What next after Cambridge?

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What next after Cambridge?

Post by Gregarius » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:32 am

Like many here, I suspect, I'm returning to Latin after a long time away from it. It's fun, challenging, keeps the brain sharp, and a lot better than watching tv.

In the past year and a half or so, I've made it through almost all of the Cambridge Latin Course (North American version). However, I feel like I'm now stuck. I find that the real Latin authors introduced after Chapter 40 are much harder to translate than the artificial texts before them. The difficulty level seems to have gone off the deep end. I don't feel like I've reached my goal of being able to read authentic texts with only occasional dictionary lookups. Currently, I'm pretty confident in my memorization of noun and verb paradigms. However, when reading these authors, I'll be going along well for a while, then hit some phrase which I have to puzzle over for 20 minutes, trying to figure out why it apparently has no verbs. Or worse, has too many. Or it kind of makes sense, but I just can't figure out why some word is accusative.

So, what to do next? It seems like there's a lot of "beginners" texts, but not too many intermediate texts. Should I try to find another beginner's text that perhaps goes further, and dive into the middle? If so which one? "Learn to Read Latin" seems pretty complete, with lots of good translations to do. Or, start memorizing grammatical forms, which Cambridge isn't too big on. Or just soldier on with authentic texts? Perhaps starting with easier later Latin?

Finally, I'd like to say how much I love my public library. It has copies of Cambridge, Wheelock, Lingua Latina, "Using Latin" (my dear high school text), and "Learn to Read Latin". Being able to check each of these out and really compare them for a few weeks really helped me get going with the right book. I ended up buying all the Cambridges, and don't regret it. I would encourage everyone here to urge their public library to acquire these or similar texts, if they haven't already.

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Re: What next after Cambridge?

Post by adrianus » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:42 am

Salve Gregari
Gregarius wrote:So, what to do next?
I myself couldn't say, except you should find something in Latin to do that you enjoy, that you find interesting and that challenges you as a project. For example, I write software in Latin and try to post here in Latin everyday (not always well).
Meâ parte, nescio, nisi te aliquid quod latinum tangit invenire debeas, quod ut consilium tibi gratum et curae et provocatio est. Exempli gratiâ, ego latinè hîc quâque die epistulas mitto et latinè programmata fingo (non semper callidé).
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.

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Re: What next after Cambridge?

Post by spiphany » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:50 am

The transition to reading "real" texts is difficult in any language, not just Latin. There's a huge difference between reading textbooks sentences which use mostly familiar grammar and vocabulary, and literary texts, which will have complex constructions and use a large variety of vocabulary in unexpected ways. So, a certain amount of confusion is normal!

There are several ways to try to bridge this gap. I don't necessarily recommend working through another textbook, as this is unlikely to challenge you or hold your interest for very long. But I would suggest you might try one or more of the following:

1) I've found that using readers works well for me. These are generally texts adapted for beginning/intermediate students and are a good way to build up speed and vocabulary recognition. Textkit's edonnelly has a great list of downloadable Greek and Latin readers here: http://www.edonnelly.com/google.html . I've also found that Lingua Latina is useful for this purpose, and there are some other more recent readers such as Laura Gibbs' Aesop's Fables in Latin

2) Look for stuff written in contemporary (conversational) Latin. Fortunately there are still people who have managed to acquire an active command of Latin, and a site like Nuntii Latini will generally more straigthforward language than you're likely to encounter in Cicero. On a similar note, depending on your interests, you might like the Latin Harry Potter, which I've heard isn't too difficult language-wise.

3) Bilingual texts (or Latin texts with commentaries intended for intermediate students). If you're determined to go ahead and plunge into reading actual Latin texts, it's definitely possible, you just need to be prepared for a somewhat slow pace and occasional frustration. Working with a bilingual text can help here, as it saves you quite a bit of dictionary-searching. You do need to have a bit of self-control, though, and refer to the translation only after you've already tried to understand the Latin, as it's easy to get lazy and stop "working" to understand what the Latin is really saying. Texts which include extensive notes and vocabulary are also useful for the same reason.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)

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Re: What next after Cambridge?

Post by Gregarius » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:56 am

Thanks for the replies.

I don't mind working at Latin, in fact, it's kind of fun, especially when you can see progress. I'll definitely check out these readers.

It's interesting that there's a huge number of beginning texts, and no end of "lively discussion" about the merits of each. However, once you get past that beginning stage, it seems like there's less discussion about appropriate intermediate resources.

Thanks again!

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Re: What next after Cambridge?

Post by Kasper » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:30 am

Personally, I don't like Readers because there is no continuous story. It feels like more study, or even work!, and I don't like it. I do think that it is a good idea, however, for I graduated straight to De Bello Gallico and read with a blinding pace of some 5-10 sentences per hour. The biggest obstacle is vocabulaire, and worse: idiom. Both will be learned by practice and experience.

I would recommend that you start (and finish!) a prose composition book. N&H I personally like, although it's vocabulary is almost exclusively aimed at conquering Gauls, besieging Greek cities and carrying off their gold.

“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

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Re: What next after Cambridge?

Post by justerman » Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:41 pm

I recommend "Completely Parsed Cicero" (first oration against Catiline) by Archibald Maclardy. (I bought it following a recommendation here).

It gives a literal translation of every word, a translation in better English, and, best, lots of comments about the grammar, idioms, differentiating between synonyms.

I've also found literal translations and commentaries on the web to help read Caesar's Gallic Wars

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Re: What next after Cambridge?

Post by scotistic » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:31 pm

Let me add my voice to the chorus for Lingua Latina. The progression from easy "fake" Latin to real Roman texts is smooth and seamless. The readers provide a range of periods, genres, and difficulty levels, with something interesting for everyone. If you find the Roman history aspect of "Roma Aeterna" a bit dull, the readers can supplement it with different interesting material at different points.

After the entire LL course there is a huge amount of Latin which will really be quite easy by comparison. Most of this is mediaeval Latin, which is generally easier than classical. The Vulgate Bible is an obvious choice - it's easy to read, especially the narrative sections, there's a vast quantity of material, and anyone will find something of interest at least in Genesis, Samuel, etc.

I also highly recommend Beeson's "A Primer of Medieval Latin", for a lot of easy and entertaining selections from a wide range of genres. Notable as well is the PIMS (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies) Texts by the University of Toronto, which is a series of cheap, mostly easy, usually complete Latin texts. Again, the selection is wide enough that there's bound to be something interesting. There's plenty of religious stuff, of course. But if that isn't up your alley there's also a collection of Aesop's fables in verse and prose, with glosses. Or there's a volume of selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses with mediaeval vocabulary and grammar glosses, in Latin (a lot like Oerberg, actually). etc. These volumes are only about 10 bucks each.

Also good is Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles, which you might be able to find: an easy collection of stories from classical mythology, in graded Ceasar-like prose with vocab.

I would really not recommend Harrius Potter or most of the other Latinized children's books like Winnie Ille Pu or Regulus (i.e. The Little Prince). They're really not very easy and not intermediate readers. An (entertaining) exception is Alicia in Terra Mirabilis which is quite good, but I think it's out of print and probably hard to get. Better to get intermediate readers from Bolchazy-Carducci (I like the Seneca one) or Loebs. By the way I think Loebs get more useful the better your Latin gets.

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