About the course
NOTE: This full-year course is the same as the two semester-long courses The Heart of Latin and Speak Like a Roman. This course provides a convenient way to purchase both of those courses simultaneously if one wants to do both semesters.
This course meets on Thursday, 11:30-1 PT for the fall semester, and Wednesday, 3-4:30 PT for the spring semester.
Languages develop in the ear and in the mouth, not on the page. The truest and fullest understanding of a language unfolds from the place where one can speak it and hear it spoken. Much of Latin seems counter-intuitive to English-speaking students. Seemingly arbitrary and very difficult features of the language like cases, word order, and the incredible number of verb forms not only make the language difficult to learn, they also take a major toll on student motivation.
This course will tackle those issues by considering the weird aspects of Latin grammar from the standpoint of the fundamental goal of all language: communication. Students will be introduced to Latin as a spoken language in order to help them connect to a deeper love and understanding of Latin and will learn the peculiarities of speaking an inflected language and will practice speaking through games, prepared dialogues, scenarios, and improvisational discussion. They will practice speaking in an engaging environment that encourages play and trial and error, and that emphasizes taking risks over attaining perfection. As we answer the many “why” questions about Latin that often go undiscussed in the regular course of study, students will discover a love of Latin and of language in general that will make them excited to continue in their study. (This course is supplemental to a normal course of Latin study; it does not replace it.)
- To develop an understanding of how language in general works and the elements that go into making up meaning
- To map the major features of Latin grammar onto these basic features of language
- To gain a sense that Latin grammar is a particularly ingenious way of solving certain communication problems
- To discuss issues with the learning of Latin grammar in isolation from the task of learning that grammar
- To explore English grammar and the way it addresses similar challenges.
- Examples will be drawn from both English and Latin literature