More information about the Samothrace Latin Exercises and how they work.

The Samothrace Latin Exercises is a new series of audio workouts for studying Latin, combining many things I have learned about teaching Latin, and constructing stand-alone audio courses since I started with my first audio presentation of Adler's 'A Practical Grammar of the Latin Language' in 2006.

The audio for the exercises is hosted at Patreon, and you can access them by subscribing at Latinum's Patreon.

The exercises are 'translation INTO Latin (from English)' - something few modern Latin courses focus on, and when they do, the translation work is limited. It is certainly not the exclusive focus of modern teaching materials.

This is not a 'Latin - in - Latin' system. Despite the popularity of such methods, the academic research into language study does not point to any measurable benefit from using such an approach.

The course incorporates many ideas from recent language study research - such as the huge importance of constant quizzing and repetition for successful progress, and the need for 'comprehensible input'.

I am using a wide variety of source texts: The Descriptive Latin Grammar of Verepaeus forms an important part of the course - and you will be studying it in Latin. So too are various works by Comenius incorporated - his 'Portico', 'Foundation' and 'Introduction to the Authors' are all used for source material.

Selections are included from Corderius and Hoole, as are some sections of Heyden's textbooks for young children, and the once famous 'Sentences for Youths'. Selections from Bible stories are also included, as are stories from mythology and secular texts. A wide variety of Latin is presented, from a broad range of time periods. As the course advances, more complex Latin will be introduced, including a gradual introduction to Latin poetry.

Rigorous testing is encountered at every moment - fantastical amounts of it - and will ensure that your language skill develops rapidly. The exercises are short, because they demand a lot from you.

The immediate feedback means that when you make an error, you can correct yourself without undue stress. There is a huge amount of repetition, so the most common words and structures in the language will begin to be familiar very rapidly.

This massive amount of repetition means that as you advance, you will find yourself having to think hard less often - and get the pleasant reward for getting things correct more and more frequently as you advance. Every word is tested. Always. Even the most frequent words.

There is no formal index to the series of exercises, apart from the numbered list - the course is holistic - and follows more natural language processing. The course of exercises winds its way like a meandering stream, making its way lazily across a verdant meadow. You will not find rigid tables of verbs and declensions here - but if you use the course, you will end up knowing them all.

The basic structure is that developed by Prendergast, but with a much wider variety of material, and less complex sentences. Prendergast's artificial sentences are excellent workouts - much like playing the Grand Scales when learning the pianoforte - and I recommend that course as well, but I think Prendergast asks too much for a modern student of Latin, and his course is better suited to upper intermediate and advanced students.

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  3. Andrée-Ann Cyr, Nicole D. Anderson. Learning from your mistakes: does it matter if you’re out in left foot, I mean field? Memory, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2018.1464189

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  5. Kalif E Vaughn 1, Katherine A Rawson Diagnosing criterion-level effects on memory: what aspects of memory are enhanced by repeated retrieval? Psychol Sci . 2011 Sep;22(9):1127-31

Previous research has shown that increasing the criterion level (i.e., the number of times an item must be correctly retrieved during practice) improves subsequent memory, but which specific components of memory does increased criterion level enhance? In two experiments, we examined the extent to which the criterion level affects associative memory, target memory, and cue memory. Participants studied Lithuanian-English word pairs via cued recall with restudy until items were correctly recalled one to five times. In Experiment 1, participants took one of four recall tests and one of three recognition tests after a 2-day delay. In Experiment 2, participants took only recognition tests after a 1-week delay. In both experiments, increasing the criterion level enhanced associative memory, as indicated by enhanced performance on forward and backward cued-recall tests and on tests of associative recognition. An increased criterion level also improved target memory, as indicated by enhanced free recall and recognition of targets, and improved cue memory, as indicated by enhanced free recall and recognition of cues.

  1. Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist, Sara Stillesjö, Micael Andersson, Bert Jonsson, Lars Nyberg Retrieval practice facilitates learning by strengthening processing in both the anterior and posterior hippocampus Brain Behav. 2021 Jan;11(1):e01909. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1909. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

A large number of behavioral studies show that retrieval practice is a powerful way of strengthening learning of new information.
  1. Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist, Sara Stillesjö, Micael Andersson, Bert Jonsson, Lars Nyberg Retrieval Practice Is Effective Regardless of Self-Reported Need for Cognition - Behavioral and Brain Imaging Evidence Front Psychol. 2022 Feb 10;12:797395. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.797395. eCollection 2021.

There is an emerging consensus that retrieval practice is a powerful way to enhance long-term retention and to reduce achievement gaps in school settings.