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How to study Latin everyday

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How to study Latin everyday

Postby Aquinas » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:11 pm

For the folks that are old pros, and even those that aren't but have some success with their Latin learning habits, what do you do? Do you have a certain time that you read everyday, or do you not read everyday but do flashcards or something instead?

I ask because I'm having a hard time establishing good habits because I worry that I might be spinning my wheels. My grammar is strong but vocabulary is weak. I've seen some websites that list like 2 or 3 hundred "essential" Latin words; would it be worth memorizing those out of context (say, with flashcards)?

Basically, I'm gettin a little discouraged with my poor vocabulary. I try to learn new words through reading but it just sucks to always be looking up words; it ruins the flow of the sentence. I don't know.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:43 am

I hate being a broken record, but I feel that Ørberg's Lingua Latina is definitely the answer — nonne assentimini, amici qui eo libro usi sunt? The vocabulary delivered, in context, is just supreme.

I actually rewrote each chapter, a chapter a day, typing them up to practice syntax and to absorb vocabulary. It worked splendidly. Otherwise, if there is some text you are using, do a chapter every day, for example.

Another option: write a journal entry for yourself about daily activities, every day. Quotidian modern Latin vocabulary is elaborated upon in John Traupman's Conversational Latin.
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Vocabulary learning

Postby metrodorus » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:15 pm

For vocabulary learning, you can experiment with the oral vocab lists, arranged by subject matter, which you will find on Latinum
http://latinum.mypodcast.com
Some users are reporting success with the vocabulary building materials on Latinum.

The image cards on Schola in the photographiae section also are helpful - although here there is a very wide spread of words, including words for modern objects (these still use Classical vocabulary and roots, and so are still a good way to build and consolidate vocabulary).
http://schola.ning.com

These are both free resources.


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Postby Lucus Eques » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:34 pm

Yes, Evan puts a lot of effort into his sites; he's helped a lot of people learn Latin, and his desire to promote spoken Latin is above reproach.

Sorry, Evan, I should have remembered to mention Latinum!
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methodology

Postby metrodorus » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:49 pm

I agree with Lucus though - that learning needs to be associated with text, be it text that you listen to, or text that you read yourself. You need to read a lot. Trying to write is also important.

Orberg is indeed very good for this basic language building.
I find Adler is good as well, but his focus is somewhat different. Adler has no stories, only dialogues, but stories can be found elsewhere in abundance.

Personally, when it comes to vocabulary learning, I have found my memory is very visual, so it is worth the effort for me to make picture cards - I have then posted these on Schola, so that others can use them.

I load them onto my ipod, and watch them while I listen. I have built up a vocabulary of thousands of words in a very short time as a result of this method. I enjoy reading Latin, but I prefer to listen to it.

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Postby thesaurus » Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:25 am

I try to read some Latin every day, usually a few pages of Cicero or whatever else I'm looking into. My habit is to read on my daily bus commute, which is usually around an hour each way. I underline the words I don't know and try to look those up later when I can.

Underlining everything might be a bit laborious, though, if you're still learning your basic set of vocabulary. The trick is to get to the point where you can pick up words you don't know from context, and this is best done by sticking with a single author for a while. One author will tend to use the same set of vocabulary, as well as the same sentence structures, so after an initial learning curve you'll make good progress. I continue to read Cicero for this reason, first because I enjoy his works and second because I've developed the ability to read them without much hassle.

If you don't mind reading adapted works (of high quality) try volume II of Orberg's Lingua Latina. If you want to stick with unadapted Latin texts I'd try some of Orberg's supplemental books. His edition of De Bello Gallico provides lots of easy passages with pictures and all Latin explanations in the margins. He has some other authors, but I'm not familiar with them.
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Postby Essorant » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:17 am

Much good advice in this thread.

I usually keep a chart beside me to write down the words and meanings that I need to look up. It helps imprint them more deeply into my remembrance, and focus on those that are very new to me, or that I forget, or with irregular forms, etc. I also notice how I improve with more frequencey, because the more I read and get better at reading, the less I find myself looking up and writing down such words. <pre></pre>
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Postby Aquinas » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:14 am

Thanks for the replies so far. I received Lingua Latina in the mail the other day and have started doing a chapter a day. Actually, the chapters in the beginning are too simple to do the chapter a day thing for someone that's gone through a Latin course, but it was fun reading something with ease (I almost forgot what that was like). I plan to read through the book in about a month.

It's interesting, Metrodorus, that you say you memory is visual when it comes to new vocabulary. I have noticed that when I learn a new English word I always visualize the object, if it's a noun, and I'm pretty sure that I even visualize the action of a verb. But then there are some words, like inexorable, that leave me baffled with respect to how I think about them.

One of my problems when I began Latin was that instead of visualizing the object that a Latin word referred to I would just link the Latin word to the English word; so caelum meant the English word sky, but not the actual sky that we see when we look up. I still find myself doing that when I get lazy. So I guess I might be a visual guy as well.

Underlining difficult words is great advice. Thanks for that. I had a textbook on Petronius that had facing vocabulary, and it was great because it would list one and the same word once, then a second time with a double asterisk, then a third time with a triple asterisk, and then it wouldn't list it again. That was pretty helpful.
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