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LCC? If learning Latin, English grammar not necessary?


elfinbaby
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I'm contemplating following more of a LCC schedule next semester and I was just curious who, if anybody, studies Latin and does not find it necessary to study English grammar. In the LCC book, it notes that it's not necessary. However, I did notice that in the jr. high grades that an English grammar text is recommended.

 

We just started LCI and ds is way beyond the grammar that is taught in it. I have no doubt that the further we get, the more complex the grammar will be so, naturally, he will be able to learn/solidify/master English grammar. But leave out English grammar entirely? Really? I'd love to hear a resounding yes:D

 

I'm just curious. I would love to hear from Latin families that have been studying for several years.

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Well, on the one hand I'm a big fan of LCC. And I know where Drew is coming from with this... *But* I think that to dispense with a *separate* English grammar program in favor of studying it in the *context* of Latin grammar (and writing) requires a teacher who is 1) very comfortable with both English and Latin grammar, and 2) committed to covering English grammar thoroughly and organically in the course of other studies.

 

I don't think that's practical for, well, lol, almost any of us. Some few? Certainly. But most of us (even those who've studied Latin previously and have a relatively decent background in English grammar) aren't truly prepared to teach this way.

 

As an ideal, I think it's fantastic. And I think some people can do it. Perhaps especially when they've pursued such a path with older children and have experience on their side as they teach younger ones...

 

But it's not the same as "just doing Latina Christiana" (or LfC or Lively Latin or...)... It's a way of integrating complex subjects.

 

Now I do find that my 6th graders (I have mine and an extra for Latin and Greek) don't really *need* additional grammar. They have had a strong base in English grammar in elementary school, and they're now working in Latin Prep 3 (and Lingua Latina). They know a *lot* more English grammar than most children their age, and any English grammar review at this point basically comes down to some issues of mechanics. They started Elementary Greek 1 at the beginning of the year (actually, the one who is mine had done EG1 years ago, but it had been quite a while and he had forgotten it all), and they're now about halfway through EG2 because the grammar is so very easy for them.

 

Both kids are expected to do a lot of writing in English this year, and any other grammar issues can be addressed there.

 

So for them, I'd say, "Sure, I'm comfortable covering grammar within the context of Latin (and writing)" -- but that's after a strong elementary background in English, and they're getting fairly in-depth with their Latin grammar.

 

I also have a 1st, a 2nd/3rd and a 3rd grader for Latin this year. With them, I think it helps tremendously that they're doing Latin *and* Greek grammar, and that the two reinforce each other.

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Well, *I* learned grammar (what I know of it, anyway) entirely through Latin. I had a grammar-free education (I *might* have been taught the parts of speech, but that's it) until I took Latin in grade 10. I learned more English grammar in those two years than I had learned in the previous ten. (But I only got so far in Latin, so I never got to advanced - or even intermediate - grammar in either language.)

 

So my experience has led to me to believe that it *is* possible to learn English grammar entirely through foreign language study, though you'd have to study Latin to an advanced level - at least as advanced as you'd want your English knowledge to be. That's a serious Latin commitment. But if you plan to be doing it anyway...why not streamline things a bit?

 

Some caveats:

*Tackling formal grammar for the first time while simultaneously learning a foreign language means you're dealing with a *lot* of new concepts all at once, with very little familiar material to relate them to. Doing them separately spreads the work out some. Doing your Latin at half-speed at first would also solve the problem. Six one way, half-dozen the other.

 

*You're going to want to do a *lot* of translating - both Latin-to-English and English-to-Latin - to get enough practice to make the Latin-only approach successful with respect to English grammar mastery. And while translating is an awesome teaching tool - done right it can be a complete composition program (and in the past it often was) - it is time consuming, and doesn't, in itself, help much with language acquisition - with learning to read Latin as Latin. If you always translate every scrap of Latin that you study - even with good habits, where you make sure you thoroughly understand what the Latin says *before* you translate (and not, shudder, what I did, which is translating in order to understand - not a habit conducive to Latin mastery) - then you will find it very hard to read enough Latin to become fluent readers. (And why go through all the trouble of studying advanced Latin if you don't care about actually being able to read it?) So you will have to see a *lot* of Latin to get enough translation and reading practice in - do you want to spend that much time on it?

 

*Also, as is often mentioned, you need a teacher with a strong grasp of English grammar, or at least a teacher with a good English reference grammar who knows enough to be able to look things up and explain them as you come to them in your Latin studies.

 

Personally, I'm on the fence as to what I plan to do with my kids. I want them to have a rhetoric-level command of both English and Latin (and Greek, too, while I'm dreaming :D), and I'm working on achieving that myself (and I am doing separate English and Latin studies). If I know it well, then I can teach it either way and achieve success. I certainly think it is possible to teach English grammar - even at very high levels - entirely through Latin. Whether it is worth it depends on your goals for each language.

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The writing program that LCC recommends, Classical Writing, also has a grammar component to it. So you are in fact studying grammar via Latin and composition if you follow LCC exactly. I myself think that you only need to do English grammar as a review every couple of years or so if you are doing a good Latin program. And I like doing it through diagramming. I love the book Rex Barks for that!

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But leave out English grammar entirely? Really? I'd love to hear a resounding yes:D

 

Will you settle for a qualified yes? ;)

 

As Faithr mentioned, LCC recommends using a writing program which also covers grammar. If your child grasps and retains the rules of English grammar easily (and it sounds like that is the case?) and you are willing and able to fill in the blanks, Latin and composition provide a pretty thorough grounding without a separate, formal grammar program.

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Very thoughtful replies. Thank you so much! I should add that, imho, ds is very solid in his English grammar. Frankly, he's a little over my head with it. I struggle to keep up! I'm going to finish out his English program this year and, if we really put our heads down and study, I think he'll be fine for a year or two. Then we'll re-evaluate.

 

I did see that CW includes Harvey's grammar but it also includes vocab and spelling. I wasn't planning on doing those last 2 at all. I assumed (maybe wrongly) that I should focus on composition but, of course, it's a choice for the parent to make. I looked at Harvey's on Google books and ds has covered and mastered 1/2 to 3/4 of that book, maybe more so I wasn't planning on incorporating it.

 

Thanks again. I really do appreciate the responses.

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