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Introduction to Latin

By Christopher, published on 15/10/2019 Blog > Languages > Latin > What To Expect When Learning Latin

Mastering a new skill is never a straight forward task; whether that is learning a new language, riding a bike without stabilizers to scaling Mount Kilimanjaro – learning to accomplish something takes work.

Classical languages like Latin and Greek bare no exception.

Language learning requires a number of steps to develop one’s proficiency, check out the very basics of learning Latin to help develop your understanding.

From regular studying sessions, verbally communicating with tutors/fellow learners as well as engrossing yourself within the history of the language, each is a great way to help drive personal development.

Considering Latin is the basis for all romantic languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian), students with fluency within either of these modern languages will immediately identify similarities within the vocabulary.

Although some of the English language is influenced by Latin, its origins reside from an alternate historical influence.

The present mother tongue of the world is a West-Germanic language which originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects that arrived in Britain between the 5th-7th Century by Anglo-Saxon settlers.

Therefore, if you are embarking upon Latin with only a fundamental knowledge of the English language, this could be even more of a challenge.

There are however insurmountable benefits to learning Latin. As 90% of the language can be found in the romantic languages which are currently spoken across the world today, it gives you an effective base to learn either of these more effectively.

In our current day and age, we no longer have to attend a public library and rent out a weathered paperback textbook which was published in the late 20th Century to develop our knowledge, for there are a wealth of resources online to support our learning, meaning we do not have to be in a fixed place i.e. New York or London to gain access to learning materials.

In this article, we will identify specific learning styles and how identifying your personal style may develop your learning at a quicker rate.

Also, we will look into general sentencing structures whilst identifying differences between the grammatical structures and alphabet of Latin and the English language.

 

The Most Effective Ways To Learn Latin

A student focuses during a lecture. Every learner is unique and it is imperative that students are aware of the various learning styles. (Source: Visualhunt)

Exposing yourself to multiple platforms when it comes to learning Latin is a great way to identify the most effective strategies that work for you.

Find below some examples of the various platforms you can use:

-Online language games

Traditional textbooks

-Phone applications

-Latin tutoring (1:1)

-Online tutoring

Audio programs

-Online forums

-Structured language lessons (group learning)

-Undergrad/Postgraduate higher education

As you can see, there are a range of opportunities out there for those who wish to develop their understanding of the Latin language, and considering most schools across America have reduced opportunities for students to learn classical languages, these are certainly options worth considering.

There is an abundance of materials that can be used online and although some websites require monthly (paid) subscriptions, other websites offer such resources for free and they can be downloaded straight onto a computer or tablet/phone.

Doing so means you can access such learning materials at any given point which allows continuous opportunities to learn on the move.

Undergraduate and postgraduate learning is certainly a more committed move in learning Latin. Yet, a student doesn’t necessarily have to major in Latin to partake in modules related to the learning of the language.

Historical arts and history majors, especially at postgraduate level, have the opportunity to specialize in Romanic literature. To understand such archaic texts, you must have a fundamental understanding of the Latin language (that is if not the whole texts have been translated which isn’t always the case).

A simple search on any of the main search engines will immediately give you access to resources to begin learning Latin, so what are you waiting for?

Note to remember: the more online platforms you explore, the increased chance you will have of finding a website/app which will be more suited to your learning preferences!

 

Identifying Your Learning Style

Two pairs of headphones hang from the wall. Some students learn more effectively when using audio equipment! (Source: Visualhunt)

This can often be overlooked but identifying the most effective way in which people learn ensures a quicker and more effective rate of language learning proficiency.

Here we have identified the seven main styles of learning, whilst highlighting how these can relate to learning Latin:

Visual (Spatial)

This is when the learner interacts more effectively when using pictures, images, and spatial understanding. There are multiple activities you can find online which employ such learning strategies to support people who are studying the Latin language.

Aural (auditory-musical)

For those who are a fan of listening! Auditory learners have the ability to endorse and memorize information more effectively when they hear it in the form of music or basic conversation.

Audiobooks and downloadable language CD’s are both effective ways for auditory learners to study Latin.

Verbal (linguistic)

This is when the learner prefers using speech and general conversation as well as writing in a new language.

1:1 language tutoring is always an effective method for those who are more stimulated with verbal/linguistic styles. The opportunity to discuss/converse with a trained Latin speaker is an effective way to develop vocabulary as well as iron out any misconceptions.

Physical (kinaesthetic)

This is when someone prefers using their body and senses to endorse information; remaining active when learning is often deemed effective for a large number of learners.

Such styles can be combined as learners can respond effectively to different approaches. For example, combining auditory and kinaesthetic learning can be done so by listening to an audio language tape whilst running – this combines the best of both worlds as you are partaking in physical activity whilst listening to Latin!

Logical (mathematical)

This is when someone enjoys using logic, reasoning and various systems to aid in their learning. This can be especially helpful when studying the Latin numbers system.

Roman numerals are used more commonly so than Latin vocabulary. Roman numerals can often be spotted in modern literature, television programs, and films – they are still used on a number of analog clocks to this day!

Social (interpersonal)

Many people have a preference when it comes to learning in groups or individually. From an interpersonal perspective, this is when people enjoy learning collaboratively, whether this is with a study partner or within groups of people.

If you feel additional motivation working with others, then finding a study group may just be the right option for you!

Structured lessons and Latin programs in which you are learning with others will obviously be the best option if you fall within this category.

Social (intrapersonal) 

This is actually the opposite of the previous social learning style. As previously mentioned, some people prefer to work alone as this enhances their concentration levels.

So, independent learners would not work more effectively within the presence of others and therefore accessing materials to foster independent learning would be the best approach. This could come in the form of online materials or textbooks about Latin.

 

Latin Sentence Structure

Latin writing. The Latin alphabet differs to the conventional English lettering system. (Source: Visualhunt)

Now to the syntax!

The arrangement of words and phrases can often be a tricky one when it comes to learning a new language.

If you are studying Latin as an English speaker then there are some notable differences you must first understand.

Firstly, there are some similarities in the structure of these languages. Similar to English, a basic sentence in Latin can begin with the subject, followed by the verb and finally followed by the object.

However, what separates the syntax between the two languages is that in Latin, the order of these can be switched around yet the sentence itself will remain grammatically sound.

Although the order can be manipulated, Romans would often remain within one form to ensure their writing and speaking remained consistent! So, if you are looking to change up the grammatical order of sentences in Latin, ensure you keep to a rule to prevent your speaking and writing from becoming uncoordinated and difficult to understand

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