Friday, 30 November 2012

Exams advice

For anyone preparing for Mock exams or a test, here is a piece of advice which I agree with.

I have to give a talk in a week (actually less than that - *panic*) to year 12 Latin students on how to prepare for and do the 'unseen translations' in their final examination. I have some idea of what I would like to say, but I turned to youtube to see if there was anything useful on there.

All I could find was this guy, who apart from being incredibly dull, was also (in my humble opinion) incredibly wrong. I couldn't bear to watch the whole thing, but he started off by saying how important it was to analyse every word - first deciding what part of speech it was, then working out the case/number/gender or tense/voice/mood/person etc., and, where more than one possibility existed, making a list of all the potential forms.

This kind of method would be ok, if you are a computer, but it has serious flaws. Firstly, from a purely pragmatic point of view, it is far too time consuming. It's not a sensible strategy for an exam context with limited time, even when you are only translating a short extract. And can you imagine (as my uni professor used to say) trying to read all 53 extant speeches of Cicero in this way? It would take forever, and it would be mind-numbingly, soul-destroyingly boring.

Secondly, and more importantly, it doesn't help you to understand the mechanics of a Latin sentence, or the way in which Roman authors crafted their writings. If you approach translation in that way, I think you will forever be trying to 'fix' the Latin - to put it into some kind of 'proper' (i.e. English) word order. Or to put it another way, it makes Latin into a puzzle to solve, a code to crack, rather than a language to be appreciated. Perhaps a code-cracking approach is appopriate for an exam, where all that matters is your final mark, although even then I think a more well-rounded approach has the potential to be more beneficial. If you're relying on a strictly analytical method, what will you do when an author breaks the rules, as they often do, or when you come across a usage with which you're not familiar? If on the other hand you are able to develop a feel for the Latin language, if you become used to the balance of flexibility and structure in herent in the language, and for the way in which different authors write, even if you can't give an exact grammatical analysis of every word, you will be able to understand the whole and to come up with a more faithful translation.

This raises the question of whether students should be taught to translate at all, or just to read and understand...
This was written in this blog post by a Latin teacher, please go and check out his blog.
Audio Video Disco

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Youtube Channel : LATINUM.ORG.UK

This channel accompanies a website which sells a lot of the resources that are used in the course, however the Youtube Channel is free and there are hundreds of videos on there, many with a specific focus on Latin, including children's books in Latin.

The owner of these videos presents an entire Latin course in Latin, allowing you to learn in Latin, rather than permanently translate everything. Whilst I haven't yet found the website as useful since everything is paid, I definitely think that the videos could enhance your learning if you watch them.

The first lesson is embedded above, so you can see what I mean. I hope that you take the time to check out the rest of this guy's videos!


A list of just some of his playlists is below:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Translation Advice

Here is some advice about translating from Carmen Online Latin.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

I realise that everyone has slightly different methods, but I hope that for some of you at least, this will help! 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Featured Book

Having finished Edward Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, we move on to a series of commentaries of Julius Caesar's first book of Civil War.

This is a commentary of the book found on the Perseus Collection

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Featured Podcast

This week I recommend you listen to this radio interview entitled "You Can't Dream in Latin" by an Australian radio station, it's quite interesting, and discusses the effects of Latin on the Western World.

Click here to Stream the Audio

You can see the transcript here if you wish

Monday, 17 September 2012

Featured Website

Drills to accompany the Oxford Latin Course, second edition, chapter by chapter from the University of Missouri St Louis. 

Here is the Website

Friday, 14 September 2012

Featured Book

Following on from the last featured book, this week is Volume 5 of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Featured Podcasts

Dickinson College has another series of Latin Poetry Podcasts 
Christopher Francese, Professor of Classical Studies at Dickinson College, reads short poems in Latin.
The podcasts can be found on iTunes here

Featured Podcast

Some recorded Latin conversations recorded for you

Neo-Latin Colloquia by Various Renaissance Humanists 
Haec sunt colloquia scholastica viva voce acta compositaque ab humanistis sexti decimi saeculi ad usum tyronum linguae latinae. Istis fruere! Si dum audis haec colloquia illa et legere volueris, i ad paginam hanc:

Friday, 31 August 2012

Featured Book

Following on from the last featured book, this week is Volume 4 of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.

Find it here

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Basic Latin Flashcards

Here's a flashcard game, aimed at children, but also easy for beginners to use. It's quite fun making it easy to learn the vocabulary and gives you a choice of 6 different meaning for each word.

For your own sanity I recommend that you turn the volume down/off 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Featured Podcast

This week features another podcast by X. Subashi who reads Caesar's De Bello Gallico (Book II) in study speed with 

read at a slow pace, with articulation, word groups, and clauses emphasized.
It can be found on iTunes 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Featured Book

Following on from the last featured book, this week is Volume 3 of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Cambridge Latin Course

The Cambridge Latin course is the one that I followed at school and I was recently told about this interactive crossword that is based on the series of books.

You can have a look and use the wordsearch exercises here

I recommend you have a look. It helps to remember different vocabulary.

Here is an example of one

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Featured Podcast

This week features two podcasts by X. Subashi who reads Cicero's Pro Caelio

There are two versions, a natural version
capturing the sound, rhythm, and pace of natural speech and performance
The other is a study version
read at a slow pace, with articulation, word groups, and clauses emphasized. 
These should help to get a genuine idea of what the latin should sound like as well as help to study the texts.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Featured Podcast

St Andrews Episcopal School has a series of Latin Podcasts, some of which cover vocabulary, others grammar they are available both on iTunes and from their website.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Featured Book

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Volume 1) by Edward Gibbon is a great book for anyone who is interested in the Roman Empire.

It is quite dense, but written very clearly - definitely not an easy read but worth it! 

You can find the book for free on iTunes

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Learn Latin On Youtube

I have just come across this channel  Learn Latin Language Online with a series of flashcard videos of particular topics. The pronunciation is not the best, but it might help to learn the words.

It covers the following topics

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Roman Empire Map

Today's post I'd like to share an old map of the Roman Empire when it was at its largest.  I am a massive fan of maps, and this one I think shows the extent of the roman empire in a particularly stylish way.

It is based approximately in the year AD 107 and you can find a larger resolution version here

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Featured Podcast

Dickinson College have a series of six Latin poetry podcasts, available on iTunes.
Here is the list of their podcasts, and the link to get them.
iTunes link

Monday, 9 July 2012

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Latin in Schools

For the teachers out there, here is a short video from Cambridge University, detailing how they support Latin in Schools. 

Latin in Schools

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Translator: Words By William Whitaker

Words by William Whitaker is one of the best online translators around. It does English-Latin and Latin-English using a very basic interface. 
Words By William Whitaker

There’s also a downloadable program which is available from here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Latin: A Language Far From Dead

Here is a 5 minute video lesson from the University of Arizona, accessible for everyone and available on iTunes U. 

You can find it here. 

It points out (once more) why Latin is a good subject to study. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Featured Website

Latin Wordstock is a website which provides a list of vocabulary in an easy to use fashion, where you select a range of letters from the alphabet. Simple to use but a good selection of commonly used words and quite interactive

Also has a game that : 
is a  skill testing game is designed to test your knowledge of Latin Vocabulary and Derivatives. You will be asked six questions.
 Click here for the game

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Featured Podcast and Website

I found this great resource about the whole Roman History, they have a series of weekly podcasts that :
traces the history of the Roman Empire, beginning with Aeneas's arrival in Italy and ending (someday) with the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire 
The podcasts can be downloaded on iTunes from here

They also have an accompanying website, that you should take a look at, its really good and has illustrations and photos to go along with the podcasts. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012


Just found this great set of crossword exercises that can be completed online, and therefore checked, which go with Wheelock's Latin (6th edition) book. They are split by chapter where they appear, a great way to study and revise! 

Take Me to Some Crosswords!

It should be possible even if you don't follow that textbook, but let me know if this isn't the case! 

You can find the link to this and other interactive exercises here

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Why Study Latin

A new perspective on why Latin is such a valuable language to learn, despite many people's argument that it is a "dead language" and it should remain that way....

This is by far the question Latin teachers are most frequently asked. Interestingly, however, it is only within the past century that this question has arisen. The fact is that until recent years, most considered Latin a necessary staple of a good education. In the 1700’s the University of Georgia, like many of its contemporaries, required of incoming freshmen, “a correct knowledge of Cicero’s orations, Vergil, John and the Acts in the Greek New Testament, “ (LaFleur, 985, p.341) in addition to English Grammar, Geography, and Arithmetic. This is requiring more than the familiar chanting of amo, amas, amat. This statement indicates a desire for an intimate understanding of the language and more than a passing familiarity with her greatest writers. Thomas Jefferson, himself a great supporter of quality education in America, wrote to J.W. Eppes in 1787, “In general, I am of opinion, that till the age of about sixteen, we are best employed on languages: Latin, Greek, French, Spanish.” As Mr. Jefferson suggested, up until the 1920’s Latin was a common course amongst elementary and secondary schools alike, oftentimes a requirement for graduation. However, the times have changed and it seems necessary to defend the virtues of Latin. Unfortunately, these are far too numerous for me to elaborate on here to my liking. So, I will offer the five most common reasons for the teaching of Latin in classical schools.
1. The most commonly regarded benefit is the great improvement in the understanding of the English language. We derive approximately 60% of our English words, and 90% of those words consisting of more than two syllables, from Latin.
- 2. If Latin is so helpful to students’ understanding of English, classified as a Germanic language, it only stands to reason that it would be of even greater help to those languages directly derived from Latin. There are five modern languages that call Latin their parent language. These Romance languages are Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese. 

3. Many are not surprised to learn that Latin significantly increases verbal scores on tests such as the SAT and even GRE exams, scrutinized carefully by prestigious colleges and universities everywhere. It may surprise them, however, that the analytical and problem solving scores, often associated closely with math skills, also increase significantly among Latin students.
4. Another truly wonderful feature of Latin is that it is not merely a means of communication, but a key to unlock the past. Through the writings of Cicero, Caesar, Livy, and others we learn so much about the world of ancient Rome and Greece; a world which has greatly affected our own.
5. Perhaps the greatest benefit that Latin affords is the great door it opens into the world of Literature.

To read the whole argument, you can find it on Classical Academic Press by Karen Moore