Ad astra per aspera.
Considered to be one of the most popular phrases in the Latin language, the Romans were certainly at the top of the game when it came to creating meaningful messages.
'Ad astra per aspera' directly translates to 'Through adversity to the stars'. Simply put, it is the ability to overcome hardship, resulting in a favorable outcome.
This phrase is often used in more challenging periods to insight greater confidence and motivation in overcoming and achieving what may seem at the time a demanding situation.
In relation to learning a language, many students will feel that during some periods of their studying, their ability to develop fluency may at times seem an uphill struggle.
Rather than dwell in exasperation, mutter these words and remember that the Romans remained hopeful in times of uncertainty, which lead to one of the strongest and most prominent empires known to this day.
Living in a metropolis like New York already poses a wealth of advantages. Although people have a tendency to embark upon online courses to support their learning, there are also more conventional approaches to studying a language that can provide additional benefits.
From specialist language tutors, group workshops & seminars to physical resources that can be accessed via public libraries; The Big Apple will provide a wealth of options to kick start your development as a speaker of Latin.
Introduction to Latin
Audentes fortuna iuvat
It is true what they say - 'fortune favors the bold!'
In relation to language learning, students must first acknowledge the challenge, yet sustain a sufficient level of commitment and focus in achieving their goals.
The first step in learning Latin is identifying grammatical structure and vocabulary and understanding how this compares and contrasts from English.
One of the main contrasts between the two is that Latin is more of an inflected language, whereas English is heavily reliant on the structural wording of sentences i.e. subject, verb, and noun.
In simpler terms, Latin does not need to follow a guided structure when it comes to wording, for subjects, nouns, and verbs can be placed in different parts within a sentence yet still be grammatically sound.
The use of articles within a sentence is a further difference within the structure of the two languages. The use of 'a', 'an' and 'the' are mainly used within English to identify which noun is being addressed, whereas in Latin different methods are used, and the use of such articles deem unnecessary.
Similar to most romantic languages including Portuguese, nouns in Latin are addressed through gender ruling i.e. feminine and masculine. This is not the case in English and the process of remembering this is quite simply memorization techniques, for there are largely no rules associated with what objects are either feminine or masculine.
Identifying these differences will allow a student to begin understanding Latin more effectively! Now, let's have a look at the opportunities that are available across the city for aspiring Latin speakers.
Learning Latin in New York
Firstly, acknowledging which higher educational establishments within the city offer Latin courses is the first step! Also, some high schools across the country also offer their students the opportunity to learn classical languages.
Here is a list of colleges and universities in New York which offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Latin:
-University at Buffalo
-Queens College of the City, New York
-Lehman College of the City, University of New York
As well as these, there are a number of additional establishments that offer Latin and other classical academic courses.
It is always advised for students to gain additional, extra-curricular support during their studies. Thankfully, if studying in New York, there are multiple companies, including Superprof, in which trained and experienced tutors offer their services to support students.
These tutors can come at a range of prices (usually per hour) and their availability can often be monitored online. Direct communication with the tutors allows opportunities to dictate the best times/dates when organizing tutoring sessions as well as for deciding the best places to meet.
Tutoring websites almost always aim to match you with educators who live within close proximity. These 1:1 lessons can either be conducted at the tutors or students' home as well as in a public space i.e. a public library or a local coffee shop.
What has become increasingly popular over the years is conducting online tutoring over video call platforms such as Skype and FaceTime. The benefit of this is that you do not have to commute to your session which saves time and is often more financially viable.
Conducting online sessions also means that you can have a tutor who doesn't necessarily have to live within your locality, therefore giving the student more choice in picking their preferred tutor.
Course Horse is also a popular platform based in New York which offers a range of educational courses for locals.
Varying from price range, subject, and longevity, as a student you will have a plethora of courses to choose from - some which are more tailored to specific areas.
An upcoming course advertised on their website is named 'Botanical Latin' and is hosted at the New York Botanical Gardens. With almost five hundred reviews, this opportunity comes with a list of strong recommendations from previous users.
So, for plant lovers who have an interest in learning Latin, this is the perfect option for you! In the description of the course, it mentions specifically that students will review the rules of taxonomy through the use of Latin grammar and pronunciation.
The benefit of embarking upon a course on this particular platform is that the course providers do not require any previous academic certifications which means that anybody can enroll!
Another company that offers structured lectures and learning materials for aspiring Latin speakers can be found on The Great Courses website.
Similar to Course Horse, their Latin 101: Learning a Classic Language comes with positive reviews and recommendations from previous students who have purchased and completed it.
With an average of 30 minutes, in total there are 36 lectures which hone in and specify within particular learning areas to help organize and structure learning without it becoming too overwhelming.
Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller takes you through each of the lectures and there are various wording prompts and moments within the lectures in which you must repeat and respond appropriately.
Professor Mueller helps to establish the personal benefits one can gain from learning the Latin language. He goes onto discuss how it can make you a more practical and decisive thinker whilst installing a basis of understanding that will help in facilitating the transition between learning other romantic languages i.e. French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
From exploring works from Caesar, Cicero and St Jerome, as well as gaining an understanding of the history, laws, religious beliefs and further aspects of the Roman culture, this course particularly appeals to those who wish to develop their understanding of the Roman culture whilst establishing how the Latin language became so prevalent in today's society.
Usually, an interest in learning Latin stems from two main ambitions: a desire to study the Roman culture, or the wish to gain fluency within more than one of the romantic languages: this course certainly facilitates both of these ambitions.
Latin is still found to this day when referring to technical scientific terms, legislation and other fields including the various proclamations of the Catholic Church.
So, having listed the many benefits and reasons that comprise of learning Latin - now it is time to take the step forward by enrolling in an online course or hiring a private/online tutor! As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.