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Success with Lingua Latina: Your Story

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Success with Lingua Latina: Your Story

Postby Lucus Eques » Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:37 am

Salvi sitis omnes!

I am going to be teaching Latin to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at a Bethlehem Middle School this coming academic year. I have convinced the administration to invest in Lingua Latina: Per Se Illustrata for the text I will use with my students, and I would like to present them with first hand accounts of those of you who have found success with the method. I know some of you have already become accomplished Latinists, and I am delighted to share with you all the joys of Latin and of this book.

You may post here, or even better, email me at LukeAmadeusRanieri@gmail.com (I would like to cite your given names, if you will permit me); you may write in Latin or English or both and even your native tongues if you prefer. Amadeus, Gonzalo, the two of you jump immediately to mind as having done great things with Lingua Latina, and so I would love to hear from both of you, and all of you who have enjoyed Ørberg's Lingua Latina as I have.

Gratias maximas, amici sociique!
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Postby Gonzalo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:46 am

Hi, Luke

I've written a little epistle to you. I´ve sent it to your e-mail address but I make it public here. I hope it´s what you ask for. Correct whatever you see wrong. I've edited some errors I've seen here so the message I've sent you could be a bit different.

Regards,
Gonzalo Jerez


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gundisalvus Lucio suo peritissimo plurimam salutem dicit:

Quæris de meô usu Linguæ Latinæ ab illô Oerberg et non sine lætitiâ de hoc tibi loqui possum. Novem circa menses volumina duo huius methodi emi atque quosdam libros ab ipso Oerberg editos ut iam auctores qui classicos dicuntur legere quam proxime inciperem ac haud desperarem. Post quinque menses, ut credo, volumen primum legendi desini atque non satis fuisse credebam, namque meâ mente non omnia vocabula ibi data fixa erant neque omnes Grammaticæ notitias nanciscebar. Ergo igitur novam lectionem facere constitui atque abhinc quattuor vel forsitan tres dies alteram lectionem perfeci. Hoc tempore secundum volumen quod Roma Æterna inscribitur lego atque per id laboro aeque atque quosdam libros ab auctoribus quibusdam Latinitatis recentioris (faciliores generatim classicis mihi videntur propter multitudinem verborum illorum). Rationem naturalem sequi vel oerbergianam mihi quam optime videtur quia sic erudiebantur illi homines magnifici sicut Montaigne, Erasmus, Lipsius, Valla, Arias Montano, Leone Battista Alberti, Servet, Rodolphus Agricola, Grotius, &c. Non tantum huius causâ oportet Latine discere secundum talem rationem sed etiam quia Latine multi discipuli discunt quaqua videamus sine certâ comprehensionê suorum auctorum. Impossibile aut prope difficile Tusculanas Ciceronis plane aggredi intellegere mihi videtur quum hoc nunc verbum in lexicone quæris, tunc ubi verbum actionis esse nescis, iam iamque moriris.

Præterea iam in volumine primo is qui id studet culturâ latinâ fruitur, nam cognoscere traditionem classicam incipit mediô volumine sine mora. In volumine alterô iam planissime discipulus inductus est in summam culturam latinorum auctorum ut sine dolore auctores classicos perlegat.

Hoc est quod de ratione oerbergiana puto. Beatus ille qui Latine hoc modo noverat!

Data epistula die Mercurii a. d. VI kalendas iulianas MMVIII
Verus enim amor semper tempore tristi elucescit magis. (Philipp Melanchthon: Decl. de studiis Linguæ Græcæ)
Quin age, si quid habes (P. Vergilii Maronis Ecloga III:52)
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Postby Lucus Eques » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:23 pm

Thank you very much, Gonzalo, I am very grateful! I shared you letter with the director at the middle school and he was very impressed. Gratias denuo!
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Postby Gonzalo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:35 pm

Thank you, Luke, indeed. You were one of those who supported Lingua Latina here and because of that I was convinced to use LLPSI. I am working through second volume right now and it's really gratifying. I've also ordered a copy of the Oxford Classical Text of Vergil's works because I am feeling that I am actually progressing in Latin and I need some stimulation. By the way, what did he say? I usually write Latin (tales and other nugæ) and I have nobody (in corpore præsente) to correct them. So, with your permission, what did he think? How old are the kids you´re going to give tuition?

Regards and congratulations,
Gonzalo
Last edited by Gonzalo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Verus enim amor semper tempore tristi elucescit magis. (Philipp Melanchthon: Decl. de studiis Linguæ Græcæ)
Quin age, si quid habes (P. Vergilii Maronis Ecloga III:52)
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Postby thesaurus » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:45 pm

I've found success with the LL method, but I've also used various other means to reach this point, so I'm not sure how pertinent my review would be. That is to say, I studied the grammar formally to begin with and had some classroom assistance, but I made significant strides independently after incorporating LL, and I think that the series is invaluable. Let me know if an English/Latin statement to this effect would be of use to you.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Postby Lucus Eques » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:40 pm

Salve, Thesaure!

Absolutely! Go ahead and just tell it like it is; you choose Latin or English; I'll translate if necessary. I also had started with the "traditional" method, as you say, with Wheelock, but not till I opened LLPSI did I realize how little I knew! Your story will be much appreciated.


Gonzalo, amice,

I will tell you that the director was greatly encouraged by your statement! He said after reading, nodding thoughtfully, "He's clearly very impressed with it." He was equally impressed with the speed with which you acquired Latin, as well as your proficiency. The director long ago took Latin, but it was my translation that he read (though I included the original Latin text as well); he will be able to mull over your beautifully written original at his convenience.
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LL

Postby little flower » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:28 pm

HI LUCUS
Congratulations on your new teaching job. i also have taken up LL recently. my tutor ( dr ann martin) suggested it although i had intended to take it up myself when i was sufficiently well versed with the dowling method.
for the last three months or so we have been covering one chapter a week .i record the 40 minute sessions (telephone conversations) using skylook and write out the questions and answers during the week. i now feel a better balance in my studies more listening and speaking rather than just all reading and writing as per wheelock etc. also i feel that LL is a bit tricky if you are on your own although their is always this great website to post your questions.
finally from what i have read recently on the orberg digest traditional seminiaries (i.e st thomas aquinas ,winona ,minn') have taken LL as their basic text for beginners. being that they are allowed only three years (i think) to become fairly fluent in the language it is a great sign of approval for Orberg and his method.
anyway best of luck and tell us how you get on.

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Postby Amadeus » Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:50 am

Care Luce,

I envy you! I envy you for landing such a great job as a Latin teacher! That is indeed a privileged position to be in, for you now have the potestas to mould the minds of young boys and girls and extend their literary horizons to include the Classical world. I cannot wait until it's my turn to share my knowledge of Latin with other people. That time, however, would today still be years away had it not been for a little book you and I cherish dearly.

I have already shared my experience with this book elsewhere, but I shall re-tell it nevertheless.

I began my Latin studies almost 3 years ago with the traditional textbooks. Some of them were in Spanish, others were in English, but they all had a common feature: the lessons focused heavily on grammatical rules and translation. For the first couple of months I could not manage to stick to one particular textbook. The main reasons were the tediousness of the translation exercises and a certain kind of obsession over the analysis of rules, id est, every rule had to make complete & absolute sense to me, so much so that often I would spend large amounts of time looking for other ways to phrase a rule, and all the while neglecting the Latin text itself. When I became conscious of my error, I decided to finally pick one textbook (Collar & Daniell's "First Year Latin") and go through it without spending too much time on a particular lesson. The idea was that as I progressed through the book, repetition would eventually cement the grammar in my mind.

Much to my disappointment, after four months of daily study, and upon reaching the reading section at the back of the book, I realized that I could not even read a simplified version of Æsop's fables. The stories I could read took such a long time. There was no interest, no excitement, no pleasure in reading Latin.

Fortunately, however, this was also around the time I read about a new method for learning languages, called the Direct Method, and about professor Hans Ørberg, who had produced a textbook wherein he had applied this method to Latin. The title: "Lingua Latina: Per Se Illustrata". After reading positive reviews from fellow students, and one great review by Luigi Miraglia (which, coincidentally enough, was in Spanish), I was sold on the new method, and didn't wait long to order the first volume.

Once it arrived, I knew I had a marble between my hands. Everything in the book was in Latin: no more translations into Spanish or any other secondary language. From now on, I would be forced to cogitate "in the language" and, most importantly, to read "left-to-right", just as everyone reads texts set in their mother tongue. Gone were also the cumbersome, and sometimes unintelligible, grammatical explanations that were expected to be applied deductively to a series of phrases with no context (exempla gratia, Regina rosam nautis dat). Learning would now be inductive, by way of example through a narrative, followed by a small set of "rules" at the end of each chapter, intended, not so much to teach something new, but to confirm the inferences made by the learner from the study of repetitive sentences in context. Yet another bonus is the story itself. It is addictive, funny, and even moving. I doubt that there's anyone who, upon finishing Lingua Latina, doesn't feel a sense of wanting to know what became of the mischievous Marcus or the sweet and caring Iulia.

Now, lest someone cast me as a fanatic, I readily acknowledge that Lingua Latina does have its shortcomings. It seems to me that the final lessons need more repetition, more examples, to adequately convey the meaning and correct use of the coniunctive and the conditional. A little more poetry would have been nice too. But these are minor observations to an otherwise excellent book, the best out there in my humble opinion. And let us not forget that everything is harder outside the classroom environment, so what was difficult for me, a self-learner, may not be for another who is studying under the tutelage of an accomplished Latinist.

In conclusion, if you want to learn Latin the same way that a Roman boy did 2,000 years ago, go with Lingua Latina, for it comes closest to that ideal than any other method I have seen. Do not expect a watered-down course for modern (read "lazy") students. Latin is hard. I takes effort. What Lingua Latina will do, however, is provide you with the fruits of such a labor in a much shorter time than you might have expected.
Lisa: Relax?! I can't relax! Nor can I yield, relent, or... Only two synonyms? Oh my God! I'm losing my perspicacity! Aaaaa!

Homer: Well it's always in the last place you look.
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Postby Alatius » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:33 pm

Wow, that's awesome news Luce; congratulations! I envy your future pupils! :D As for your request, I can't help you, since I've never read the Lingua Latina books, but I'm seriously tempted to invest in them.
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Postby xando » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:24 am

I began learning Latin with a series of small, white books from England. I don't remember the name(s) of the author(s), but you may know the series when I say that on the first page they had this:

Britannia est insula. non est parva. est magna. incolae Britanniae agricolae sunt. ...

(If anybody knows the name of this series, I'm interested to know!)

That was years ago, in another age it seems. But from this point I embarked on a rather traditional approach of Latin study, as guided by my teachers' methodology. Endless rounds of saying all this out loud:

bona
bonae
bonae
bonam
bona

etc, to the point where when in The Life of Brian the centurion demanding to know how to say "Romans go home!" was hysterical to no end! So, I'm an old school 'classically' trained Latinist, I guess.

Fast forward to today, however, and through the action of this board (especially the testimony of Amadeus), I ordered the Latina Lingua books and began to share them with my own young children.

The results so far are electric. Let's face it times have changed. The old pedagogy comes up short in the age of Guitar Hero. I can't believe how far my oldest son has gotten into it, with minimal guidance from me. I'm not standing there demanding that he conjugate his verbal forms, decline all his nouns, yet he's reading Latin and excited and encouraged by that very prospect.

In defense of the old method, I can say that when I cracked open Latina Lingua a deja-vu moment happened. The old magic and mystery of "Britannia est insula" was there on the page staring back at me. The sense that a huge, exciting adventure lay in wait was very much there. Despite the knocks to the old, traditional method, I can say that this same enticement was there back in the day, as well.

As my sons' guide so far, I've found that I do have to explain terms. I've got to point out what's going on in the grammar. For instance first I had to weigh in and point out what iss singular and what is plural, and how Latin deals with this, and that different word groups (declensions) exist and they all must be treated differently. But all that takes a back seat - they're able to keep plunging along and reading Latin all the while and it gives them a sense of accomplishment, and I'm more of a cheerleader in that effort than a strict grammarian.

Is this all a botch? Will it work out? I can't say so far, other than to claim that there is no way I could have taught my kids Latin in the same way that I was taught. The task of explaining why that is so I leave up to philosophers and such. If we were working off of Wheelock, which is a fine book imho, I don't think I'd as much success. I really don't.

So my approach has been this: turn them loose on Latina Lingua and chase them down here and there with grammatical points, strategically.
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