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Thread: Learning Latin

  1. #1
    Rinan's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Learning Latin

    Salve! I’m trying to learn Latin so I’ve gone to the local library and picked up a book. However, it’s far from perfect, so I have two questions for all Latin experts of TWC!

    First one is if you maybe have some recommendations for things I could use to learn Latin? I’ve seen quite some useful sites and videos on the web, but I suppose it’ll be counter-effective to be following 5 courses at a time!

    So, the second one is my actual reason for starting this thread. In the book I borrowed from the library are lots of exercises…. But there are no answers provided. Maybe someone could be so kind to check if my answers are correct? I won’t put all the questions online but just a handful, to get a general indication whether I’m making many mistakes or not.

    So far I’ve only learned about the first and second declension nouns and how to conjugate them, as well as adjectives. The exercises are about correctly interpreting which word has which function in a sentence (subject, object, etc.). Please note that the translation of the vocabulary is not part of the exercise. The meaning of words are given so if you think I wrongly translated a word from Latin to English or vice versa, it might be the book’s mistake and not mine. That, or I made a mistake in translating from Dutch to English. (The book is in Dutch, so I have to translate everything from Dutch to English)

    The bit before the dash ( - ) is the original sentence, the bit behind the dash is my translation

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    1.The women see the doors of the houses – Feminae vident casarum portas
    2. The girls give the brooch to their friend – Puellae dant fibulam pallae amicae (fibula pallae is supposed to be a brooch used for a cloak, according to the book)
    3.The houses are of the sailors’ wives – Casae sunt feminarum nautarum
    4. Rosas vident filiae – the daughters see the roses
    5. Galliae poetae vident nautas – The Gallic poets see the sailors
    6. The Gauls and the Romans have a battle – Gallos et Romani faciunt proelium
    7. The Romans conquer their empire with weapons – Romani capit imperium armis
    8. The first enemies fight with good swords en firm shields – inimici primi pugnant gladis bonis et scutis firmis
    9. The Roman girls give big/great gifts to the Gods of the neighbouring Gauls - Puellae Romanae dant donas magnas deis Gallorum proximorum
    10. Bonus Romanorum amicis multis victoriam dat Deus – The good God gives victory to the many Roman friends
    11. The girls of Rome give the beautiful wreaths of the Roman poet to the boy – Puellae Romae dant coronas pulchras poetae Romanus puero

    And last but not least…

    12. Firmi terrarium nautas impediunt longarum venti – The winds trouble the sailors from distant lands


    Thank you a lot in advance! Latin is an interesting language but certainly not an easy one. I’m sorry if this is the wrong subforum for this thread, but I don’t know where else to post. Thema Devia doesn’t seem to have any serious topics at all…
    Last edited by Rinan; August 07, 2011 at 03:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Salve! I’m trying to learn Latin so I’ve gone to the local library and picked up a book. However, it’s far from perfect, so I have two questions for all Latin experts of TWC!

    First one is if you maybe have some recommendations for things I could use to learn Latin? I’ve seen quite some useful sites and videos on the web, but I suppose it’ll be counter-effective to be following 5 courses at a time!

    Music is always very helpful for learning a language there are several nice groups so look around for some Latin music. Start with the chanting and psalms (they have easy grammar) and work your way up to complex poetry.

    Dies Irae, Gregorian
    Quis te furor, by a small band that covers Latin poems and songs

    So, the second one is my actual reason for starting this thread. In the book I borrowed from the library are lots of exercises…. But there are no answers provided. Maybe someone could be so kind to check if my answers are correct? I won’t put all the questions online but just a handful, to get a general indication whether I’m making many mistakes or not.

    I'll take a quick look at your work and see if I an correct it from my memory. I dont have my books with me here.

    So far I’ve only learned about the first and second declension nouns and how to conjugate them, as well as adjectives. The exercises are about correctly interpreting which word has which function in a sentence (subject, object, etc.). Please note that the translation of the vocabulary is not part of the exercise. The meaning of words are given so if you think I wrongly translated a word from Latin to English or vice versa, it might be the book’s mistake and not mine. That, or I made a mistake in translating from Dutch to English. (The book is in Dutch, so I have to translate everything from Dutch to English)

    I speak Dutch as well and we have some good dictionaries. Pinkster's dictionary published by the Amsterdam University Press is the best dictionary out there for Dutch-Latin.

    The bit before the dash ( - ) is the original sentence, the bit behind the dash is my translation

    1.The women see the doors of the houses – Feminae vident casarum portas
    2. The girls give the brooch to their friend – Puellae dant fibulam pallae amicae (fibula pallae is supposed to be a brooch used for a cloak, according to the book)
    3.The houses are of the sailors’ wives – Casae sunt feminarum nautarum
    4. Rosas vident filiae – the daughters see the roses
    5. Galliae poetae vident nautas – The Gallic poets see the sailors
    6. The Gauls and the Romans have a battle – Gallos et Romani faciunt proelium
    7. The Romans conquer their empire with weapons – Romani capit imperium armis
    8. The first enemies fight with good swords en firm shields – inimici primi pugnant gladis bonis et scutis firmis
    9. The Roman girls give big/great gifts to the Gods of the neighbouring Gauls - Puellae Romanae dant donas magnas deis Gallorum proximorum
    10. Bonus Romanorum amicis multis victoriam dat Deus – The good God gives victory to the many Roman friends
    11. The girls of Rome give the beautiful wreaths of the Roman poet to the boy – Puellae Romae dant coronas pulchras poetae Romanus puero.
    12. Firmi terrarium nautas impediunt longarum venti – The winds trouble the sailors from distant lands

    General remark: verbs are usually placed at the very end of a sentence. You'll find this is nearly all of the classical literature. It's a myth that Latin has a free word order.

    1. casa is Italian, domus is Latin => domuum (genitive plural)
    in this case the doors are the object of the verb so they should be in the accusative

    Feminae portas domuum vident.

    2. Just fibula is also correct for a brooch.

    Puellae fibulam amicae dant.

    3. Again casa is Italian, a wife is called uxor while a woman is called femina

    Domus uxorum nautarum sunt.

    4. Your word order is wrong. Verb should be in the back while rosas filiae should stay together.

    Filiae rosas vident.

    5. Word order again (verb)

    Galliae poetae nautas vident.

    6. Word order again (verb) and faciunt proelium is too literal a translation. Use the verb oppugnare instead. Gallos is also wrong but I can't see why exactly.

    Milites Galliae et milites Romani oppugnant.

    10. Strange word order going on here lol. Why do you seperate bonus and deus so much? It's not necessary.

    Deus bonus amicis multis Romanorum victoriam dat.

    ~

    Thank you a lot in advance! Latin is an interesting language but certainly not an easy one. I’m sorry if this is the wrong subforum for this thread, but I don’t know where else to post. Thema Devia doesn’t seem to have any serious topics at all...

    Indeed. Latin is quite difficult the TD is better known as the Home of Spam. PM me if you need more help or information. My Latin days are behind me but I still have lots of books, notes and tests if you want

  3. #3
    empr guy's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by Rinan View Post
    First one is if you maybe have some recommendations for things I could use to learn Latin? I’ve seen quite some useful sites and videos on the web, but I suppose it’ll be counter-effective to be following 5 courses at a time!
    I don't know how good you library selection is (although I can tell you its far better then mine ) but Ecce Romani is a good learning series, it teaches through a story which gets more vocabulary and gammer with each chapter which I thought was pretty good. If you do manage to get ahold of it there is a website that my latin teacher showed me that has lots of activitys and things, you don't necessarily need to have the book to use it but it would probably help.

    http://www.tabney.com/ecce1.html#anchor_12939

    Also something to look out for with catholic latin and the like, apperantly the pronounciation has been changed over time, things like v's were not pronounced in classical latin, G's were all hard, and in the "dies Irae" chant posted they don't pronounce 'ae' as an I.

    Thank you a lot in advance! Latin is an interesting language but certainly not an easy one. I’m sorry if this is the wrong subforum for this thread, but I don’t know where else to post. Thema Devia doesn’t seem to have any serious topics at all…
    yes, latin is a 'fun' languege to learn since it is very intresting, although I found it made other romance langueges seem a bit easier


    And yea then TD isn't the place for this, mabe the history sub forum but there isn't a definitive spot.
    Last edited by empr guy; August 08, 2011 at 07:21 PM.
    odi et amo quare id faciam fortasse requiris / nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior


  4. #4
    Rinan's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    @Boustrophedon:
    Thank you a lot for helping me! It's very kind of you! It's certainly helpful.

    However, let me remind you of a few things I mentioned in the OP: The words I use are given in the book. So they're not my own translation. The exercise was only about correctly conjugating the words I was given. So, casa is Italian (and Spanish), but according to the book (and I searched it on wiktionary too) casa is house in Latin too. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/casa#Latin). As for femina, the book translated it to the dutch "vrouw", so it's my mistake of incorrectly translating it to wife in English! Faciunt proelium is meant to be "strijd leveren" in Dutch. So I translated that to having a battle.

    Secondly, all the sentences left of the - are given by the book, and to the right are my translations. So you say "Rosas vident filiae" has a wrong word order. But that's not my fault, it's the author's fault I think the reason the author does this is because he wants the reader not to rely on word order but on the conjugations of the words in order to interpret the sentence. After all, he claims (unlike you) that there is a free word order. In any case, it's meant to be a trick question in which the reader has to be clever enough to find out that the last word is in fact the subject.

    Same with the sentence: 10. Bonus Romanorum amicis multis victoriam dat Deus - That's not my sentence, the Dutch/English translation is mine The author said it was a "sport for ancient Latin writers to place adjectives as far away as possible from the nouns they describe". So this exercise kind of got almost as difficult as a Sudoku puzzle

    I presume every sentence you didn't comment on is correct? That'd be nice!

    Reading your post makes me doubt the book I've got a lot. It has a lot of negative reviews, but hey.. I picked it up for free at the library so can't complain. The book I'm speaking about is called 'Latijn - Een taal voor iedereen" by René van Royen (for non-Dutch speakers: Latin - A language for everyone).

    Music is always very helpful for learning a language there are several nice groups so look around for some Latin music. Start with the chanting and psalms (they have easy grammar) and work your way up to complex poetry.
    Very true! I knew Dies Irae already and it's a very beautiful song (There are more versions of it too which are very beautiful, but far less easy to understand the lyrics). But from songs you mostly pick up a few words here and there, and it won't ever make you understand the language. And especially for Latin it seems you need some grammar lessons!

    @empr guy
    Thank you for your response!
    I saw a description of Ecce Romani on the internet and it looked good. However, they don't have it at my library I think... Thank you for the link, I'll have a look at it.

    There's a lot of Latin lessons on Youtube as well. What do you guys think of for example this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxK6fC2v6c
    Or should I go for something more professional?

    As for pronuncation, I'm aware of the differences! http://www.ai.uga.edu/mc/latinpro.pdf The last page of this thing has a very handy table concerning the differences in pronuncation. I'm striving for classical pronuncation of course. But it doesn't really matter since it's a written language mostly anyway.

    And yea then TD isn't the place for this, mabe the history sub forum but there isn't a definitive spot.
    Yes well, this place is a little quiet so I was afraid no one would answer. Thank you a lot for having a look!

  5. #5
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    @Boustrophedon:
    Thank you a lot for helping me! It's very kind of you! It's certainly helpful.

    No problem man

    However, let me remind you of a few things I mentioned in the OP: The words I use are given in the book. So they're not my own translation. The exercise was only about correctly conjugating the words I was given. So, casa is Italian (and Spanish), but according to the book (and I searched it on wiktionary too) casa is house in Latin too. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/casa#Latin). As for femina, the book translated it to the dutch "vrouw", so it's my mistake of incorrectly translating it to wife in English! Faciunt proelium is meant to be "strijd leveren" in Dutch. So I translated that to having a battle.

    The fact that casa is in the dictionary does not necessarily mean it's really Latin. I stand corrected that it's accepted as a Latin word, but I doubt many Roman authors used that word.

    For example: Honorificabilitudinitatibus is a correct Latin word but it would never ever be used by Romans. Do you see my point? It's correct but at the same time it's not hehe

    Secondly, all the sentences left of the - are given by the book, and to the right are my translations. So you say "Rosas vident filiae" has a wrong word order. But that's not my fault, it's the author's fault I think the reason the author does this is because he wants the reader not to rely on word order but on the conjugations of the words in order to interpret the sentence. After all, he claims (unlike you) that there is a free word order. In any case, it's meant to be a trick question in which the reader has to be clever enough to find out that the last word is in fact the subject.

    Then you have a faulty book. I hate it when they try to explain something by oversimplifying things. The author probably thinks this teaches you Latin faster and easier but when you start reading actual Latin texts you will notice that the word order is very different and that the way you learned it is useless now. I understand there are different methods of teaching but I don't like this method at all.

    Also there is no free word order in Latin. If he wrote this in his book then he is dead wrong and probably doesn't really understand Latin all that well. You don't have to believe me but I spent my entire high school thinking there was free word order, only to discover in university that it's a myth. My professor, who has dozens and dozens of publications in high-ranking magazines and books, clearly explained this with lots of examples.

    Same with the sentence: 10. Bonus Romanorum amicis multis victoriam dat Deus - That's not my sentence, the Dutch/English translation is mine The author said it was a "sport for ancient Latin writers to place adjectives as far away as possible from the nouns they describe". So this exercise kind of got almost as difficult as a Sudoku puzzle

    Placing related words away from each other was indeed "a sport" for Romans but it's a very difficult trick to pull off and it should not be taught to beginners. This is only found in real literature and there are alot of reasons why the ancient authors did this, but it's way too complicated to properly explain to beginners.

    Bonus Romanorum amicis multis victoriam dat Deus although this is technically correct and accepted, there is no way an ancient author would write like this. The first word, "bonus" in this case, is called the viewpoint. Everything after the first word should be regarded through the eyes of what the first word means. That's why this phrase doesn't make any sense. The fact that he places the subject in the back of the phrase is just ridiculous...

    I presume every sentence you didn't comment on is correct? That'd be nice!

    Yes, they are correct as far as I can tell.

    Reading your post makes me doubt the book I've got a lot. It has a lot of negative reviews, but hey.. I picked it up for free at the library so can't complain. The book I'm speaking about is called 'Latijn - Een taal voor iedereen" by René van Royen (for non-Dutch speakers: Latin - A language for everyone).

    I'm doubting the book too if he claims Latin has a free word order. I don't trust any book that has basic errors in it lol

    Very true! I knew Dies Irae already and it's a very beautiful song (There are more versions of it too which are very beautiful, but far less easy to understand the lyrics). But from songs you mostly pick up a few words here and there, and it won't ever make you understand the language. And especially for Latin it seems you need some grammar lessons.

    Yes they are good for vocabulary and pronunciation but not for grammar.

    I did some quick research on the author of your book. Turns out he's a historian and not a linguist or latinist. He's an author of comic books and children's books, which explains his simplistic views of Latin. His method of comparing Dutch with Latin is also completely stupid because those languages are very very different and you can't learn Latin, while comparing it with Dutch. I suggest you buy a new book.

    I used Aurora in high school and was very satisfied with it.
    Last edited by Boustrophedon; August 09, 2011 at 08:53 AM.

  6. #6
    DAVIDE's Avatar QVID MELIVS ROMA?
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Why Italians use Casa instead of Domus? Casa in Latin is the diminutive of Casula aka hovel, it comes from the Greek Kasa and was used to describe the very poor houses used by the plebians, especially outside the city center. Domus means house as well, but it was the house of patricians/rich people. During the Barbarian invasions we had a linguistical interchange in the Roman language also thanks to the overlapping between foreigner terms and the Latin ones and the general change of life conditions/wealth among the same Romans. The word Casa who meant hovel in Latin, replaced totally the meaning of Domus, the few original Domuses still living/survived at the time remained beautiful examples of housing development never ever repeated/built, at least till the Romanesque era. In that period in ITaly, the term Domus was reserved just as "house of god" aka the main church in a community of people.

  7. #7
    Rinan's Avatar Centenarius
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by Boustrophedon View Post
    @Boustrophedon:
    Then you have a faulty book. I hate it when they try to explain something by oversimplifying things.
    It is I think not a matter of oversimplifying as it is a way to make you get used to a different word order. Still may be faulty though.

    Placing related words away from each other was indeed "a sport" for Romans but it's a very difficult trick to pull off and it should not be taught to beginners. This is only found in real literature and there are alot of reasons why the ancient authors did this, but it's way too complicated to properly explain to beginners.
    Well, maybe it shouldn't be taught to beginners... But if it's in a lot of literature then even the beginning student should get used to the fact that it the nouns and adjectives can be seperated a lot? Actually the explenation follows this excerpt from the Aenas:

    "Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
    Italiam fato profugus Lavinaque venit
    Litora"
    But then you could argue that maybe this sentence shouldn't be taught to a beginner

    His method of comparing Dutch with Latin is also completely stupid because those languages are very very different and you can't learn Latin, while comparing it with Dutch. I suggest you buy a new book.

    I used Aurora in high school and was very satisfied with it.
    To put this into context.. What he does is actually first explaining what a "subject" is, then shows how a "subject" works in Dutch, taking something like 3 pages for it. Then he moves on to how it works in Latin, taking about half a page

    I can't decide whether I should or should not continue with it, because for all its faults I at least do get a general overview of the Latin language. I'll have a look at your suggestion too What do you think about this youtube course? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxK6fC2v6c
    It's so far one of the most attractive courses I have found on the internet.

    Gallos et Romani faciunt proelium
    I looked over it again and maybe Gallos should be Galli instead? (nom. plural) For some reason the book only gave the word for Gaul (Gallia) and not for -a- Gaul, as in a person. So I just guessed it would be something like this. So the sentence would become: Galli et Romani oppugnant

    Thanks again for helping me!

    And davide.cool, thanks for clearing that up. Makes a lot of sense! I think the main reason the author used that word is because it's in the first declension, which is the first (Surprise!) declension I learned.

  8. #8
    empr guy's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by Rinan View Post
    @empr guy
    Thank you for your response!
    I saw a description of Ecce Romani on the internet and it looked good. However, they don't have it at my library I think... Thank you for the link, I'll have a look at it.
    thats a shame, although I'm glad the link might help.
    I've also found this online guide to be helpful




    There's a lot of Latin lessons on Youtube as well. What do you guys think of for example this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxK6fC2v6c
    Or should I go for something more professional?
    well a few minutes in and I can't see anything wrong.


    As for pronuncation, I'm aware of the differences! http://www.ai.uga.edu/mc/latinpro.pdf The last page of this thing has a very handy table concerning the differences in pronuncation. I'm striving for classical pronuncation of course. But it doesn't really matter since it's a written language mostly anyway.

    Yes well, this place is a little quiet so I was afraid no one would answer. Thank you a lot for having a look!
    Hmm, I've never seen Y's and J's, although tbh I've only taken one class so far (which used the ecce romani.) Anyway, good luck with the latin, if the internet library method doesn't work I would recomend a highschool course if your able to take it, Latin isn't the most important thing but I really enjoy anything Rome related
    odi et amo quare id faciam fortasse requiris / nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior


  9. #9
    StealthFox's Avatar Consensus Achieved
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    When I took Latin in university we used this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wheelocks-Lati...3429807&sr=8-4

    This may not be the right book for you or the best one out there, but I thought I would post it anyway. It does have answers for some of the exercises in the back of the book.

    Nota bene: Word order is important in Latin. Sentences normally follow the order: Subject-Object-Verb. However, the point many Latin instructions will note is that a certain order is not necessary for understanding the meaning of the sentence. A different order may not be normal or traditional, but you can usually still understand the meaning.

  10. #10
    Hader's Avatar Things are very seldom what they seem. In my experience, they’re usually a damn sight worse.
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Wheelocks is good, I used it in university as well. Though I would not recommend going through it on your own, having guided instruction really helped with that as is was quite...complex, I guess you could say.

    Listen to the guys who wrote walls of text though, not me, I have only a tiny understanding of the language with only a year of it in university myself

  11. #11
    Copperknickers II's Avatar quaeri, si sapis
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    There's a Latin language thread in the languages section of this forum.

    I've been studying Latin for five years now, it's easily my favourite subject. It doesn't strike me as being particularly difficult to be honest, because there are no native speakers - you can pronounce it how you want, you don't have to learn an entirely different spoken register, and unless you are a university professor you don't have to worry about incomprehensible dialects.
    A new mobile phone tower went up in a town in the USA, and the local newspaper asked a number of people what they thought of it. Some said they noticed their cellphone reception was better. Some said they noticed the tower was affecting their health.

    A local administrator was asked to comment. He nodded sagely, and said simply: "Wow. And think about how much more pronounced these effects will be once the tower is actually operational."

  12. #12
    empr guy's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by Copperknickers II View Post
    because there are no native speakers - you can pronounce it how you want,.

    Ha, ecce romani has an audio book and like half way through they changed narrators, so it went from this guy that was speaking normally to this lady that was rolling r's like in spanish and a bunch of other stuff, it was pretty good. Although I'd say speaking it is probably the easiest part of Latin.
    odi et amo quare id faciam fortasse requiris / nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior


  13. #13
    LordMichael's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    I'm taking my second year of Latin in High School. It's a really cool language, not only does it teach language, but it teaches a huge amount of history.

  14. #14
    TheRomanRuler's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    With google translate:
    French language is pretty similar with latin. So, first translate word/theorem to french, then to french to latin.
    Apologies for anyone who's message i may miss or not be able to answer

  15. #15
    Hader's Avatar Things are very seldom what they seem. In my experience, they’re usually a damn sight worse.
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Quote Originally Posted by TheRomanRuler View Post
    With google translate:
    French language is pretty similar with latin. So, first translate word/theorem to french, then to french to latin.
    Or just learn Latin directly. French is obviously similar as a romance language but not enough to justify that I think, Italian would even be a better bet. French also has wildly different pronunciation.

  16. #16
    Dominicvs's Avatar Biarchus
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    Default Re: Learning Latin

    http://www.textkit.com/

    The best place. 100%

    I taught myself Classical Latin, with having experience in Italian and French, and my native tongue is English - I first downloaded 'Latin for Beginners - Benjamin D'Ooge' but then I bought a paper copy of it on Ebay, I recommend it for anybody if you have any small background in a Romance language.

    I am considering starting a Classical Latin course here on TWC (in the TWC University) for absolute beginners to get them up to a level that would equip them to take intermediate/advanced courses for themselves, making it much easier to beginners - including Skype calls and vocal lessons, send me a PM for interest!
    Last edited by Dominicvs; January 03, 2012 at 04:06 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Learning Latin

    Originally Posted by AugustIr
    Hello all, I'm August, a third year student pursuing my online degree in Linguistics at Bircham International University. Now, as I'm having some more free time, I would like to learn Latin from scratch and improve my German, as I domyhomeworkonline translating texts from English to German. My great grandfather was a German-born professor of Latin (and I was named after him). I have a for languages, so I guess it won't be that difficult. Any books for a reading start? Thanks.
    August

    Hello August,
    Learn To Read Latin by Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russell (+ Part I Workbook and Part II Workbook).
    Or you might also want to consider summer programs in ancient languages taught online at numerous universities (or hybrid courses): Berkeley Summer Sessions, The Catholic University of America, etc.



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