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How many steps in a Latin translation?


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Once upon a time I read this article somewhere that mentioned there are ___ amount of steps to translating a Latin sentence but I can't remember where I saw it. I found myself looking for it because we are doing LCII this year and ds does well with it but sometimes misses steps in translating (and I am learning along with him).

 

So today, while working on translation, I attempted to make my own list (don't laugh!). Keep in mind that we are only translating very simple sentences right now and I know that my list is not complete...I will have to add to it as our sentences get tougher. Also, we do a lot of grammar study through Latin so there are several English "grammar" questions in there.

 

I just need some kind of "checklist" I guess so that neither he nor I miss any steps until we get really good at it. So if you don't mind, tell me what you think, what I might have missed or made a mistake with etc. Thanks!

 

 

Example sentence: The student carries a small tablet.

 

1. What is the subject of the sentence? Student

2. How do you say that in Latin? Discipulus, i

3. What declension is that? 2nd declension masculine

4. What case is the subject of the sentence? nominative

5. How is that word declined in that case? Discipulus, discipuli

6. Is the subject singular or plural? Singular

7. Which form of the nominative case do you need? Discipulus

8. What is the verb of the sentence? Carries (I carry)

9. How do you say that in Latin? Porto

10. What conjugation is it? First conjugation

11. What ending does it need to match the subject? –t

12. How should the verb look in this sentence? Portat

13. Where do you place the verb? At the end of the sentence

14. Are there any direct objects? Yes

15. What is it? Tablet

16. How do you say it in Latin? Tabella

17. What declension is it? First declension feminine

18. What case is the direct object? Accusative

19. How is that word declined in that case? Tabellam, Tabellas

20. Is it singular or plural? Singular

21. Which one should you choose? Tabellam

22. Are there any adjectives? Yes

23. What are they? Small

24. What noun do they modify? Tablet

25. How do you say the adjective in Latin? Parvum

26. How should you decline it to make it agree with tablet? Parvam

27. Should it go before or after the noun? Before

28. Why? It is an adjective of quantity.

29. How should the translated sentence read? Discipulus parvam tabellam portat.

 

Also, one more question...in LCII it states that adjectives of quantity and size come before the noun and adjectives of quality come after the noun so that's what we did. But in the answer key it has "parvam" AFTER "tabellam". Anyone know why?

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We use the rule that nouns come first except for numbers and amounts (like much or many)...and small is a description of size, so it will come second. Just to muddy the water, know that when reading Latin...they could be switched if it was emphatic -- including putting the verb at the beginning of the sentence.

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Wow, I looked at your message and thought that's a lot of steps. I don't know that I've seen what you're looking for so I browsed through some of my Latin bookmarks. I found this which reminded me of your post:

 

http://www.holycross.edu/departments/classics/wziobro/Readings/UNITI.htm

 

Scroll down to the part where Brinsley's description is of an imaginary dialogue between a grammar school master and one of his students...

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If you're thinking of the same example I am, it's quoted in Climbing Parnassus. I reference it here.

 

Yes, THAT'S the one!!! OK, I know it is far different from what I wrote but I can't think of any way to get through translating (including grammar instruction) without going through all of these steps. How do you handle it?

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Don't translate.

 

Okay, I know I'm going to have to explain that! ;)

 

I've come around to the idea that the grammar-translation method of learning Latin is not ideal - at least not for teaching students to read Latin fluently. (It's great for teaching English grammar, but that's another post.) My goal is to teach kids to think in Latin so that they don't have to go through all those steps. They learn the forms by hearing, reading, and saying full Latin sentences in which the forms are used correctly. They do this repeatedly, until those forms are second nature. Only then do I ask them to generate the forms in sentences of their own.

 

This is called the Natural Method and it's the idea behind Hans Oerberg's Lingua Latina.

 

The catch is that you can't teach this method unless you already have a good grasp on Latin yourself, which is why I continue to recommend grammar-translation programs to most families. You can, however, study Lingua Latina a little in advance of your children and then teach it to them. Professor Oerberg has said that if you can stay 10-15 chapters ahead, you can teach Lingua Latina effectively. There are excellent self-study helps for the program, including Jeanne Neumann's College Companion and a CD-ROM with the first volume of Lingua Latina read aloud by the author.

 

So that's my infomercial for the day. I promise I don't get kickbacks from the publisher! ;) I'm just tremendously impressed with this program and the results I'm seeing with even quite young students (I think the youngest in my class is 8.) In fact, I just started playing around with Oerberg with my dd, who is 6, and she's picking it up beautifully. We spent maybe 10 minutes reading, and I asked her some questions to get her speaking Latin. A few minutes after we were done, she walked into the bedroom, looked out the window, and announced, "Sunt fluvius et arbor!" (I'm pretty sure she didn't know fluvius, and I'm quite sure she didn't know arbor before seeing it in Oerberg.) Why, yes, we do in fact have a river and a tree outside our bedroom window. :D It was just too cool.

 

So that's how I avoid the stress of translation. Of course there comes a time when you have to struggle to sort out complex syntax, and most of us will need to put Latin into English at that point. Translation is also an efficient way to see if students are really comprehending everything they're reading. But I'm no longer convinced it's the best way to make real progress in Latin.

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Yesbut ...

 

She did say "including grammar translation." I take that to mean, Heather, that you are wanting to walk through the translation with grammar instruction as part of your goal?

 

When we do that, what I do is not too much different from what you described. I have my kids find the subject and verb first, then determine if there is an object. We translate those items, then see what else the sentence needs.

 

If your goal is to learn to read Latin texts, then at some point you have to let go of the grammar-translation, step-by-step method, and learn to read, not translate, as Drew said. And when you want to do that, Lingua Latina is fantastic. But for grammar instruction, you've got to walk through the steps :)

 

When we do that, btw, I strive to have the cases automatic with my kids. In other words, I strive to have them know the case endings so well that when they identify a direct object, they don't have to stop to *think* about the case ending, they do it automatically. That saves some time and steps (when they can do it)!.

 

Since I use Latin for a good bit of my grammar instruction, I would never abandon the grammar-translation method. As for general progress, I think a combination of methods is best.

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At the risk of sounding wishy-washy...I love both ideas. I have dropped additional grammar programs and do our grammar via Latin so I do feel the need to do some grammar-translating. But I think I am going to check out Lingua Latina, too. Do you think it would be an appropriate supplement for an almost-10-year-old? Or are there other reading programs that I can check out (isn't Cambridge supposed to be one?). Are there any other reading programs out there that I should look at? Do you think combining the two styles is a good idea?

 

Interestingly enough, when we do Latin-English, he just reads it and writes it down and usually gets it correct (sometimes there are sing./plural mistakes). But when we do English-Latin we have to do step-by-step or every noun ends up in the nominative singular form! :D

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I agree with Plaid Dad AND Mama Lynx. For those of us who are not completely proficient in Latin, a combination of approaches is best. This way, you are covering the necessary grammar, without neglecting the actual reading and use of the Latin in context. This is my beef with the strict grammar/translation approach. Grammar is taught without that necessary contextual experience that comes by reading, reading, reading the Latin.

 

I wholeheartedly agree w/Plaid Dad that the grammar/translation method is not the ideal method if reading actual Latin is your goal. Students that are taught using this method get stuck in the "Let's take each word in the sentence, and classify its declension/conjugation so we can then turn it into its best rendering in English." trap. Latin is Latin, not English, and it's not supposed to act like English, either. You'll be hard-pressed to get the sense and flow of Latin if you continually try to turn it into something that it isn't - English.

 

I started out learning Latin via the grammar/translation approach, and I kept on hitting walls. I put in HOURS AND HOURS of study, and became very frustrated and discouraged. I thought I would never get it. I found out about Lingua Latina and decided to give Latin one more last ditch effort. Latin finally started to make sense. (Insert "Hallelujah Chorus" here) I stopped trying to render the Latin into English. I began to find that I was able to read large portions of the "Latin" in LL without turning it into English in my head. I didn't need to "hunt and peck" through the sentences to figure them out. My reading had a flow to it that it never had before. That's the crux of the "natural" method.

 

Now, all that being said, I still strongly believe that grammar has its place of importance in the process. Just as we study English grammar in school to know how to express ourselves properly, we need to learn the mechanics of Latin in order to fully understand it in its entirety.

 

To get the best of both worlds, we need to marry the two methods. For those like Plaid Dad, Lingua Latina does provide all that you need. It does teach the grammar, but it takes an experienced teacher to bring out those points in a way their students can understand. LL does take some tweaking.

 

Right now, I am using a combination of Henle and Cambridge Latin with my younger dd. I am just using Cambridge for the stories. We are taking a break from LL, but I plan to pick it up again very soon. IMO, there is no text like it.

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When we do that, what I do is not too much different from what you described. I have my kids find the subject and verb first, then determine if there is an object. We translate those items, then see what else the sentence needs.

 

If your goal is to learn to read Latin texts, then at some point you have to let go of the grammar-translation, step-by-step method, and learn to read, not translate, as Drew said. And when you want to do that, Lingua Latina is fantastic. But for grammar instruction, you've got to walk through the steps :)

 

When we do that, btw, I strive to have the cases automatic with my kids. In other words, I strive to have them know the case endings so well that when they identify a direct object, they don't have to stop to *think* about the case ending, they do it automatically. That saves some time and steps (when they can do it)!.

 

Since I use Latin for a good bit of my grammar instruction, I would never abandon the grammar-translation method. As for general progress, I think a combination of methods is best.

 

So far, we've been doing the grammar-translation method in tandem w/ our grammar instruction, as mentioned in this thread. However, ds9 is getting better about being able to just look at a sentence and tell you what it means (I have no idea if he's winging it, or if he's just able to read it - but that's probably fodder for another thread).

 

Anyway, when we're working through the grammar and parsing the sentences (is that the proper term?) I always tell the boys to find the verb first b/c it'll give you a clue as to whether the subject is singular or plural. Then, of course, you know the case of the subject and the two together make the subject easy to spot right off. From there, find the DO (if there is one).

 

Am I making it too hard? It seems to make such sense in my head, but I want a sanity check to make certain I'm not hobbling them w/ my "simplicity". LOL!

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At the risk of sounding wishy-washy...I love both ideas. I have dropped additional grammar programs and do our grammar via Latin so I do feel the need to do some grammar-translating. But I think I am going to check out Lingua Latina, too. Do you think it would be an appropriate supplement for an almost-10-year-old? Or are there other reading programs that I can check out (isn't Cambridge supposed to be one?). Are there any other reading programs out there that I should look at? Do you think combining the two styles is a good idea?

 

 

Well, *we* combine the two styles, so I think it's a great idea ;-)

 

My one hesitation with wholeheartedly recommending LL for your almost 10 year old is that it quickly overwhelmed my almost 10 year old. The material starts out nice and gradual, but by chapter 6 my 11 year old and I were getting out of our depth, and my 9 year old had given up. In retrospect, Cambridge would have been better for him.

 

This is also a personality issue. He is a very literal child, and prefers to have things spelled out for him. He HATED the inductiveness of LL. Figuring out words from context personally offended him ;-)

 

On the other hand, Plaid Dad is using it with his even younger daughter, with great success. On the third hand, he has tons more experience with Latin, and with teaching language, than I do.

 

So: LL is fantastic, but was too much for my 9 year old, as the difficulty ramps up quickly. Cambridge is supposed to be better for younger students, I hear. But maybe someone else here has more experience with LL and younger folks?

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So far, we've been doing the grammar-translation method in tandem w/ our grammar instruction, as mentioned in this thread. However, ds9 is getting better about being able to just look at a sentence and tell you what it means (I have no idea if he's winging it, or if he's just able to read it - but that's probably fodder for another thread).

 

Anyway, when we're working through the grammar and parsing the sentences (is that the proper term?) I always tell the boys to find the verb first b/c it'll give you a clue as to whether the subject is singular or plural. Then, of course, you know the case of the subject and the two together make the subject easy to spot right off. From there, find the DO (if there is one).

 

Am I making it too hard? It seems to make such sense in my head, but I want a sanity check to make certain I'm not hobbling them w/ my "simplicity". LOL!

 

If strict use is made of the "hunt and peck" method in order to figure out the Latin, it will definitely become a hindrance as you get further along in Latin. That is, if being able to read real Latin is your goal. If your goal is to understand English better by focusing on the grammar of Latin, then you won't find it to be that much of a problem. Parsing has its place in the overall process, but if not used in tandem with lots of contextual reading/immersion in Latin, then IMO, you won't get past the rudiments of Latin. It's that way with ANY language. We all know that you really don't learn to speak a language fluently by taking it in high school. The only way to truly learn a language is to immerse oneself in it. :)

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What you're describing is teaching the *grammar* of Latin. And certainly in the beginning days of Latin, especially with younger children, this is the way we (meaning, we non-Latin-profficient moms) go about it.

 

BUT, there are simple ways to encourage the *reading* side of things.

 

Here are some ways we've gone about it here. On all the Latin-English translation work, I encourage my son to just "read" it - out loud makes it go faster. I let him "intuit" what it's probably saying. Only if he misses it, do we go back and look at it more closely.

 

Then we work more intently on the *grammar* side when doing the English-Latin translation work. My son writes these out (slows him down and makes him think :o). If he gets stuck, *then* we go back at look at examples in the Latin-English section to see how they did it and to look at the grammar closely.

 

Some of the Latin books we have around here have plenty of Latin readings that we use just as readings (Latin Book One - great retellings of myths, Minimus - fun story packaged in a comic book format, Latin Prep has lots of readings, Lingua Latina, even Henle - tho, of course, Henle is pretty dry, so it's not a text we usually turn to for "fun" reading exercise ;)). If I weren't already so embarrassed by the number of Latin texts I have laying around here, I would also add Ecce Romani and Cambridge to the pile for reading work.

 

So anyway, all that just to say, grammar work is great. Just add in some intentional reading time. Then you're attacking the Latin on both fronts. :-)

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I agree Mamalynx. We are using LL sporadically this year, but I plan to use it more next year; first because I need to work through more of the book this summer when I have time, and second because it can be too much for my older boys.

 

Actually I'm really surprised I like LL. When I first looked at it way back in 2005, I was totally intimidated by the book. However, now that I'm more confident in Latin, the book is actually fun. I plan to go through Wheelock's and LL at the same time next year when my boys will be 12 and almost 11. I think using both approaches will enrich our Latin studies.

 

Have you seen the new college companion to LL?

http://www.amazon.com/Lingua-Latina-College-Companion-Vocabulary/dp/1585101915

I have it to help me plan this summer. So much to do, so little time...

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So far, we've been doing the grammar-translation method in tandem w/ our grammar instruction, as mentioned in this thread. However, ds9 is getting better about being able to just look at a sentence and tell you what it means (I have no idea if he's winging it, or if he's just able to read it - but that's probably fodder for another thread).

 

Anyway, when we're working through the grammar and parsing the sentences (is that the proper term?) I always tell the boys to find the verb first b/c it'll give you a clue as to whether the subject is singular or plural. Then, of course, you know the case of the subject and the two together make the subject easy to spot right off. From there, find the DO (if there is one).

 

Am I making it too hard? It seems to make such sense in my head, but I want a sanity check to make certain I'm not hobbling them w/ my "simplicity". LOL!

 

Finding the verb first is an excellent way to do it. Actually, that makes more sense than what I described; it's just that I can't get my boys to look at the verb first. They want to jump in with the first word they see, so I emphasize that as soon as they think they've got a subject, they should go find a verb and see if the number matches. :rolleyes:

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In fact, here is ann excerpt from Galore Park's "So You Really Want to Learn Latin" book 1:

 

Always look at the verb first.

The verb tells us what is happening, and who is doing it. Look at the ending of the verb to see which person it is, and which tense. The verb is often but not always at the end of the sentence.

 

Look for a noun in the nominative case

Unless the subject is 'in the verb' there will be a noun in the nominative case. If the verb is singular, this noun will be nominative singular. If the verb is plural, the noun will be nominative plural.

 

Look for a noun in the accusative case

The object, if there is one, will be in the accusative case. As a general rule you should never translate an accusative case before the verb. If you do, you will probably have muddled your subject with your object, a crime for which in the good old days people would be shot!

 

In other words, Dy, ignore everything I said above about translation steps ;-)

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AWESOME ideas...not to muddy things further but, have any of you seen "Learning Latin Through Mythology"? I saw it on amazon.com

 

http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Latin-through-Mythology-Hanlin/dp/0521397790/ref=cm_lmf_tit_5_rsrsrs0

 

and it is supposed to be a reading text for younger kids. I also have Minimus but have never used it...duh...so I think I will start him out on that for reading and then get one or more of these other texts.

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AWESOME ideas...not to muddy things further but, have any of you seen "Learning Latin Through Mythology"? I saw it on amazon.com

 

http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Latin-through-Mythology-Hanlin/dp/0521397790/ref=cm_lmf_tit_5_rsrsrs0

 

and it is supposed to be a reading text for younger kids. I also have Minimus but have never used it...duh...so I think I will start him out on that for reading and then get one or more of these other texts.

 

It's a nice supplemental reader, but it has to make heavy use of vocabulary glosses and pictures in order for the student to really understand what is going on. I'd stick with Cambridge or Lingua Latina for supplemental readings. If you go to the Focus site, you will find a free download which contains extra stories that coincide with each chapter in Familia Romana.

http://www.pullins.com/programs/FabellaeLatinae.pdf

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I had this book at one point in time, but I didn't care for and sold it. I don't recall an answer key in the back which bothered me because I wasn't confident enough to do the work on my own and produce the correct answers without some type of verification. I hope I'm remembering the right book though. Overall, it seemed "cartoonish" to me; more like reading a comic book. I want our Latin to be fun, but just like I don't encourage English twaddle, I don't want to encourage Latin twaddle either. This is just my opinion, so if you have the book and like it, please don't be offended.

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Always look at the verb first.

The verb tells us what is happening, and who is doing it. Look at the ending of the verb to see which person it is, and which tense. The verb is often but not always at the end of the sentence.

 

 

GAH!!! I can't believe that this is being taught explicitly in a 21st-century Latin curriculum! :mad:

 

I just spent the morning reading B. D. Hoyos's Latin: How to Read It Fluently. The fact that such a book needed to be written at all speaks volumes about the weaknesses of the hunt-and-peck method. (Hoyos actually calls it the "Find-the-Verb" method.) He goes into great detail about using the cues inherent in Latin prose to guide one through a sentence from beginning to end. This is a skill that can and should be taught from the very beginning of Latin instruction. It is built into the Oerberg method, but it can be taught with any textbook that includes readings longer than a sentence or two.

 

Hoyos does assume a reader with a basic knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax - and that can be achieved in a number of ways - but once you're looking at anything other than canned textbook Latin, there is simply no way to read fluently unless you follow the sense of the words as the author gave them to you. Latin is not algebra! It's a language, and after all, the authors we read were trying to communicate clearly with their listeners and readers. We just need to learn to think in their language rather than assuming that understanding can only occur in translation.

 

In case anyone's interested, there's a summary of Hoyos's method here with a link for purchasing his book at the bottom of the page. And here is another, much older article that deals with essentially the same idea, although in a way that takes less account of natural word groupings - the real strength of Hoyos's method, imo.

 

Sorry if I sound somewhat hysterical about this. I'm not upset with anyone here nor am I the Latin pedagogy police! ;) I'm just surprised and distressed that the hunt-and-peck/find-the-verb method is still being taught so routinely, given the overwhelming evidence that it positively hinders students in achieving real mastery of Latin.

 

Okay. Deep breath. Here endeth the rant. :o

 

In case anyone is interested in using LL as their main text, I did want to say that Oerberg does teach grammar explicitly at the end of each chapter. If you use the Exercitia book, and the Pensa as an overall review, you will get focused written drill on the various forms taught in each chapter. I also have my students write little Latin "essays" on themes from the book to give them more practice putting sentences together. With my older students, I point out new grammar as it appears in the reading. I use Neumann's College Companion as a guide, and it is a godsend. She specifically shows how to teach Oerberg by the "mixed" method of understanding-in-context and more explicit grammar instruction, either before or after introducing the readings.

 

All that said, I do see value in using a text like Henle to teach grammar "up front," particularly for students who find the inductive method annoying. Henle has truly marvelous drills. And if it is used the way it would have been in its original context - Jesuit high schools - I would think it would achieve much the same goal as Oerberg. The Jesuit schools of that time trained their teachers very thoroughly in oral Latin; Latin was the lingua franca in Jesuit houses and among members of the Order. So a teacher like Fr. Henle would have spoken Latin to his students naturally and fluently, and would have demanded oral reading and recitation. (This is all part of the Ratio Studiorum, the curriculum plan for Jesuit schools.) So if you do Henle's drills not just on paper, but orally, you could probably get the same instant recall on forms that you get with Oerberg's method. I'm just not convinced that doing all the work on paper achieves the same goal, at least for most students. The basic modalities for language are listening and speaking, with reading and writing as higher level skills. (A person can be fluent in a language but also illiterate.) Most people need to hear and speak a language to become truly fluent.

 

Again, sorry if this comes across as cranky. Language pedagogy is a bit of an obsession with me, and this issue of fluency in reading is one I'm researching heavily right now. But at the end of the day, I'm still grateful that anyone is teaching any Latin by any method! :)

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Drew,

 

I think that perhaps you are missing the point that for those of us who are using Latin as a means to teach grammar, we WANT to use this method. For teaching grammar. For that kind of mental exercise.

 

Yes, Lingua Latina and similar methods are superior for reading fluency and for fluency of understanding. But there is a place and a purpose for the other. It all depends on your goals. MY goals are to study Latin for grammar instruction, training in logical thought, AND reading fluency. I don't give a fig if my kids can speak it. Reading fluency. Composition ability would be the icing on the cake. The ability to speak it well - much less fluently - I do. not. care.

 

I teach with traditional methods for the first two goals, and add in Oerberg for the second. Combining the methods gives me everything I'm looking for.

 

Not everyone has the same goals. And, of course, not everyone has access to a teacher who can teach in Latin.

 

As for hindrance: Gosh, I don't know. I learned Latin by self-teaching from Henle. And *I* can read fluently in Lingua Latina, as far as I've gone. I really do not think that it hindered me. However, I also cannot progress with good understanding in Lingua Latina without solid grammar instruction alongside. So going by *my* experience, that is how I shall teach my kids.

 

I do find that with modern languages, I much prefer the straight inductive approach, with grammar work much further down the road. I am very willing to teach Spanish or German in this way. My goals with these languages are VERY DIFFERENT. With Latin and Greek, I want the grammar up front. Latin and Greek are not "just another language" to me, and I want to study them differently than I do other languages.

 

Or maybe we're all working under fautly assumptions. You mentioned the grammar method working better if the work is done orally. In my family, we do most of the work orally.

 

Do you not think that it is perhaps more difficult, if one is using Latin for their primary form of grammar instruction, to use LL to that end? I know that I am not able to do it. Hats off to you for your ability to do so.

 

I hope I don't sound cranky back, but I think you are missing the point. Either you are, or I am, and I'd rather it be you ;-)

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That was a fascinating rant. Plaid dad, I know you have a younger DD, do you mind telling me what your Latin curriculum "plan" is for her? This is my current plan but now I am wondering if I need to re-think it:

 

2nd grade- PL

3rd- LCI

4th- LCII (this is where we are now)

5th- Henle I

6th- Henle II

7th- Henle III and IV

8th- Scholars Online I

9th- SO II

10th- SO III

11th- SO IV (AP Vergil)

12th-SO V (AP Lit)

 

Scholar's Online uses Wheelock's and has really good success rate on the AP exams. But it seems that I need to add in some reading texts like Cambridge and Lingua Latina somewhere in there.

 

I was very interested in what you wrote because I am a language major (Spanish and English) and I was taught with a very strict grammar-translating method. The result was that I am EXTREMELY fluent in Spanish in reading and writing, pretty good with listening and weakest with speaking. I eventually became better at speaking but it was always a "process" in my brain. I spent time in Mexico one summer and I had a headache the entire time because every act of communication entailed me trying to properly conjugate all verbs, make sure all adjectives agreed, etc. in my brain before I actually spoke each sentence. It just never came out "naturally", ya know?

 

OK, one more question...what about those who say Latin is not meant to be "spoken", it is a dead language, and what-not? What would be the purpose of mostly oral activitites for a language that is only on paper? I don't really know where I stand on this actually but I have read what others have said and was wondering what your take is on it.

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Mama Lynx,

 

Your post and Plaid Dad's are really helping me to think through my Latin "goals". I admit that I have been going with the "usual" Latin curriculum because I don't know much about Latin instruction and I am learning along with ds.

 

What I do know:

- I want my kids to learn it because it is the basis of other languages and will help them when and if we add those later.

- I want it for grammar instruction and vocabulary

- I want it for the logic and mental exercise

- I want them to be able to read Latin and read the great works in their original language.

- Latin is really cool.

 

We are not Catholic and I can't think of where else they may need it for listening or speaking purposes but I may be (and probably am) wrong. Although I do LOVE listening to the Lingua Angelica cds! ;)

 

I am waiting for the new edition of LCC to come out so I can read more on the "why teach Latin" subject that I may be missing. Climbing Parnassus is also on my to-be-read list but I get exhausted just thinking about it.

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Amen! - to what Plaid Dad has shared here. I find this method does work as I read through Lingua Latina. When I first read a new chapter, I only get the gist of what is going on. But, as I read it over several times, my understanding increases. It's truly amazing.

 

When I read a new story in Cambridge or LL w/my dd., I do NOT let her see the vocabulary glosses. We read it together several times before I give her clues as to what some of the words mean. I try to illustrate the meaning first, (via acting it out, drawing pictures, etc.) if she still has difficulty after all of my acrobatics, then I will give her the meaning. :)

 

Over reliance on rote grammar and vocabulary glosses hinders our brain's ability to process and learn a new language. It's kind of like looking at the answer to something before trying to figure it out on our own. We need to give our brains a good workout in developing those necessary language learning skills.

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Do you not think that it is perhaps more difficult, if one is using Latin for their primary form of grammar instruction, to use LL to that end? I know that I am not able to do it. Hats off to you for your ability to do so.

 

Yep - I do think it's difficult to use LL to that end, unless you are really, really proficient in Latin. Once you get beyond Cap. X, or so, you will be encountering grammar that is usually not covered until later on in most traditional texts. (For ex., deponent verbs are covered in Cap. XVI in LL - something that is not covered until Unit 13 in Henle.)

I used LL to teach a small group of students in my hs co-op. We started mid-year and made it through Cap. VIII. It was A LOT of work for me. I did tons of supplemental stuff with them. I am not really, really proficient in Latin, so this class was a stretch for me. Henle was SO much more teacher-friendly. I ended up switching from Henle to LL because two of my students were not strong in English grammar at all. Since LL takes a different approach, I was able to keep them going through Cap. VI in LL, but then they had to drop the Latin class. I could not take up a lot of class time teaching English grammar.

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Plaid Dad,

 

With your change in view on how to teach Latin, from dedcutive to inductive, has this changed your view that English grammar can still be learned through the study of only Latin? As I look through LL and work up a schedule for us, I don't see that the immersion approach would lend itself to teaching English grammar as well as a deductive approach. It appears that this approach stresses reading for fluency and comprehension rather than grammar forms, although they are taught after the lesson.

 

Just curious...

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I think that perhaps you are missing the point that for those of us who are using Latin as a means to teach grammar, we WANT to use this method. For teaching grammar. For that kind of mental exercise.

 

Yes, I've calmed down now :o and read more carefully, and I can see where you're coming from. I agree that if you are using Latin as your sole medium for English grammar instruction, Oerberg would make that difficult. I can also see that a combination of the two programs makes sense, and that depending on one's goals, one would naturally privilege one method over the other.

 

I did want to say that my emphasis on oral Latin is not so that students will be able to speak to the natives at the Vatican, ;) but as an additional way of internalizing Latin grammar and vocabulary. I find speaking Latin to my students fun, but pedagogically it's a means to an end, not an end in itself.

 

I'm just wondering what your experience is with reading non-textbook Latin - straight Caesar or Cicero, for example. What I discovered is that even after a long haul through Henle (plus previous experience with Wheelock) and lots of intermediate texts, I could not approach real Latin literature without hunting and pecking. What changed that was working through Oerberg and forcing myself to read "in the order received." I still have to work hard, but it's a whole different experience. I'm also basing my observations about fluency with the experiences of lots of Latin teachers I've met online. But what struck me most forcibly was a recent conversation with a headmaster who told me that he has transfers into his school who have two years of Wheelock under their belts - high-achieving kids who have been pulling A's all their lives - who still can't read a simple Latin sentence with understanding. They have all the grammar and vocabulary but they can't see Latin as a language. He has to put them back in Latin I with Oerberg, but within a year, they're able to read well and move on to real Latin authors. (You could also take that as an argument for beginning with a grammar-translation course and then using Oerberg as a bridge to real Latin.)

 

But reading Latin literature is not everyone's goal, and I do understand that there are a lot of other benefits to Latin study that are more important to many - perhaps most - homeschoolers.

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With your change in view on how to teach Latin, from dedcutive to inductive, has this changed your view that English grammar can still be learned through the study of only Latin?

 

I touched on this in my reply to MamaLynx, but using a text like Lingua Latina would, I think, make it more difficult to use Latin as a medium for English grammar instruction, since LL introduces grammar according to the internal logic of Latin, not English. So that would certainly be a consideration for people who want to consolidate the two subjects. There I still see Henle as the best choice.

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That was a fascinating rant. Plaid dad, I know you have a younger DD, do you mind telling me what your Latin curriculum "plan" is for her?

 

Sure. She has already worked through PL and LC 1, and we're currently working on chapter 13 of Lively Latin. I'm starting to supplement Lively with Lingua Latina and plan to switch over to it entirely during the next few months. Assuming all goes well, we will do the first volume of Lingua Latina over three or four years (since she's so young) and then move on to the second volume which includes selections of undoctored Latin prose. (There is some Latin poetry at the end of the first volume.) So I hope to have her reading real Latin well before high school.

 

OK, one more question...what about those who say Latin is not meant to be "spoken", it is a dead language, and what-not? What would be the purpose of mostly oral activitites for a language that is only on paper?

 

Oral Latin is mostly a means of internalizing Latin grammar and vocabulary. Secondarily it helps with understanding Latin poetry. I do know some people for whom speaking Latin is a sort of quirky hobby, kind of like holding forth in Quenya or Klingon. ;) For others, myself included, Latin is a living liturgical language. But as I said to Mama Lynx, for me it's primarily a means to an end: greater retention of grammar and vocabulary and greater fluency in reading. I find that retention is highest - in any subject, in fact - when students routinely use all four of the language modalities: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This is a mainstay of modern language pedagogy, but I find it holds equally true for "immortal" languages like Latin and Classical Greek.

 

HTH!

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(You could also take that as an argument for beginning with a grammar-translation course and then using Oerberg as a bridge to real Latin.)

 

But reading Latin literature is not everyone's goal, and I do understand that there are a lot of other benefits to Latin study that are more important to many - perhaps most - homeschoolers.

 

This is where we are. It has taken some time for me to develop our own Latin road, but my goal is to read Latin literature by walking on a path of Wheelock's and going over a bridge of LL.

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If strict use is made of the "hunt and peck" method in order to figure out the Latin, it will definitely become a hindrance as you get further along in Latin. That is, if being able to read real Latin is your goal. If your goal is to understand English better by focusing on the grammar of Latin, then you won't find it to be that much of a problem. Parsing has its place in the overall process, but if not used in tandem with lots of contextual reading/immersion in Latin, then IMO, you won't get past the rudiments of Latin. It's that way with ANY language. We all know that you really don't learn to speak a language fluently by taking it in high school. The only way to truly learn a language is to immerse oneself in it. :)

 

I don't plan to stick to the parsing as the end-all means of translation, but it's how we do our grammar work, as well. (Both English and Latin - I hate to say it, as it highlights *yet again* how poor my own education was, but I have learned quite a bit about English grammar through teaching Latin to the boys, and studying it, myself.)

 

I'm not certain when, exactly, I'd planned to move into a more intuitive pre-reading, followed by a more concise reading... although it's been on my mind as of late, b/c the program we're using simply does not provide enough overall translation and reading for the sake of reading, and I've been looking to remedy that. I guess I figured late elem. years... and we're fast approaching those! So, that would follow suit.

 

I know I learned and internalized more Spanish by living in Mexico for a few months than I did in three years of classes in school! Now, how to emulate that for Latin here in the boonies... hmmm... ;)

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your insights on this, Lisa. I cannot tell you how helpful it is to me as I work toward visualizing and laying the foundation for the future of our educational journey.

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What you're describing is teaching the *grammar* of Latin. And certainly in the beginning days of Latin, especially with younger children, this is the way we (meaning, we non-Latin-profficient moms) go about it.

 

Yes, we're still very grammar-oriented with much of our schooling. Still fairly oral, too, although this year we've transitioned quite a bit w/ the eldest.

 

 

BUT, there are simple ways to encourage the *reading* side of things.

 

Here are some ways we've gone about it here. On all the Latin-English translation work, I encourage my son to just "read" it - out loud makes it go faster. I let him "intuit" what it's probably saying. Only if he misses it, do we go back and look at it more closely.

 

Then we work more intently on the *grammar* side when doing the English-Latin translation work. My son writes these out (slows him down and makes him think :o). If he gets stuck, *then* we go back at look at examples in the Latin-English section to see how they did it and to look at the grammar closely.

 

Some of the Latin books we have around here have plenty of Latin readings that we use just as readings (Latin Book One - great retellings of myths, Minimus - fun story packaged in a comic book format, Latin Prep has lots of readings, Lingua Latina, even Henle - tho, of course, Henle is pretty dry, so it's not a text we usually turn to for "fun" reading exercise ;)). If I weren't already so embarrassed by the number of Latin texts I have laying around here, I would also add Ecce Romani and Cambridge to the pile for reading work.

 

Thank you! We do not have anything to read "just for fun" other than my copy of the Vulgata, and Henle, both of which are good, but we don't utilize them much for the kids. I would love to gather a better collection. Among myself and the five kiddos, nothing would go to waste over the years. ;)

 

 

So anyway, all that just to say, grammar work is great. Just add in some intentional reading time. Then you're attacking the Latin on both fronts.

 

Sounds fantastic! Thank you for the encouragement and suggestions for how to progress from here, Susan. I truly appreciate it.

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Yes, I've calmed down now :o and read more carefully, and I can see where you're coming from. I agree that if you are using Latin as your sole medium for English grammar instruction, Oerberg would make that difficult. I can also see that a combination of the two programs makes sense, and that depending on one's goals, one would naturally privilege one method over the other.

 

I did want to say that my emphasis on oral Latin is not so that students will be able to speak to the natives at the Vatican, ;) but as an additional way of internalizing Latin grammar and vocabulary. I find speaking Latin to my students fun, but pedagogically it's a means to an end, not an end in itself.

 

I'm just wondering what your experience is with reading non-textbook Latin - straight Caesar or Cicero, for example. What I discovered is that even after a long haul through Henle (plus previous experience with Wheelock) and lots of intermediate texts, I could not approach real Latin literature without hunting and pecking. What changed that was working through Oerberg and forcing myself to read "in the order received." I still have to work hard, but it's a whole different experience. I'm also basing my observations about fluency with the experiences of lots of Latin teachers I've met online. But what struck me most forcibly was a recent conversation with a headmaster who told me that he has transfers into his school who have two years of Wheelock under their belts - high-achieving kids who have been pulling A's all their lives - who still can't read a simple Latin sentence with understanding. They have all the grammar and vocabulary but they can't see Latin as a language. He has to put them back in Latin I with Oerberg, but within a year, they're able to read well and move on to real Latin authors. (You could also take that as an argument for beginning with a grammar-translation course and then using Oerberg as a bridge to real Latin.)

 

But reading Latin literature is not everyone's goal, and I do understand that there are a lot of other benefits to Latin study that are more important to many - perhaps most - homeschoolers.

 

We have a long and steady road ahead of us, one on which we will be able to cover a lot of ground over the years.

 

One of the benefits we've already seen stemming from our Latin studies (which are, admittedly, not nearly as rapidly progressing as what you've done with the Young Scholar) is that both of the older boys (9yo and 7yo) are comfortable with new languages. It doesn't phase either of them to tackle Spanish or French or *whatever they encounter*, because they can spot patterns, see familiar landmarks, and they automatically think, "Well, this code can be broken!"

 

My goal in these early years is to lay a firm foundation for "language", and from there, to build on that foundation - a Latin wall, an English wall, a Greek wall... joists that identify their heritage, anchor bolts that keep them from losing their understanding of context and history... this house is theirs to build, renovate, and expand at will. Before they spread their wee wings and head off into the world, they'll be equipped with the knowledge and skills they'll need to continue on.

 

Ideally, that will include fluency in Latin, Greek, English, and at least one other language. That's where I'd like to guide them.

 

Anyway, I didn't think you or Steph were being cranky (at least not towards me :D), and I have not only enjoyed and appreciated this thread, but it's given me plenty to chew over, and is helping me to step back a bit, review and modify and solidify my goals for our education - something which needs evaluation from time to time lest I get stuck on auto-pilot and wake up one morning to realize we should've taken a left at Albuquerque!

 

Thank you!

Dy

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What I discovered is that even after a long haul through Henle (plus previous experience with Wheelock) and lots of intermediate texts, I could not approach real Latin literature without hunting and pecking. What changed that was working through Oerberg and forcing myself to read "in the order received." I still have to work hard, but it's a whole different experience. I'm also basing my observations about fluency with the experiences of lots of Latin teachers I've met online. But what struck me most forcibly was a recent conversation with a headmaster who told me that he has transfers into his school who have two years of Wheelock under their belts - high-achieving kids who have been pulling A's all their lives - who still can't read a simple Latin sentence with understanding. They have all the grammar and vocabulary but they can't see Latin as a language. He has to put them back in Latin I with Oerberg, but within a year, they're able to read well and move on to real Latin authors. (You could also take that as an argument for beginning with a grammar-translation course and then using Oerberg as a bridge to real Latin.)

 

 

Aha, yes!!

 

You see, I am not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I just don't think you should, either ;-) I believe what you are saying about your own experience, and the experience of the students who had two years of Wheelock's under their belts. I'm also betting that, while they worked with Oerberg, their Wheelock's training still did them good in the end.

 

But even so, even if Oerberg produces more fluent readers even when used ab initio, *I* would still study/teach the grammar.

 

I find that for myself, there is only so far I can go in Henle. Then I hit a wall. Then I pick up Lingua Latina. There is only so far I can go in that. Then I hit a wall. (For instance, there comes a point where I can understand what I am reading in LL, but I cannot answer the questions.) Then I pick up Henle again, and find that I can go further. When I hit the next Henle wall, I find that I can progress in Lingua Latina.

 

I well understand that the grammar-translation method is not likely to lead to fluent reading. But I'm surprised that I find myself wanting to argue with you over the benefits of learning the grammar!

 

Our goal is fluent reading, but we use Latin grammar to learn grammar, I find so many benefits to studying the grammar that I could never favor one method to the exclusion of the other. My oldest son has many problems with attention to detail: Latin grammar forces him to deal with detail, and to pay attention and think logically. It has been of very great benefit to him. At the same time, he's also the one who can pick up a Latin reading and get the meaning almost instantaneously. He is an inductive, big picture kid who does brilliantly with Lingua Latina, but can't be bothered with things like number or case ;-) In math he can't be bothered to show his work or articulate his steps. In writing he can't be bothered with spelling or punctuation. The detail work of Latin grammar HELPS him, immensely, across the board.

 

My second son is very literal and rule-oriented. He can do the grammar exercises brilliantly, and have no idea what the sentence says. He hates LL, and *needs* it to address the side of his brain that needs work with developing inductive reasoning and meaning through reading.

 

You threw me for a loop there, Drew. What, the man who has so strongly advocated for streamlining by learning English grammar via Latin, is now advocating an inductive reading program? One that *many* homeschool parents are not going to be able to use to teach grammar? Ack! ;-) So thank you for clarifying, above.

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Aha, yes!!

 

My oldest son has many problems with attention to detail: Latin grammar forces him to deal with detail, and to pay attention and think logically. It has been of very great benefit to him. At the same time, he's also the one who can pick up a Latin reading and get the meaning almost instantaneously. He is an inductive, big picture kid who does brilliantly with Lingua Latina, but can't be bothered with things like number or case ;-) In math he can't be bothered to show his work or articulate his steps. In writing he can't be bothered with spelling or punctuation. The detail work of Latin grammar HELPS him, immensely, across the board.

 

 

 

Yeah, what she said.:D That is my son completely. Very little attention to detail. That's why I tried coming up with a list of "steps" in translating from English to Latin so he would be forced to slow down and follow all of them. But in Latin to English, he usually does it aloud because he just "gets" it.

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I find that for myself, there is only so far I can go in Henle. Then I hit a wall. Then I pick up Lingua Latina. There is only so far I can go in that. Then I hit a wall. (For instance, there comes a point where I can understand what I am reading in LL, but I cannot answer the questions.) Then I pick up Henle again, and find that I can go further. When I hit the next Henle wall, I find that I can progress in Lingua Latina.

 

Mama Lynx, you just illustrated exactly how LL and Henle are used in combination. I had the most difficult time learning Latin via a strict g/t approach. I just could not pull it all together in my mind. It was a disjointed series of Latin grammar concepts that made no sense to me. I dropped it for LL, and suddenly it all began to click. Now, as I am much further along in LL, I'm finding it nice to have Henle on hand to practice some of the grammar concepts in isolation before I flesh them out in context via LL. You and I are having similar experiences. Thanks for sharing, it is encouraging. :)

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You threw me for a loop there, Drew. What, the man who has so strongly advocated for streamlining by learning English grammar via Latin, is now advocating an inductive reading program? One that *many* homeschool parents are not going to be able to use to teach grammar? Ack! ;-) So thank you for clarifying, above.

 

You're welcome, and I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in the first place. I was really addressing the issue of how best to learn Latin per se, and opposed to how best to use Latin as a language arts spine. For the latter, I still very much recommend Henle, along with any supplements (like LL for reading fluency or Basic Language Principles with Latin Background for English grammar or what have you) to suit the needs of individual learners.

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