Latin", which of course need to be followed by 50 vocabulary and grammar notes, simply do not give enough practice for the language to stick.

On a side note, drills and overlearning are (were ?) the two pillars of the Foreign Institute Service language courses. So even if it might not be the best method for everyone, there's something to be said for it.

Back to Latin, Wright's First Latin Steps does exactly this. Each grammatical section is followed by more than 100 simple sentences illustrating this particular grammar point.
If a boy is set to translate a sentence out of a Latin author, however easy, or out of a Delectus, he is puzzled by having to deal with several distinct constructions at once. Here he has to deal with only one construction at a time.
This construction is made clear to him by an accumulation of instances. Perhaps these may seem more numerous than is necessary; but I believe that we can hardly give too many instances, if we wish to impress a fact clearly on a boy's mind.
Shenoute
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:23 pm

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby Seraphinus » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:10 pm

Shenoute wrote:As if learning English or German should begin with Shakespeare and Goethe. Lessons having ten lines of "real Latin", which of course need to be followed by 50 vocabulary and grammar notes, simply do not give enough practice for the language to stick.
I couldn't have said it more concisely. I'm still somewhat shocked at the standard method used for teaching Latin. Even in textbooks I've been able to find where almost all sentences are made up by the Author, as in MacNaughton and McDougall's A New Approach to Latin (1973), they still use an appallingly small number of drills. (MN&MD typically use 10 drills in most lessons out of the ~65 there are, though some 4 or 5 of them have 20. A significant number doesn't have any.)

As an aside, but always on the topic on Latin teaching methodology, I've always hated that all books I've used didn't present any semantic space, but just kept on adding random new words to the vocab depending on the lesson's reading. This is a standard thing to do for at least a few basic semantic spaces (common colours, parts of the body especially the face, domestic animals, teaching materials). What is the real difference between bucca -ae, gena -ae and māla -ae? What about faciēs -ēī vs. uultus -ūs? (And rōstrum -ī!) Is ōs ōris really limited to the lips and what's inside, as English "mouth" is? (Apparently it includes the whole lower half of the face.)
Last edited by Seraphinus on Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
ēlūcet mâiōrem habēre vim ad discenda ista līberam cūriōsitātem quam meticulōsam necessitātem
It is clear that a free curiosity has a greater force in order to learn these things [languages] than a necessity based on fear. (St. Augustine, Cōnfessiōnēs I.14)
User avatar
Seraphinus
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:06 am
Location: British Columbia / Colombie Britannique

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby A.A.I » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:46 pm

Ok. It seems that the pair of you get what I mean. Most people in the language learning community would reject such an idea before trying it - if they understood it.

Thank you both for the suggestions. I'm get looking into them over the next while.

I'll be back in this thread, perhaps with some questions on how to create further drills from patterns I am less sure of.
A.A.I
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:25 am

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby Markos » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:10 pm

Let me just say in passing that I totally endorse the type of pedagogy being proposed here. I have been proposing, promoting and producing similar materials for Ancient Greek, so I will be following with interest what you (vos) come up with here.
Markos
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1284
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby Scribo » Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:19 pm

First, wow Wright's book looks amazingly useful. I had no idea it didn't exist.

Secondly if the comment about the language learning community disagreeing was to do with overlearning, I'm somewhat shocked in the sense that I've always thought it to be the dominant method? Its common in Classics, its common in other literary disciplines and my friends who have moved on to e.g the Government claim its common there too. Its a wonderful method.

Semantic space: I...sort of agree. On one hand, you can increase fluency by constantly playing with a smaller number of words in the early stages rather than stress and confuse with a massive influx of vocab. True, but its always imperative to keep the student moving quickly and make sure they get a lot of words memorised.
User avatar
Scribo
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 694
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Between Ilias and Odysseia.

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby bedwere » Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:43 pm

Markos wrote:Let me just say in passing that I totally endorse the type of pedagogy being proposed here. I have been proposing, promoting and producing similar materials for Ancient Greek, so I will be following with interest what you (vos) come up with here.

Τί λέγεις περὶ τοῦδε;

Quid dicis de hoc? :D
User avatar
bedwere
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 455
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:23 pm
Location: Didacopoli in California

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby Shenoute » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:28 am

Scribo wrote:First, wow Wright's book looks amazingly useful. I had no idea it didn't exist.

Yes, there's a lot of really nice ressources outside of the "classic" grammar-translation books. No book is perfect but finding one you like to work with is always great ! It's surprising that Wright did not publish the same kind of book for Greek. His Attic Primer is just another classical, dull, uninspired, already-published-a-million-times grammar. The closest thing I've found to Wright's Latin book is Adams' A new Greek delectus (though I haven't looked at the one Bedwere has posted).

As drills are concerned, there's also the Prendergast method which is based on mastering (i. e. overlearning) lots of sentences and then substitute words previously learned to the ones used in the sentences.

The second half of the XIXth century seems to have been an amazing time for language learning, with people publishing all kind of works. Not sure they achieved what they wanted to but at least this means lots of interesting books for us :)
Shenoute
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:23 pm

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby A.A.I » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:56 am

Markos,

Watch this space, something is bound to happen eventually! :)

Scribo,

From what I've seen, most people are now learning languages with rapid learn-to-speak in 30 days methods and the like. (Or - not learning them...) Perhaps it's different in some classrooms but for most learners, overlearning is either unknown or doesn't sound fun enough. I don't know how they do things in classics but FSI and DLI are certainly champions of it.

I've been looking into WAYK for Latin and am starting to use a modification of it plus some plain old TPR. Vocabulary certainly isn't the focus. Instead, it's grammatical structures and basic communication which are emphasised. I'm rather keen on spoken Latin, so this is perfect for me. You'll have to keep in mind that my own circumstances don't involve a classroom. My wife is completely new to language learning. The slower pace is great for her in this early stage.

Of course, those techniques alone would not be sufficient: we use other materials (textbooks, reading texts, etc).

Shenoute,

The Prendergast book is very interesting. Thanks for that!


To anyone reading this thread:

A busy time of the year for me right now. Nothing much to post here yet but I'm actively pursuing this. I'm thinking that a little wiki, somewhere, would be good for working on it. If anyone has some tips that they'd like to share, I'd appreciate it very much.

Thanks for the great replies!
A.A.I
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:25 am

Re: Latin Drills and overlearning

Postby reptilia5 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:42 am

Scott's First Latin Lessons is a great book for finding sentences to grammar patterns you may have studied or already are studying. I use this book as a supplement for my son's lessons. Find it on archive.org.
reptilia5
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:05 pm


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Barry Hofstetter, Bing [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Lord_WayneY and 50 guests