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Latin taught in Latin


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Some for you may be familiar with my Latinum podcast.


Over the summer, I have been working on an audio-visual Latin course, that is grammar intensive, yet teaches Latin through only using Latin.


It is aimed at complete beginners, and would, I believe, be suitable for children, and adult students. Even quite advanced students are using it, as the course teaches through Latin, doing a lot to activate the language and re-program the brain to think in Latin, using a varied sequence of little dialog sequences. Declensions and verbs etc are examined in Latin.


The course has a lot of interactivity, loads of props, lots of repetition, and a fun dinosaur glove puppet.


So far, I have uploaded 130 short lessons. Some lessons will need to be listened to a few times, others only once.


And all this is totally free.

Here is the link:


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I don't see much of an increased complexity in lesson 131 compared to lesson 2. It operates with largely the same grammatical structures, only the lexical units are being changed. I checked a few random ones too, but they all seem to operate with largely the same grammatical base. It's basically ecce X, hic/haec/hoc X, basic nominal inflections, a few verbs and those few are in present tense. There's also something syntactically "unnatural" about some of the things you say, since you shift the usual position of some parts of the speech (verbs, mainly) and "anglicize" their usual syntax (I assume you put them back at the end in other episodes, though, since I haven't seen ALL of them).


I mean it's all nice and fun for the beginning, but how on Earth are you going to teach more complex verbal morphology this way, not to mention syntax? At some point, analytical study must occur.

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I watched just the first two videos, and I loved them. I love an audio program. Even though I couldn't figure out every word you said, it was wonderful to watch and listen to Latin in action. As you know, most Latin programs are taught through books -- reading. So this is a real treasure. Very unique. And, yes, I agree that kids could absorb meaning from the programs.


Thank you for sharing this with us.


Now to figure out where to fit it in!


P.S. I love Latinum too.


ETA: I just realized there are 131 of these videos. If you watch one a day, that's an entire school year!! And it's free! Evan is amazing!

Edited by Cindyg
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Adler's textbook is 1000 pages long of very small typeface. Lesson 130 of the video course takes us up to page 27 in the textbook (and I started on page 7, not page 1).


By lesson 130, all the declensions have been introduced in the singular. Some very fine points of grammar are being developed (not always at this stage explained explicitly) relating to different types of questions in Latin. Distributive numerals have been touched on. There have been examples of indirect speech. Adler's course is incredibly detailed, but it progresses in very small steps....and yes, a lot of the work is on consolidating vocabulary.........once the fundamentals have been firmly established, Adler begins to move ahead...but without those fundaments rock solid, he cannot do so........This course is aimed at teaching Latin as though it were being taught in the 1st Century - to someone who needed to be able to be fluent in it.

The end result of following this course, with its very extensive - indeed, massive - range of examples - is being able to in the end read a text, and 'converse' with the author, and hear him in your head, in Latin, without having to translate.


Remember, I only started recording this course on video last week. The audio only version took me two years to make, with daily labour.......the video version may be a bit quicker, as without the English, it will be a bit shorter.

Edited by metrodorus
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The rule for Latin word order in a sentence, as is found in all standard advanced grammars, is most important word first, second most second and so on, with an important concept at the end (often the verb, but not always), and things work backwards inwards from the end of the sentence as well. The same rule applies in phrases and clauses. When est is used, the verb often does not come at the end of the sentence, and the order appears almost 'English'. But basically, the Romans freely shifted words around depending on the subtle emphasis they were giving to particular words.


Most of the grammatical expositions in Latin that I am using - and which you are hearing - come verbatim from Renaissance texts - I am making up none of this methodology, it is all there to find in the Renaissance and earlier texts, complete with scripted lessons. Comenius' seventeenth century course maps out a comprehensive grammar programme covering age 6 upwards, with a series of increasingly complex grammars, each building on from the previous one. So far, everything I am dealing with is in the Rudimenta Grammaticae of Comenius. Remember, as the course progresses, more verb forms are introduced, and more vocabulary, and more technical grammatical terminology, so it becomes easier and easier to talk about Latin in Latin.


This is how Latin used to be taught, from Roman times right through to the late Renaissance, and the methodology and development of the lessons for teaching Latin in Latin is extremely well documented, so I do not need to make anything up.


Interestingly, the earliest examples we have for this method of teaching, are the third century hermeneumata, with little Latin dialogues, word lists ( both alphabetical, and by topic) , little stories - these Roman texts are surviving examples of what historians assume were standard teaching texts in ancient Rome, based on Greek pedagogical models, using questions and answers as the primary teaching method.

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Adler's textbook is 1000 pages long of very small typeface. Lesson 130 of the video course takes us up to page 27 in the textbook (and I started on page 7, not page 1).

That would explain it.


You're using Adler? I didn't notice. :confused: But he begins very differently... introducing the entire schemes right away, with a lot of theoretical remarks all the way. It's not Latin-in-Latin, it just puts more emphasis on the English -> Latin practice, which is normally neglected as most courses want you to start reading as early as possible and then "along the way" get used to the language (which is IMO a better approach for the language that one has no ambitions to speak).


I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

1) Is your approach teaching Latin in Latin in order to internalize the structure of the language and learn it more "naturally" and easily... or is your approach doing so in order to actively speak Latin (as in, not only have active Latin as a "tool" to approach the text, but also to speak it in *our* cultural context)?

2) How much time do you estimate would it take somebody learning Latin with your method to make it up to "the real stuff" (Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, etc.)? I know this depends on the age and the intensity of learning, but I'm still interested in your estimate. Let's say a kid starting in 5th grade (I can compare with that :D).

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Good questions.

I am following Adler very closely indeed - all the grammar, all the forms - you might have missed it, but every major grammar point (and many minor ones) made by Adler is being explained. There is a lot of grammar there, in between the dialogue.


I am not actually interested in spoken Latin per se, except I think having the ability to internally converse with an author, and question him mentally, in his own language, is invaluable. This is more about reading, than speaking.


I think this oral-auditory approach is the fastest route into a language for 90% of learners. Most Latin students, taught the regular way, still end up thinking that reading Latin means translating Latin into English in their heads.


Now, translating is an excellent learning tool, but it is something that should come much much later, as an assistant to developing good style and close reading habits - it should not be, I think, be a primary didactic tool at the onset of language learning.


Also, few of us are mathematically minded to really progress much with a totally mathematical-theoretical approach either. Most people learn in a more chaotic manner, and cannot learn a language from charts or from chanting the endings of declensions.


I intend to follow the Renaissance curriculum with this course - so after Adler, I will head into Aesop,(he was first stop for the ancient Romans as well) then the dialogues of Corderius (which are modelled on the surviving ancient Roman teaching dialogues) , a little Vives (ditto), and then on to Cicero's letters and Eutropius....by this stage, we will be looking at commentaries in Latin. Finally, poetry (Cato's distichs). All in all, a very traditional curriculum, one that was in place for millenia.


Doing things in Latin has another advantage- it makes the course much shorter to produce - and I have developed a nice shorthand for parsing, with a 'parsing glove' for declensions, that really speeds things up.

I have borrowed Varro's verb charts, and modified them slightly, and will be using these as well, when we get to verbs.


Being only in Latin, the course will not 'date' either. It is also internationally accessible.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm giving this a bump.


We've watched 11 lessons now. I will say that this is not perfect for me. There are times that I can't figure out what Evan is trying to get across, and I so wish it were subtitled. Or, Evan, if you had just written a little description explaining the point of each lesson and the key vocabulary, that would help me so much.


Nonetheless, this is a terrific resource. I love hearing the Latin. I love seeing Evan "acting" it out. The lessons are beautifully short, which makes it so easy to fit in the day, and also easy to keep my son watching it.


This is a fine supplement or introduction for anyone.


Thank you, Evan, for putting it out there for us. We plan to keep watching.

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If you are stuck leaf through Adler, as I am following Adler very closely - obviously I deviate a bit here and there, but 90% of the material is Adler. I am up to page 43 now (lesson 212 on the course).

As with learning any language in a 'real' environment, there are moments of incomprehension. However, you are still learning grammatical patterns, comprehension or no.

There is so much repitition in this course, so many subtle variations of each pattern, that eventually, the unclear material will click into place - this is 'real' language learning, ulpan style. Even if you don't get everything, it does not matter. Often, all I want you to get at a certain stage, is the gist, the filling in of detail will come later.


I went to Hamleys and bought a fluffy lion glove puppet, so now I have a dinosaur, and a grumpy lion.


The number of subscribers is increasing much faster than I imagined it would, getting close to 600. I am producing around 3 short lessons a day at the moment, sometimes more. I prefer to keep them short, so a user can replay a short segment over, and get just that little bit of focus.


However, there will be no written commentaries, and no textual explanations. The only text I will be doing, is extensive exercises with syllable charts - I have started to intersperse these - they are boring to study, so ever few lessons, a few more syllable charts appear.

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Also, if you have a question,just send me a message on youtube, and I will get back to you.

A couple of the episodes have brief annotations now, in response to requests for clarification.

If you are using the course, please remember to comment - or get your pupil to contribute a comment - and rate the videos as you watch them.

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