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Lingva Latina per se illvstrata, by Hans H. Ørberg

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:46 pm
by Publius Nonius Severus
Salvete Omnes!

As I am trying to improve my conversational latin, I came across the following latin course. Granted, I do not think it focuses on conversational latin, but it looks outstanding none the same.

Lingva Latina per se illvstrata
, by Hans H. Ørbergis a latin course written entirely in latin. It is in two parts: basics and advanced. That's right, entirely in latin.

The concept is simple but brilliant. For example, the first chapter begins with a map of the Roman Empire and on the next page a picture showing an island in an ocean, a town along the coast, and a river along side the town leading to the ocean. Printed by each feature there is but a single word: Insula, Oppidium, and Fluvius respectively. Then the text of the chapter begins "Roma in Italia est. Italia in Europa est. Italia et Graecia in Europa sunt..." it goes on like this, each sentence building onto the previous one, so that by the end of the first page alone you have additional vocabulary and concepts such as quoque, non, estne. There are notes in the margins to highlight major features of the grammar (e.g. est, sunt: Italia in Europe est. Italia et Graecia in Europa sunt). Chapter 2 starts with a picture of a family: a man, a woman, and three small children. The only words in the picture are their names. The story then proceeds: "Iulius vir Romanus est. Aemilia femina Romana est..." and so on.

I know this may not seem awfully impressive at this level (and especially so by my description) but I think the direct method is the best organic way to learn a language. As you peruse the subsequent chapters it becomes evident how effective this method can really be.

There are numerous sample pages included at the website for the course I linked to above (click on "Sample Pages").

As I have stated before, I am a big fan of the Oxford Latin Course. One of the things I liked about it was that each chapter started with a short illustrated story that introduces the major concpets for the chapter and vocabulary. Well, the "per se illvstrata" course is entirely composed in that fashion.

Does anyone have any experience with this course? If so, I would love to hear your impressions!

One of the things I most regret from my education was that I never took Latin in High School (nor college). After undertaking the study of Latin at age 29 several years ago I immediately remarked how much better I would have perfomed on my SAT's, other standardized tests, and other educational endeavors as well had I studied it earlier in life (I was so puerile in my childhood ;)). I decided then and there that my children would learn Latin and at an early age. I think the "per se illvstrata" course would be a perfect way to introduce Latin to kids because of it's simple format, direct method of learning, and fun and interseting presentation (Even though I want them to learn Latin, I will not force it down their throats). My oldest is 8 and I'm going to try the first couple sample pages of the course on her tonight to see how it goes. Regardless, I will be ordering the course tonight as well to fully examine it.

So, if you've used this: What do you think? If you have not and it sounds interesting to you, check it out!



PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:38 pm
by Iacobulus
Iacobulus Publio spd -

It's never too late! I'm glad you're enjoying learning Latin. I'm not familiar with this text, but it is a unique "baptism by fire" approach.

But for improving conversational Latin, I would stick to texts that focus on more contemporary subject matter, like Traupman's books (but of course OLC and the text you mention are essential for grammar and syntax). And the best approach for improving conversational Latin is to speak it with someone else!

At my university (University of Kentucky), we have graduate program called the Latin Institute where all courses are taught in Latin (I will complete the Institute this semester). We also host an annual Conventiculum, a 7-day workshop where only Latin is spoken (we have participants from around the country).

Conventicula Aestiva:
Institutum Studiis Latinis Provehendis:

Also, Stephen A. Berard, Professor of World Languages at Wenatchee Valley College (Washington state), has been hosting his own "Latin Day" in Seattle for some time now (he is also a regular participant at the Conventiculum). His spoken Latin events are more frequent. Here's his site:

And I'm glad you like the Oxford Latin Course, we teach our Latin classes here with it (I've taught with Ecce Romani and OLC is a step above it in my opinion). However personally I prefer the more holistic and "rote memorization" approach of texts such as Wheelock's or Moreland & Fleischer (I learned Latin from M & F myself).

Bonam Fortunam habeas causa linguae Latinae loquendae atque cura ut quam optime valeas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:46 pm
by Publius Nonius Severus
Salvete Iterum!

I happy to report that today I received my copy of Lingua Latina and I am even more enthusiastic about it after skimming through it then viewing the preview from the website. Just as promised by the sample pages and overview, this course is an ingeniously designed system of building your Latin knowledge one step at a time.

One thing I didn't see in the sample pages was the grammar and vocabulary review at the end of each chapter. It does a great job of summing up all of the grammar noted in the side margins of the pages in the chapter. It is well organized.

I ordered parts I and II. Part I is really meant for someone never exposed to the language but I will go through it quickly hopefully and move on to part II. I will continue to review this course and hope it lives up to its initial appraisal. I am also still going to experiment with my 8-yr old to see how applicable it might be to younger students!