This week I began my summer Latin intensive with Donann Warren, MA (Classics). We are using Maurice Balme and James Morwood, Oxford Latin Course, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). We may also do things with the Vulgate so I have Nestle and Aland’s Novum Testament Graece et Latine.
I was wondering what resources have you found helpful in learning Latin, from grammars to dictionaries to texts you have translated?
William Whitaker’s Words (http://archives.nd.edu/latgramm.htm) is a good resource if you’re stuck.
Perseus has a Latin option as well, plus the dictionary entries from two Latin dictionaries (Lewis and Short and Elem. Lewis).
I have Lewis’ elementary dictionary that I use to look up stuff at home, but I typically use the Oxford Latin dictionary while at home.
If you have an iPod touch or iPhone and have the iFlash app, you can download a bunch of vocabulary cards I made of the 1400 most common Latin words to help build vocab.
If you’re learning the ecclesiastical pronunciation, here’s a useful audio site:
I listen to it frequently.
Blessings on your studies!
Oxford Latin is what I learned from and I found it to be very good in some ways but lacking in others. (A serious lack is the skill of the artist). I think the biggest pedagogical gap in the textbook is the relative lack of real Latin. Of course I understand that at first it is difficult to fully embrace real Latin but as soon as possible you need to find something simple to read. Fortunately the Latin Vulgate is mostly simple and could possibly work as such a supplement. Unfortunately it is not really representative of classical Latin. I think it is probably a good place to start but as soon as you get a handle on things maybe try some simple Catullus (though that will involve a lot of dictionary reference) or Caesar.
As for dictionaries I recommend the Langenscheidt for a beginner to intermediate student.
Oh also invaluable of course is perseus.tufts.edu
“A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin” by John F. Collins. I haven’t gone through it yet (it’s a fall/spring project), but just skimming through it I think it looks nice. The examples and translations exercises are either from the Vulgate or from documents of Church History, and there are notes about pronunciation for chanting.
I’ve never taken Latin, but I’ve heard positive things about Wheelock’s.
Brian: Wheelock’s is great. I’m teaching from Wheelock’s in the Fall. It assumes that one has a grasp of English grammar. For one whose grammar is perhaps a bit rusty, Seligson’s “Latin for Reading” is good, though a bit quirky. For instance, instead of listing the paradigms in the traditional Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Ablative (like Wheelock’s), she lists them Nominative, Accusative, Ablative, Dative, Genitive. I would suggest either book to someone who is just starting off.
@Joshua: Thanks! The Words website looks very helpful, but it seems that I’ll need to become better versed with Latin to take advantage of it more. Regarding the dictionary, I will take a look at those. Are you familiar with the Collins Consise line of dictionaries? Do you think something like Collins Latin Concise Dictionary would be useful?
@Dave: Thanks for that link! Yes, I plan to get into ecclesiastical Latin after I get the basics down. The Latin audio will really be helpful.
@Jonathan: I loved the comment about the artist skill! Thanks for your thoughts on the Oxford Latin book. Are you familiar with the more advanced books in the series, and would you know if they begin to get into more real Latin? I’ll check out the dictionary. On the same note, I linked to the Collins at the beginning of this comment—are you familiar with it, and if so, any thoughts on it for a beginner-intermediate student?
@Ryan: Thank you! I will take a look at that. Chanting is quite fun, although I hardly know how to do it apart from a few phrases I hear all the time. With the Collins book, do the Vulgate selections and documents progress with the lessons?
@Brian: Yes, Donann also uses Wheelock, but felt that it was too dry for an introduction to Latin. It’s always nice to make learning FUN!
Fun?….Well, I guess. 🙂
Sounds like you need more of that in your studies. 🙂
@John: Since I haven’t gone through the text yet, I’m not sure. This is what the preface says, which may answer your question:
“In the exercises actual quotations form the New Testament and major liturgical texts occur modestly at first, but by the middle units about half the exercises already are direct quotations; some later unites even illustrate their points of syntax and their vocabulary entirely by unadapted citations. The last fifteen units conclude with extended original passages, carefully graded to match the students’ growing knowledge of grammar and supplemented only by the necessary glosses; thus, in the second semester, what begins as a partial devotion of time, after Unit 35, ends as an entire devotion to reading.”
I would recommend Oxford’s Latin Grammar as a brief grammar guide, and E.C. Woodcock’s A New Latin Grammar for something a bit more in depth.
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