BLOG

The Latinum Institute - An Online Latin Language Learning Pioneer

Latinum started as a podcast in 2006, and over the period 2006 to 2008, the Adler Latin Language structured immersion course was developed and produced.

This is a complete Latin course, and has over 190 hours of Latin tuition in audio. Student difficulties have been addressed and at every stage, and whenever an issue was unclear, the section was re-recorded to address the problem, and re-issued. The end result is a comprehensive Latin audio course that can be used by all students, even those who think that a difficult language like Latin cannot be studied alone. The Latin Institute's unique structured programme makes Latin self study possible and achievable.

The best way to learn Latin is by using an audio course. You will learn Latin grammar, but most of the actual learning will be inductive - you will learn from the thousands of examples and lessons we have created specially for you, and as you work your way through the huge structured audio library, you will find your Latin knowledge and ability level will develop rapidly.

The Latinum Institute moved to Patreon in 2017, and since then 1,500 students have used Latinum's resources. Latinum also has a Youtube Channel with 30,000 subscribers.

The course was first released via the podcast, as user feedback was needed to develop and adjust the way the course was presented ; and the course has been re-recorded once already.

Latinum has been dealing with the thorny question of 'How to Learn Latin' efficiently and thoroughly for over a decade now, and our experience has lead to the development of a wide range of audio course materials to guide you through your study of the language.

Unlike the Cambridge Latin Course, Rosetta Stone or the Lingua Latina course of Oerberg, you will not have to spend any money of textbooks; Unlike Duolingo, the Latin Institute's course is a complete, multi-year course.

The Latinum Institute only uses out of copyright books - these are updated and modernised in audio where necessary; the end result is an economical multi-year Latin course that will help you gain actual command of this language, and become a fluent reader of it.

Latinum uses Patreon to host its files and process payments, so there is an online Latin app to learn Latin, via Patreon.

Many students who have struggles with learning Latin for years have found that Latinum has finally helped them achieve their goal. We believe we have the most developed and complete online audio Latin course available online.

The course consists of formal lessons, and a large amount of specialist immersion material.

These resources can be broken down into a variety of categories:

1. Formal Latin courses in audio. The Adler Course has additional utilities developed by our students, such as complete ANKI flashcard backs and Clozemaster exercises.

2. Introductory audio readers for beginners read in Latin-English-Latin. These also have Latin-only versions.

3. Shadowing recordings, in Latin, where you listen to the Latin, and read along in a published interlinear text, or other text that has a parallel literal English translation.

4. Reverse shadowing recordings in English, where you listen to the English, while reading along yourself in the Latin. This is an excellent method for students at a variety of levels.

5. Latin paraphrases - these are audio recordings in a simplified Latin, where ambiguities are resolved and the Latin is re-written to make it reasier for a student to access the text; these are a prelude to reading the text in the original.

6. Latin audiobooks and storybooks at a variety of levels.

7. Tar Heel Storybooks,; some are available on Youtube with audio.

8. Specialist vocabulary study audio files, such as 'Swallowing the Dictionary'.

9. Latin texts in the original form presented as audiobooks.

10. Latin texts in the vernacular - English translations of Latin texts as audiobooks.

The Latinum Institute presents its materials for ease of access in catalogues for Beginners' Latin, Beginners' Plus Latin, Intermediate Latin, Intermediate Plus Latin, and Advanced Latin.

There are separate catalogues for Hebrew, Aramaic and Ancient Greek,




Semantic Similarity and Vocabulary Recall

If you have looked at, or decided to use Comenius' Januae Linguarum Fundamentum (In the Shadowing Catalogue) , you will see that he links words and creates networks of meaning as a vocabulary learning and memorisation tool.

His system is far from perfect of course - but his instincts about what makes word learning easier seem to have been broadly correct.

Comenius tried many permutations - indeed, you can see evidence of this in his output - seemingly repetitive publications, where the vocabulary is arranged for learning in different ways. For example, he published two completely different versions of the Januae LatinitatisVestibulum - one is organised along the lines of semantic webs, the other is not.

His Lexicon Januale is also a semantic-web text; and was also composed as a word building tool, not as a dictionary.

However, his Januae Latinitatis Fundamentum is the most extreme of these systems; Comenius, through regular experimentation and pedagogic investigation, appears to have hit on something that has now been uncovered experimentally - quite serendipitously - through brain research on epilepsy patients in a groundbreaking study by the NIH.

The outcome of this research, published this week, is " that the more memorable words were more semantically similar, or more often linked to the meanings of other words used in the English language. This meant, that when the researchers plugged semantic similarity data into the computer model it correctly guessed which words that were memorable from patients and healthy volunteer test. In contrast, this did not happen when they used data on word frequency or concreteness. "

In other words, our brains to not find more frequently occurring words easier to recall.

That is why studying using word frequency lists is so unsatisfying - you would think logically this would be the easy route to vocabulary learning - but experience tells that it simply is not. We now know why this system does not work to make life easier. Nor are obviously 'concrete' words easier to recall than more abstract ones.

Comenius' spider-webs of words woven together into a cross fertilising matrix of meaning, appear to be ideally suited to our brains.

Comenius' goal in the Januae Latinitatis Fundamentum is to create networks of semantically linked works - and in a way, his structures appear to actually imitate the way our internal brain search engine works.

I know of no other vocabulary study resource that does this.

Another reason for learning Latin - it can help you become a good coder.

An interesting study was published by researchers at the University of Washington in March 2 in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from the Nature Publishing Group .

The long and short of it is that there is a stronger correlation between advanced language skills and coding ability, than between maths skills and coding ability.

Things that make a language learner develop - problem solving skills, the ability to learn a new vocabulary, and syntax, and work out how the two combine to form meaning, are important in coding as well.

Chantel Prat, the Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington in the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences says, “ stereotypes of what a good programmer looks like, are centered around the idea that programming relies heavily on math abilities, and that idea is not born out in our data .”

Coding is traditionally boxed in there with mathematics and engineering, and is not thought to be connected to the humanities. But coding has its foundation in human language, after all. Programming a computer involves arranging symbols meaningfully, following rules of that programming language's syntax. It is not called a 'programming language' figuratively. Here, it is quite literal.

Ultimately, researchers found that scores from the language aptitude test were the strongest predictors of participants’ learning rate in Python. Scores from tests in numeracy and fluid reasoning were also associated with Python learning rate, but each of these factors explained less variance than language aptitude did.

Presented another way, across learning outcomes, participants’ language aptitude, fluid reasoning and working memory, and resting-state brain activity were all greater predictors of Python learning than was numeracy, which explained an average of 2% of the differences between people. Importantly, Prat also found that the same characteristics of resting-state brain data that previously explained how quickly someone would learn to speak French, also explained how quickly they would learn to code in Python.


50% of scientific English is Latin.

Writing good English: is scientific English a Latin language in disguise? Available from: http://www.medicalexpress.net.br/details/315/writing-good-english--is-scientific-english-alatin-language-in-disguise

A comment by Carlos Alberto de Bragança Pereira

I have read an article recently published in "Medical Express", "Writing Good English: Is scientific English a Latin Language in Disguise?"

I would like to point out that ANOVA, the statistical treatment used to compare the incidence of Latin/Greek words in English against Portuguese texts is not appropriate for the data analyzed. The reason is very simple: the sample space of a normal distribution is the whole real set of numbers extending from −∞ to +∞. In contrast, the sample space of a proportion π extends from zero to one. Another point is that the beta distribution is symmetric only when (π = ½ - beta). The beta distribution, considered here, is one of the adequate distributions to analyze proportions. Asymmetry grows as π moves away from ½.

The author kindly provided me with the raw data allowing me to reanalyze the results within his focus. I came up with the results shown in Figure 3A which may be advantageously compared with Figure 3 of the article. Adding another technical argument and having adopted the beta distribution, I found that the log-odds, ln( (π1−π) ), are normally distributed allowing us to apply standard statistical methods. My decision was to use confidence intervals to clearly illustrate the differences between English and Portuguese on the use of Latin/Greek words.

I call the attention to the fact that the intervals for Portuguese are more asymmetric than the ones for English, which are close to 50% .

To obtain the intervals for proportions the inverse transformations were taken from log-odds to proportions. These transformations through the log-odds made the distribution of the proportions be described as Logistic-Normal, as painstakingly discussed in: Aitchison J. (2003), The Statistical Analysis of Compositional Data, Blackburn Press.

Figure 3A 99% Confidence intervals for the proportions of Latin/Greek Words. EM, ELB, and EUB: mean, Lower and Upper bounds for English. PM, PLB, and PUB: mean, Lower and Upper bounds for Portuguese. No overlap between any of the English genres. Overlap for all Portuguese genres.

E-mail:cadebp@gmail.com

MedicalExpressPrint version ISSN 2318-8111On-line version ISSN 2358-0429MedicalExpress (São Paulo, online) vol.5 São Paulo 2018 Epub Mar 12, 2018http://dx.doi.org/10.5935/medicalexpress.2018.ml.001

The Warwick Classics Network is based at the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick.

This is a network of teachers and academics dedicated to the promotion and support of Classics and Classics teaching. Launched in 2018, the WCN was created with two key objectives:

To support those teachers currently offering Classics with resources, advice, and a platform with which to communicate with each other and form a creative network.

To promote the teaching of Classics in schools not currently offering Classical subjects on their curriculum, working alongside organisations such as 'Classics for All' and 'Advocating Classics Education', providing information on training and funding available.

Warwick Classics Network's teacher Resources (STOA) have been created and collated by academics at Warwick University and a team of teachers across the country and seek to provide support for teaching Classics from KS2 through to A-level and beyond.

For more information about the network, contact Dr Paul Grigsby, the WCN Research Fellow in Outreach and Impact, at the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick.

ABOUT SORGLL

SORGLL was a pioneer organisation in the promotion of the oral performance and study of Greek and Latin texts.

"It is generally acknowledged that the literature of the Greeks and Romans is among the most beautiful and powerful expressions of the human mind. It is also generally known that this body of literature was created with the intention of being orally performed and aurally experienced by a group of listeners, large or small, and was not intended to be read silently with the eyes alone.

The element of sound is therefore fundamental to a full aesthetic experience and understanding of Greek and Latin literature. And yet, the traditional method of teaching Greek and Latin ignores or neglects the sounds of these languages, as if they were of little or no importance, thus depriving students of the basic literary reward of hearing and reproducing beautiful poetry.

It is as if students were to study Mozart solely from musical scores and not be given the opportunity of hearing his music.

It is the aim or our Society to encourage students and teachers to listen to and to reproduce the sounds of Greek and Latin literature, thereby enriching the whole study process of these languages. Fortunately, linguistic and metrical research of the last century now permits us to acquire a close approximation of the pronunciation of classical Greek and Latin, a result which we call the "restored pronunciation"

. Our Society feels that it is our professional duty to use the results of this research in our teaching of Greek and Latin as a means for achieving maximum authenticity and aesthetic pleasure in the reading of Greek and Latin literary works.

As a means toward this end, our Society presents programs oriented to the oral performance of Classical literature at the annual APA meetings, we publish a newsletter, we have established this website to present pertinent information, audio clips, queries and discussion, while several members or our Society regularly give recitals of Greek and Latin literature in schools, colleges and universities throughout the country."

Stephen Daitz

WHAT IS THE LATINUM LATIN COURSE?

The Latinum Course is an online multi-level and multi-media Latin Language audio course, that has been growing steadily since Evan started creating it in early 2007.

The core of the course is Adler's Practical Grammar of the Latin Language - which took Evan der Millner two years of full-time labour to produce as a stand-alone audio course - vastly expanding the material in an already comprehensive textbook of Latin. If you want to master Latin, Adler's course as presented by Latinum is all that you will require.

The course is also an excellent supplement to other natural language approach courses, such as "Lingua Latina".

Why an audio course for a dead language?

You need to 'fire on all cylinders' to master a language, and get a 'feel' for it. To speed up language learning, the dead language has to be treated - for learning purposes - as though it were indeed alive - to help you make as many neural connections as possible.

This must involve reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Few formal Latin courses spend much time on the latter two, which, to my mind, are the most important of the four, especially for a beginner. Also, classroom based language courses simply cannot provide the intensive exposure needed, and the hours of tuition required, to master a language quickly.

Why did I make Latinum?

I made the course, because I could find no modern-language type course with extensive audio materials for learning Classical Latin to an advanced level. I wanted to provide a course that students, or those with limited financial means, could access from anywhere in the world.

Adler's audio course started life as a podcast (and indeed, if you listen to the Adler sections of the audio course, you will still find references to the 'Latinum Podcast' in the audio files). I originally published the Adler Audio Course sequentially as a free course, relying massively on user feedback to improve it as I went along. Large parts of it were re-recorded more than once. My pronunciation was extensively peer reviewed.

The philosophies that underpin this course, the resources I have developed, are a result of the interventions recommended in The Green Book for Language Revitalization in Practice - a textbook that should be must-read for every 'dead-language' language teacher.


If you are a complete beginner, then the following materials are recommended:

1. Adler

2. Swallowing the Dictionary

3. Comenius' Vestibulum and Orbis

4. The free Latin readers on the Tar Heel Reader website

5. The Imaginum Vocabularium

6. Resources on Latinum's YouTube Channel


If you are intermediate or even very advanced, Adler and Comenius will still be very useful. Even if you have formally studied Latin before, it is extremely unlikely you will have developed the range of vocabulary dealt with by Comenius, or the flexibility of expression taught through Adler.


In addition, you might want to listen to the YouTube Videocast materials of the Student's Readings, Dialogues, and to read booklets on the Tarheel Reader site. To build your vocabulary, you might find it useful to listen to various Latin-English audio files, such as the historically important series of colloquia by Corderius, also available in Latin-English, and Latin only versions for revision.


If you still are more advanced, then original texts in Latin may be of interest, along with Adler , and Comenius' Grammatical works. Adler also introduces many fine points of grammar not covered in standard modern textbooks.


The introductory textbook by George Adler teaches Latin via conversational, colloquial Latin. The Adler Course will take you around 1 - 5 years to finish, maybe faster if you really work at it. It contains over 191 hours of audio.

The goal of Latinum is to give you fluency in reading and listening to Latin, which can eventually lead to skill in writing and speaking.

The main textbook is George Adler's " A Practical Grammar of the Latin Language for Speaking and Writing Latin", one of the most comprehensive textbooks for learning Latin ever written - and possibly one of the most advanced and practical Latin textbooks ever written. The approach of this textbook is conversational Latin, so the bulk of the examples are short question and answer sequences. The goal is proficiency. As the book advances, a complete old-fashioned formal Latin Syntax using thousands of examples from Classical texts, is introduced.

The Latinum Course is founded on the idea that language learning needs to be fun, as stress free as possible, and IMMERSIVE. You need to eat, sleep and breathe a language in order to master it. Where possible, you need to use it and interact with it as much as you can.

To help you use your Latin, after you have learned it, I have established a Latin language chatroom on Skype, the Locutorium Latinum. There are also newer and more active Latinum locutoria on Whatsapp.

This course demands an extensive amount of exposure - i.e. TIME - if you are as serious about being fluent in Latin as a Renaissance Scholar was, you will need 1 hour minimum per day, more if you can manage it, for a period of 3 - 5 years. True fluency may take as long as ten to fifteen years to achieve.

Every now and again, try to give yourself entire days of Latin, if you can manage it. Go to sleep with the Latin playing, and wake up with it. Walk with it when you can. Wash the dishes with it while you are able. Go to the gym with it for a unique Latin kick. You get the idea.....learning Latin - or any language - to fluency - is not hard, but it takes an amount of dedication.

It is essentially up to you how you structure your learning - but what is important with language learning, is quantity. You need to get as much Latin through your head every day as you can manage.

You may possibly also find it useful to engage in the following activities to be successful quickly using this course material.

  1. Writing and transcription of the Latin in each chapter: Read each Latin sentence aloud. Write it down slowly and neatly, repeating each word aloud as you do this. Read the completed sentence out loud a second time.
  2. Listening to the chapter's grammar section, both before and after you have done this.
  3. Reading and listening to recorded books in Latin.
  4. Grammatical study and practice.
  5. Shadowing = listening to the recorded material and repeating it out loud as soon as you hear it - speaking 'over the voice' you are listening to. Doing this while walking or moving about is good. It will be hard to do in the beginning.

There is a grave problem approaching - a looming shortage of Latin teachers across the world, as Latin is increasing in popularity, while most Latin teachers are "of a certain age". Even now, many schools cannot find teachers, and the problem will only get worse. So, in 3 or 5 years time, if you complete this course with due diligence, and can open your mouth and speak Latin and write it, and read it, you should be able to land a job teaching Latin. I have a large cohort of former students, who are currently teaching Latin. Indeed, many Latin teachers and university level Latin students have made use of my Adler course to refresh their Latin.

The sad reality is that very few Latin teachers at secondary and tertiary level can actually speak Latin at all, most cannot write in the language either, so you'll probably have a higher level of fluency than just about any Latin teacher you encounter, if you complete this course. The Latinum Videologue is in part trying to address this astonishing situation.



Simply google for " Adler A Practical Grammar of the Latin Language" and download the pdf.

Latinum only uses out of copyright materials, so usually a text can be found on one of Google books, Archive.org or Europeana.eu

Printed versions are now also available online.


HOW ARE THE ADLER LESSONS STRUCTURED?


Each Adler Lesson starts with a grammar discussion, 'Part A' . Then the examples are given in English and Latin, 'Part B' . They are repeated again in Latin only, 'Part C'.

Most chapters have between 60 - 120 minutes of audio.

I AM NEW TO LATIN, WHERE DO I START?

Either begin with Comenius' Vestibulum, or with the Adler lessons, and begin from lesson one. Then work your way through the Adler lessons in order. You might want to read the chapter in the textbook, before you listen to the lesson for that chapter. In the first lessons I read very slowly, and greatly exaggerate the length of the long vowels, to help you learn correct quantity. Gradually, as the course progresses, my pace quickens.

I AM A MORE ADVANCED STUDENT, WHAT IS THERE FOR ME ON LATINUM?

If you are already a fluent reader, then you may find Adler of interest to get you up to speed on spoken Latin, and of more specific interest, our various readings from classical texts. If you are still 'hunting for the verb', the Adler course will cure of this, and give you a more natural way of accessing the language.

Even if you know a lot of Latin, Adler's discussions of Latin grammar are very comprehensive.

VOCABULARY LEARNING WITH LATINUM


Latinum offers a unique audio vocabulary learning resource, "Swallowing the Dictionary" on DVD with the potential to add tens of thousands of words to your vocabulary. These are based on Walter Ripman's little known, but very useful, Classified Latin Vocabulary.


We also offer vocab flashcard movies on our You Tube site - these are geared towards conversational Latin.


The vocabulary building files need to be listened to many times - they are quite stressful to listen to initially, and the material runs by, seemingly too fast to catch - however, each time you listen, you will grab more and more words, and, eventually, the files will begin to sound too slow. Great care is taken with quantity in reading these files, so you will learn correct quantity at the same time as you learn your vocabulary.


There are tens of thousands of words in our classified vocabulary, (i.e. words are grouped by topic) and even very advanced students can benefit from studying these sounds files. The Classified Vocabulary is geared towards Classical texts.


WHAT ABOUT PENSUM AND DICTATA?


Adler calls the chapters in the main textbook by the name of Pensum.

The English exercises in the main textbook, which go along with each chapter, are simply called exercises.

The Latin translations of these exercises, which are found in the smaller "Key to the Grammar", are called Dictata.

DOES ADLER COVER ENOUGH LATIN GRAMMAR?


Yes, Adler's textbook is very thorough, and covers a wide range of Latin Grammar - far more than most student level grammar based textbooks.


WHAT PRONUNCIATION OF LATIN IS USED BY LATINUM?

Latinum uses the Restored Classical Pronunciation. This is a reconstruction of how Latin was spoken on the Palatine Hill, Rome, at the time of the Caesars. In the working class areas of Rome a different accent prevailed, and outside Rome, the rustic and provincial accents would have been different yet again. Regarding my pronunciation, the following points should be noted: I have made the decision to use the tonal accents.


I also frequently use the informal hicce, haecce, hocce, hujusce, etc when saying hic haec hoc and even hujus. I follow Allen's 'Vox Latina' by doubling the final consonant of hic and hoc before a word beginning with a vowel, e.g. hic est becomes hic-cest. This is the correct classical pronunciation of hic [hicc], which has a short vowel.


I have also sometimes for aesthetic reasons chosen a slightly ante-classical pronunciation of cui, and render it according to its earlier spelling, quoi in lessons prior to lesson 51 in Adler. After lesson 51, you will find I have adopted the pronunciation recommended by Sturtevant, where the word is pronounced more or less as it is spelled, with a decending grave accent.


I AM TERRIBLE AT GRAMMAR, CAN I STILL LEARN LATIN?

Yes.

Each lesson does have a grammar part, (Part A) but you can advance quite well by listening to part B and part C of each lesson, while avoiding the part A sections, which focus on grammar. You will never learn to speak Latin from learning grammar alone. Rather, you need to listen to Latin, and interact with it as much as possible, and try to write it.


The original methodology of Ollendorff and Jean Manesca, , which Adler uses, had almost no grammar, only lots and lots of sample sentences, which slowly built up grammatical knowledge intuitively. Adler added extensive grammar sections into the text, giving lots of illustrative examples. If you plan to approach the lessons in a 'grammar free' way, then you will need to become very familiar with the sample sentences.


If you are a primary school student, you might find the grammar parts too difficult - so just ignore them, and get on with learning the model sentences in part B and C of each Chapter. Once you notice that you have the language well and truly under your belt, so that it starts to feel natural to you, you should go back, and study the grammar sections.


WHO PRODUCES THE LATINUM VIDEOCAST?


The Latinum Videocast on YouTube is published by Evan Millner v.c. (Artium Baccalaureus, (Cantuar) et Artium Magister, (in Collegio Judaeorum Londinensi) , who lives in London, UK. Evan also produced the IMAGINUM VOCABULARIUM LATINUM and founded the Schola Latin language social networking site in 2008, which is now offline.

Methods for learning Latin

The most difficult part of learning a new language, is mastering the vocabulary. This needs to be the focus for a new learner.


Latin has the complication of having a case system. It is now known that the brain treats each declined form of a noun or a conjugated verb as a separate vocabulary unit.


It therefor makes sense to learn the different forms of a word as though they were units of vocabulary, and not just learn the endings and charts and tables.

This was the ancient method - a student would learn short sample sentences for each declined form, and therefore the word would be treated by the brain as a vocabulary unit, as a distinct entity.


Comenius used this method, and described it in detail.



The Robertsonian Method - an eighteenth century conversational method for learning Latin.


I stumbled on a new Latin textbook I had never seen before, today, on Google Books.

It is called The Robertsonian Method , published in 1845, based on an original work by a Mr Robertson, resident in Paris.

This is a development of the Jacotot Method, and was originally designed for learning French. It was adapted for Latin, while keeping the modern language teaching methodology, by Alexander H. Monteith ; Monteith also authored versions in French, Spanish, German and Italian, and was furthermore the author of an English version of Ahn's Latin and Greek textbooks.

The textbook begins by offering a short passage, which is then analysed in great detail, followed by a natural language question-answer sequence based on the text, in the form of a dialogue.

The method works as follows: The text is given, along with an interlinear translation. A pronunciation guide is provided, but this is of antiquarian interest only, as it provides a detailed pronunciation scheme for the nearly extinct native English pronunciation of Latin, as used in England for centuries until it was superseded by restored classical pronunciation in the mid 1900s.

Following this, the text is provided in two columns, and the student is asked to engage in double translation.


Page five begins the section which would have been highly controversial in 1845 - Latin conversation. A century prior, and this would have not seemed out of place, as until the mid 1700s Latin was still in regular use by lecturers in universities across Europe. The jingoism that accompanied nationalism, and the rise of the nation state had not yet pushed internationalist Latin into the dustbin of history.

Montheith writes " Latin cannot, in the present day, be deemed a colloquial language." He then continues and says, " but an exercise in conversation may nevertheless serve a variety of useful purposes."

What are these purposes? Monteith enumerates them as follows:

  • Impressing words already known upon the memory
  • Vocabulary in context is better learned than from a vocabulary list.
  • Words can be presented in various aspects and combinations, expanding knowledge of construction.
  • It illustrates the use of the language in practice.

Here is an example of the scripted conversation. No translation is provided, as by this stage the student will have encountered all the vocabulary used while studying the short text, upon which these comprehension questions are based.

Question: Quis thesaurum invenit?

Answer: Quidam viatores.

Q. Quot viatores?

A. Tres.

Q. Quid invenerunt?

A. Thesaurum quendam.

and so on, until the full content of the short text that has been learned has been covered in detail.





I think this text makes an excellent adjunt to Adler, and addresses a serious deficiency in Adler, namely the lack on long pieces of continuous prose under analysis.

I have sought to rectify this in my audio course by using Comenius and other authors, however, I think Robertson's methodology is the most closely aligned with Adler's method, and is complementary with it.

I plan to make an audio course from Montheith's textbook, as I think it is a very useful text indeed for a Latin student.


Montieth also gives guidelines for construction - in other words, Latin composition. This is a neglected area in modern Latin courses, which are largely translation only courses. Very few modern Latin courses require the student to write much Latin that is not reverse translation. However, as Montheith points out, if you want to become good at writing Latin, then there is no better teacher than immersing oneself in the classical authors themselves.

Learn while you sleep!

Read this new research, it will give you another route to study using Latinum's audio resources.


Learning new vocabulary during deep sleep


Researchers of the University of Bern, Switzerland, showed that we can acquire the vocabulary of a new language during distinct phases of slow-wave sleep and that the sleep-learned vocabulary could be retrieved unconsciously following waking. Memory formation appeared to be mediated by the same brain structures that also mediate wake vocabulary learning.


Sleeping time is sometimes considered unproductive time. This raises the question whether the time spent asleep could be used more productively – e.g. for learning a new language? To date sleep research focused on the stabilization and strengthening (consolidation) of memories that had been formed during preceding wakefulness. However, learning during sleep has rarely been examined. There is considerable evidence for wake-learned information undergoing a recapitulation by replay in the sleeping brain. The replay during sleep strengthens the still fragile memory traces und embeds the newly acquired information in the preexisting store of knowledge.

If re-play during sleep improves the storage of wake-learned information, then first-play – i.e., the initial processing of new information – should also be feasible during sleep, potentially carving out a memory trace that lasts into wakefulness. This was the research question of Katharina Henke, Marc Züst und Simon Ruch of the Institute of Psychology and of the Interfaculty Research Cooperation “Decoding Sleep” at the University of Bern, Switzerland. These investigators now showed for the first time that new foreign words and their translation words could be associated during a midday nap with associations stored into wakefulness. Following waking, participants could reactivate the sleep-formed associations to access word meanings when represented with the formerly sleep-played foreign words. The hippocampus, a brain structure essential for wake associative learning, also supported the retrieval of sleep-formed associations. The results of this experiment are published open access in the scientific journal “Current Biology”.


The brain cells’ active states are central for sleep-learning


The research group of Katharina Henke examined whether a sleeping person is able to form new semantic associations between played foreign words and translation words during the brain cells’ active states, the so-called “Up-states”. When we reach deep sleep stages, our brain cells progressively coordinate their activity. During deep sleep, the brain cells are commonly active for a brief period of time before they jointly enter into a state of brief inactivity. The active state is called “Up-state” and the inactive state “Down-state”. The two states alternate about every half-second.

Semantic associations between sleep-played words of an artificial language and their German translations words were only encoded and stored, if the second word of a pair was repeatedly (2, 3 or 4 times) played during an Up-state. E.g., when a sleeping person heard the word pairs “tofer = key” and “guga = elephant”, then after waking they were able to categorize with a better-than-chance accuracy whether the sleep-played foreign words denominated something large (“Guga”) or small (“Tofer”). “It was interesting that language areas of the brain and the hippocampus – the brain’s essential memory hub – were activated during the wake retrieval of sleep-learned vocabulary because these brain structures normally mediate wake learning of new vocabulary”, says Marc Züst, co-first-author of this paper. “These brain structures appear to mediate memory formation independently of the prevailing state of consciousness – unconscious during deep sleep, conscious during wakefulness”.


Memory formation does not require consciousness


Besides its practical relevance, this new evidence for sleep-learning challenges current theories of sleep and theories of memory. The notion of sleep as an encapsulated mental state, in which we are detached from the physical environment is no longer tenable. “We could disprove that sophisticated learning be impossible during deep sleep”, says Simon Ruch, co-first-author. The current results underscore a new theoretical notion of the relationship between memory and consciousness that Katharina Henke published in 2010 (Nature Reviews Neuroscience). “In how far and with what consequences deep sleep can be utilized for the acquisition of new information will be a topic of research in upcoming years”, says Katharina Henke.


Decoding sleep


The research group of Katharina Henke is part of the Interfaculty Research Cooperation “Decoding Sleep: From Neurons to Health & Mind” (IRC). Decoding Sleep is a large, interdisciplinary research project that is financed by the University of Bern, Switzerland. Thirteen research groups in medicine, biology, psychology, and informatics are part of the IRC. The aim of these research groups is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in sleep, consciousness, and cognition.

The reported study was carried out in collaboration with Roland Wiest who is affiliated with the Support Center for Advanced Neuroimaging (SCAN) at the Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, Inselspital, University of Bern.

Both research groups also belong to the BENESCO consortium, which consists of 22 interdisciplinary research groups specialized in sleep medicine, epilepsy and research on altered states of consciousness.


3 Likes

3

Load more comments2 of 9

sam jordison

(While I'm commenting, my salutations. I've been working through Adler and D'Oge and a few other lessons for the past few months and it's been fantastic. My Latin used to be much better than it is now, but this has been a really good way of replenishing those old springs...So, thank you. I'm also finding the old texts you've found fascinating in and of themselves. Real insight into old education methods and societal ideas. Comenius is fascinating!)

4d

The Latinum Institute

I agree. Comenius is a very intriguing character. He pretty much established the basic modern primary school curriculum as we know it today.

2d

Paused

0:00

5:51


Feb 5 at 11:02am

Why is Latin difficult?


This new study published today goes some way to explaining why Latin is difficult, and why it is considered an elite subject for top tier students. It all has to do with working memory. Latin places much greater demands on working memory than English.


The good news seems to be that speaking and working in a language like Latin, if you are successful, will improve your working memory. Latin is quite an extreme example of this, there are long periods in many classical author's prose where meaning is only clarified at the end of a very long semantic structure, requiring the listener to hold a lot of information while processing.


This is another reason why Latin audio is such a powerful learning tool. It forces you to process Latin in a way that places great demands on working memory.


In other words, it makes you smarter. There are sound reasons why Latin lay at the core of a student's education for so many centuries, and why even today studying the classics opens so many doors in high powered professions, from banking to barrister training.


If you are successful at Latin, it is more or less proof you have developed your mental capacity, and having a strong working memory is a large component of what we call intelligence.


So, persevere with your audio studies. Don't give up, it takes time, many years in fact, for this facility to be worked out and developed, if you don't already speak a 'left branching' language such as Japanese.


Word order predicts a native speakers' working memory


The language we speak affects the way we process, store and retrieve information


FEBRUARY 04, 2019


Language


Memory plays a crucial role in our lives, and several studies have already investigated how we store and retrieve information under different conditions. Typically, stimuli presented at the beginning and at the end of a list are recalled better than stimuli from the middle. But are these findings universal and generalizable across languages and cultures?


An international research team, led by Federica Amici from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has recently investigated this question.




The research team traveled the world to run memory tests in different human cultures speaking different languages.



The group, including psychologists, linguists and biologists from five different countries, traveled across the world to run memory tests in eight different human cultures speaking different languages. "We crossed deserts and seas to reach amazing people speaking the most wonderful languages ever, from Sidaama, to Khoekhoe and Khmer", says Amici, "and know that these languages may provide them with a unique vision of the world".

The relationship between language and thought is controversial. One hypothesis is that language fosters habits of processing information that are retained even in non-linguistic domains.


Languages, for instance, vary in their branching direction. In typical right-branching (RB) languages, like Italian, the head of the sentence usually comes first, followed by a sequence of modifiers that provide additional information about the head (e.g. "the man who was sitting at the bus stop"). In contrast, in left-branching (LB) languages, like Japanese, modifiers generally precede heads (e.g. "who was sitting at the bus stop, the man"). In RB languages, speakers could process information incrementally, given that heads are presented first and modifiers rarely affect previous parsing decisions. In contrast, LB structures can be highly ambiguous until the end, because initial modifiers often acquire a clear meaning only after the head has been parsed.


Therefore, LB speakers may need to retain initial modifiers in working memory until the head is encountered to comprehend the sentence.




Schematic representation of the six memory tasks use.



By providing participants with a series of classic memory tasks, the research team could compare their performance when recalling words, numbers and spatial stimuli.



"The main finding of the study is that left-branching speakers were better at remembering initial stimuli across verbal and non-verbal working memory tasks, probably because real-time sentence comprehension heavily relies on retaining initial information in LB languages, but not in RB languages", says Alejandro Sanchéz Amaro, currently in the Department of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego.



The main novelty of this study is that the link between language and thought might not be just confined to conceptual representations and semantic biases, but rather extend to syntax and its role in our way of processing sequential information.



The language we speak affects the way we process, store and retrieve information. The fact that branching and word order may be linked to such a fundamental cognitive process like memory opens up new exciting avenues for psycholinguistic research towards expanding the pool of languages and populations investigated.


"What about the working memory of speakers of languages with mixed branching or free word order? Would we find people who are equally good at remembering initial and final items? And maybe at remembering the items in the middle?" says Federico Rossano, from the University of California, San Diego.



With more than 7,000 languages in the world, we have a uniquely rich pool to study the relation between language and cognition. Preserving and investigating the wealth of this diversity is not only ethical, but also scientifically crucial to ultimately understand which factors shape the way we think and better comprehend the relation between language and thought.

4 Likes

4


Physical Exercise and Learning Ability

One major benefit of a self contained audio course, such as the one I developed, that can effectively be used by a blind or partially sighted person, is that you can learn while away from a desk, while cycling, or going for a long walk.


These two activities are complementary, as many studies, such as the one quoted below that was published on 30 January, show a clear link between exercise and thought processing.


I know from many of my patrons that they use the audio resources while moving about, or doing household chores, etc.


Studying at a desk is useful, but getting up and out the house has many benefits. So put on your headphones, and head outside for fresh air, exercise, brain health and Latin study.


It also puts the traditional emphasis on sport at the top private schools into a framework; it has long been known that schoolchildren benefit from vigorous exercise, but state schools do not usually provide as much exercise time, or have invested in sports facilities.


Here is the press release:


EXERCISE MAY IMPROVE THINKING SKILLS IN PEOPLE AS YOUNG AS 20


MINNEAPOLIS – Regular aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or climbing stairs may improve thinking skills not only in older people but in young people as well, according to a study published in the January 30, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


The study also found that the positive effect of exercise on thinking skills may increase as people age. The specific set of thinking skills that improved with exercise is called executive function.


Executive function is a person’s ability to regulate their own behavior, pay attention, organize and achieve goals. “As people age, there can be a decline in thinking skills, however our study shows that getting regular exercise may help slow or even prevent such decline,” said study author Yaakov Stern, PhD, of Columbia University in New York, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.


“We found that all participants who exercised not only showed improvements in executive function but also increased the thickness in an area of the outer layer of their brain.”


The study involved 132 people between the ages of 20 and 67 who did not smoke or have dementia but who also did not exercise at the start of the study and were determined to have below average fitness levels.


Participants were randomly assigned to six months of either aerobic exercise or stretching and toning four times a week. The two groups were equally balanced for age, sex, education as well as memory and thinking skills at the start of the study.


All participants either exercised or stretched and toned at a fitness center and checked in weekly with coaches monitoring their progress. They all wore heart rate monitors as well.


Participants’ thinking and memory skills were evaluated at the start of the study as well as at three months and at the end of the six-month study. Participants in the exercise group chose from aerobic activities including walking on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike or using an elliptical machine.


They ramped up their activity during the first month, then during the remainder of the six-month study they trained at 75 percent of their maximum heart rate. People in the stretching and toning group did exercises to promote flexibility and core strength.


Researchers measured participants’ aerobic capacity using a cycling machine called an ergometer that estimates exercise intensity. Participants also had MRI brain scans at the start and end of the study.


Researchers found that aerobic exercise increased thinking skills.


From the beginning of the study to the end, those who did aerobic exercise improved their overall scores on executive function tests by 0.50 points, which was a statistically significant difference from those who did stretching and toning, who improved by 0.25 points.


At age 40, the improvement in thinking skills was 0.228 standard deviation units higher in those who exercised compared to those who did stretching and toning and at age 60, it was 0.596 standard deviation units higher.


“Since a difference of 0.5 standard deviations is equivalent to 20 years of age-related difference in performance on these tests, the people who exercised were testing as if they were about 10 years younger at age 40 and about 20 years younger at age 60,” Stern said.


He added, “Since thinking skills at the start of the study were poorer for participants who were older, our findings suggest that aerobic exercise is more likely to improve age-related declines in thinking skills rather than improve performance in those without a decline.”


Researchers also found an increase in the thickness of the outer layer of the brain in the left frontal area in all those who exercised, suggesting that aerobic exercise contributes to brain fitness at all ages. “Our research confirms that exercise can be beneficial to adults of any age,” said Stern.


Overall, researchers did not find a link between exercise and improved memory skills. However, those with the genetic marker for dementia, the APOE ?4 allele, showed less improvement in thinking skills. A limitation of the study is the small number of participants. Larger studies over longer periods of time may allow researchers to see other effects in thinking and memory skills. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

2 Likes

2

James M

Have been loving these posts about studies!

1d

Diana Garrett

I am blind. I love the audio. I’m glad I can get them back with using Patreon. I listen when I walk on the treadmill.


20th September 2017, in the Parish of St Botolph's Without Aldgate, in the Ward of Portsoken, City of London.

A Latin Poetry Prize

A couple of years ago, Mark Walker set up a new Latin Journal called 'Vates', for publishing Latin Poetry and short prose pieces. This got me thinking; would it not be great if there were more Latin prizes for not only Poetry, but also prose, novels even, written in Latin?

I decided to have a look around online for the state of the play -and indeed there are still a few Latin prizes being offered - but most are limited to students studying at particular institutions. The others are poorly publicised, and little known.

The most famous Latin poetry prize in recent times was the Certamen Poeticum Hoeufftianum, which ran from 1844 until 1978. It stopped after the prize money fund ran out.

My goal is to set up something similar; should Latinum succeed, and raise enough funds, I would like to expand this beyond a poetry prize, to other categories, such as 'Best Children's Book in Latin', or 'Best novella aimed at teenagers'.

When I reach 600 patrons, I have a goal of setting up an annual Latin Poetry Prize, which I propose to call The Certamen Poeticum Latinum Internationale; I will look for a panel of judges, and open the competition to international submissions.

You can read about the Certamen Poeticum Hoeufftianum on Vicipaedia, which will give you some idea of what I would be aiming at.


20th September 2017, in the Parish of St Botolph's Without Aldgate, in the Ward of Portsoken, City of London.


I recently discovered a new textbook from the nineteenth century that was written for learning Latin orally; this is a revolutionary textbook from Prendergast's 'Mastery Series'.


I decided to try out the method to see if it would work, and was highly impressed with the results - using myself as a test subject. So much so was I impressed, that I have started on the laborious task of issuing this textbook as a Latin audio course.


The exercises are steadily being uploaded.


How does Prendergast work?

Firstly, there is no explicit grammar at all; the course is a structured composition course. In this regard,it shares much with the methodology developed by Jean Manesca.

The goal of the course is to be producing accurate Latin sentences 'on the fly'; I have been very impressed with the effect the course has had on my ability to rapidly translate into Latin; for this reason alone I am persisting in my production of this course - it will be a long task, but well worthwhile.

A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO THE READING OF LATIN PROSE AND POETRY

Evan der Millner, London, August 2007.

On Syllables:

Poetry in Latin is quantitative. This means that it depends for its effect on the length of syllables relative to one another, and only secondarily, if at all, on actual word stress. By contrast, English poetry depends for its effect almost exclusively on word stress.

There are two types of syllables in Latin, those that end in a vowel, and those that do not. A “third group” may be one or the other, depending on the need of the poet, and these either-or syllables are called ‘common’.

Those that end in a vowel are called open syllables.

Those that end in a consonant are called closed syllables.

How are such syllables formed?

The Romans, when speaking, ‘opened’ a syllable if the vowel was followed by only one consonant. This consonant was allowed to detach itself from the vowel, and join the following syllable. The result was an open syllable:

i.e. păt-er → pă -ter [1]

This also could also occur if a vowel were followed by a mute in combination with l or r (l and r belong to a class of consonants called liquids).

The mutes

V, B, P, F (labials)

G, C, K, Qu (gutturals)

D, T (linguals)

A syllable that ends in a vowel, and that has a short vowel in it, is going to be shorter than an otherwise identical syllable that ends in a consonant, by the simple virtue that it has fewer letters.

pă is shorter than păt

It is then important to pronounce the syllable with the correct vowel length. If the vowel length is wrong, then the syllable is mangled from a long to a short, and vice versa.

This would be sufficient to destroy a poetical reading, or indeed the intended sound of a passage in prose that relies for its effect on the syllabic structure of the sentence or turn of phrase.

So much for open syllables.

As mentioned above, two syllables with short vowels that differ only in that one has a consonant at the end, and the other does not, share a fundamental, and blindingly evident difference: one is physically short, and the other is, by comparison, physically long. (i.e. it has more letters, so as an object, it is longer than if it had two letters.). As a consequence, the syllable also sounds longer.

pă versus păr [2]

It is vital that the entirety of the syllable is fully pronounced. If the r on par were not pronounced distinctly, the long syllable could easily come to sound like a short one. This is a reason why readers of Restored Classical pronunciation take care to trill their r’s.

When does a syllable become long when reading Latin?

An open syllable automatically becomes long when followed by two consonants. (Except a mute + liquid, in which case this is optional.) [3]

How does it get longer?

The first of the following consonants sticks to it. The open syllable then becomes long, simply because it now has more letters in it – it is physically longer, and it must be pronounced fully.

tem/pe/←stā/ti/bus this gives us: tem/pes/tā/ti/bus

note: pe is short, and open, pes is physically longer, and closed. Because it has more letters in it, it takes longer to say.

a/spér/sus a/←spérsus as/pér/sus

This syllable is now called ‘long by position’. One way to understand this is that you have positioned an extra consonant against it, and so it has become longer.

Here are some more examples:

Before (short)

After (long by position)

s t i /←r p ĭ s

s t i r/ p ĭ s

d i s/ c é /←s s ĭ t

d i s/ c é s /s ĭ t

m ŏ/ d é /←s t ŭ s

m ŏ/ d é s/ t ŭ s

ē /d u/←c t ŭ s

ē /d ú c/ t ŭ s

Double consonants – double trouble

It is not a mere fancy when we are told that the Romans pronounced their double consonants as two distinct sounds. They did, but they did so because each letter of the double consonant ended up in its own syllable, according to the rule we have just discussed.

a/ppa/rā/bat is how we would pronounce it if we did not know any better. However, this is what happens to the double consonant pp:

a/←ppa/rā/bat which becomes ap/pa/rā/bat

When reading Latin, getting the syllabic structure correct is therefore vitally important, otherwise it is impossible to read Latin verse with any degree of authenticity. You need to nurse these habits when reading prose as well, otherwise the transition to reading verse will be a hard and arduous one.

The Third syllable type – Common Syllables.

What is a common syllable?

Common syllables only occur when a short vowel is followed by a mute + a liquid (l or r).

In the ordinary course of things, a mute+liquid behaves like two Siamese twins joined together, and functions as though it were a unit “joined at the hip”.

The poet has the option of performing an operation, and separating the two. Once they are separated, they behave like any two consonants. One of them moves, in the same way we saw above, and closes (and thereby physically lengthens) the syllable immediately in front of the two consonants. The first consonant from the separated mute-liquid moves to the syllable in front of it.

pătrem pă/trem

If tr were a NORMAL consonant cluster, we would expect the t to move to the first syllable, like this:

pă/←trem resulting in păt/rem

This rule would be the same rule as that we saw above, for a short vowel followed by two consonants, and a poet can chose to apply it to a mute + liquid combination if he wishes to.

However, because the consonant cluster is a mute-liquid combination, if he does not perform the operation on the twinned mute-liquid cluster, then things stay as they are, and this results in

pă/trem

How do we know which of the two the poet has chosen?

We need to read the verse aloud that contains a word with a common syllable. It should be apparent which way the poet has divided the word, depending on whether he needs the common syllable to be physically long or short to complete the rhythmic patterning of long and short syllables. Only one reading should sound right. This is a matter of developing your ear. It never will develop if you are not always careful about quantity when reading both prose and poetry.

SYLLABLE QUANTITY

A source of much confusion is the use of the macron andbreve to mark out syllable quantity. This may be fine for a speaker with native level fluency, (and to be frank, who speaks Latin with that level of fluency?) who has an instinctive knowledge of the true lengths of the vowels the words would have in ordinary conversation. For a modern second language Latin speaker, this system of marking the syllable long by position with a macron above its vowel spells disaster, and adds unnecessary complications.

While it is true that Latin versification depends on syllable quantity, the underlying vowel quantities of the words remain unchanged.

Syllables with short vowels are either physically long, or physically short (i.e. the number of letters in the syllable).

Syllables with long vowels, are needless to say, always long, as their vowels are long, even if the syllable is physically a short one: pā is long, and so is pāb

Such a vowel that is naturally long, is called ‘long by nature’. Even in a physically short syllable, (one that that has fewer letters) it is still long.

However, with syllables that have short vowels,

pă is ‘physically’ short, and păd is ‘physically’ long. Placing a macron above the a, pād to show it is physically long, invites the reader to mispronounce the syllable and lengthen the vowel, when it is the syllable, not the vowel, that is long. Even worse, it leads people to think that ‘long by position’ means that the vowel is lengthened. This is a not uncommon error, but it is a very serious one.

The use of the macron above the vowel of a syllable that is long by position, gives rise to much confusion, as the same notation is also used for vowel length.

It is not the case that a syllable that is long by position, i.e. one containing a short vowel that is followed by two consonants, has its vowel lengthened. Marking it with a macron only gives rise to confusion, especially in a student reader who does not have an instinctive appreciation for vowel length, but who rather relies on the macrons. Macrons should be used to mark long vowels, and long vowels only, and not be used to serve another purpose.

To avoid this difficulty, some educators have proposed a super- macron, which would be extended over the entire syllable. The vowel length notations would remaining in place below it – however, standard computer word processing software does not allow for this, and nor does html coding.

PROPOSAL:

In order to keep the actual vowel quantities marked, another method needs to be found to show syllable quality that does not interfere with the true vowel markings. This method needs to make use of standard word processing tools that are also available on standard web editing packages. It also needs to be easy to apply when marking up a printed text for reading aloud, or, for that matter, for writing out with pen and ink.

A simple and elegant solution is proposed – that the macron for a long syllable should be placed underneath the entire lengthened syllable cluster, as an underline. The original vowel quantities can still remain marked in their places above the line, as per usual.

a m a v i

Marking short or light syllables might also need an intervention that will not interfere with the usual markings; However, it it not really necessary to mark the short syllables, if the long ones are marked. Should, for educational reasons, or otherwise for reasons of clarity be necessary to distinguish them in a positive manner, it is proposed that short syllables be italicised, rendering them visually light, with all the letters in the cluster being italicised. legĕrĕ

The advantages:

This system has the advantage that a syllable that is long by position will not lose its actual vowel length markings, which would be retained in the superscript:

b ô b ŭ s

c ŏ n c ĭ d o

Another advantage, is the ease with which a printed text can be marked up for recital. This system is also easy to apply using handwriting.

It could be argued that italicising the light syllables might be excessive – and indeed, is largely unnecessary if the subscript macron is used, as the correct vowel quantities are then clearly visible in their correct locations above.

A BRIEF NOTE ON ACCENTS:

In monosyllables, vowels that are long take the circumflex, and vowels that are short take the acute.

árs

flôs

fáx

spês

párs

môns

Polysyllables take the circumflex accent when the penult is long by nature (This simply means that it has a long vowel, see above), and the final vowel is short. A circumflex can only appear over a syllable with a long vowel.

rĭs spî

The circumflex accent is thought to have has a slight up-down tone, the acute a straightforward upwards tone. Final unaccented syllables had a slight falling tone. (This is called the grave accent, but this is not written, it is simply understood to be there.)

These accents were applied by the Romans in imitation of the Greeks, and may have been used when reciting poetry and during orations.

Evan der Millner

London

August 22 2007


[1] The resulting ‘ter’syllable on the end is closed. You’ve heard it said that the Romans trilled their r’s. They certainly sounded them one way or another, otherwise,’ter’, if pronounced with an English ‘r’, would be an open syllable as well.

Advice: Trill those r’s.

[2] While counting letters is a simple and efficient way to get the point across, it may be misleading if you look into the matter more carefully, for it begs the question: ‘Is “sti” longer than “i”, since it has more letters?’ In fact, only the vowel and what follows it is relevant. Technically speaking, the beginning part of any syllable is irrelevant for Latin syllable quantity.

[3] If we take the word, say, carmen, the proper syllabification is car-men. Then it is not the case that the first syllable is “followed by two consonants”, as it is not an open syllable. The vowel of the first syllable, for the syllable “car” is followed by only one consonant.


Why Study Latin?

by Evan der Millner

"Today, every laptop with an internet connection contains more information than the Great Library of Alexandria. At its peak, that library contained 700,000 books, until the Christian Emperor Theodosius I ordered it burned down; today, Google Books has over seven million – and that's before you count everything else online. In 1941, Jorge Luis Borges wrote a short story imagining a "total library" containing all written information. Seventy years later, it exists." Johann Hari, The Guardian, 8 December 2009.


The implications of Google books, Europeana.eu and Archive.org , giving everyone access to the of the vast universe of literature written in Latin over the centuries, previously hidden - even, in many instances, to specialists, should be sending a shudder through your world. There are millions of these works: the task of cataloguing them has only just begun; they are unlikely to be translated out of Latin in the immediate future (although one can imagine a more distant future where machine learning is up to the task).


For once, you have an honest answer to give, an answer you can shout from the rooftops - to the perennial question, "Of what use is Latin?"


The answer lies behind your search box on google books. Type in 'haec est" and a torrent of literature will pour forth to assault you. The cultural production of two thousand years, written in Latin, unread, unknown, there for the picking and reading. Type in 'in usum' and a flood of student textbooks written in Latin on subjects as disparate as military techniques and chemistry.

What do we have? Novels - both Roman remains, and renaissance fiction - science fiction written in Latin, even! Poetry - more than you could possibly imagine:- dialogues, plays, stories and fables, philosophy, science, mathematics.....the vast bulk of the intellectual production of Europe, from Roman times, until the early 1700's, was written in Latin. The most renowned poets in renaissance Europe wrote in Latin to continental acclaim.

Due to an ever shrinking pool of readers over the course of the 20th Century, this material is nowadays largely unknown, a vast terra incognita - much of it is still largely uncatalogued. The Latin works of Milton and Addison, Buchanan and Locke, go unread. There is also a vast, unread mountain of material in manuscript, some of it only now being published for the first time.

As one blogger online remarked recently, because of the wonderful thing that is Google, having thrown open the world's libraries - "we starve amidst a banquet". Never before in history, has anyone had access to the breadth and depth of Latin literature, that you personally have access to now, at the click of a mouse. The volume of material on Google increases by the day.

We see some signs of adjustment to this shift taking place in the teaching profession - "Latin for the New Millennium" - but old habits and old ideas persist. Teachers are reverting to renaissance teaching methods, that stressed an ability to read quickly, to speak and write Latin. Philological, pedantic methods of teaching, that will not equip our students to delve into this world, persist. For these books, there are no English translations. To read this material, you need fluency and command of the language - fluency to peruse quickly, and find the gold nuggets in the dross. Fluency to simply cover ground. Even if you pick a tiny area of knowledge, you could not hope to read all the texts written on the subject in Latin.

Some scholars claim they are only interested in reading 'Classical Latin', written by the very Romans themselves. These scholars cut themselves off from the 2000 years of literary criticism and commenting on Latin texts, written in Latin. The vast bulk of scholarship on Latin original texts, is only available in Latin. Most of this material is terra incognita, and professors of Latin have not yet adjusted to the paradigm shift that must necessarily take place. Most spend their time publishing in English, French and German, and reading the work of other scholars in English, French and German. Small surprise, then, that their skills in Latin remain stunted.

For a Classicist to ignore works written in Neo-Latin that discuss the poetics of Virgil, for instance, while happily reading modern critical material in Italian or German, is surpassing strange. Yet, that is our reality - as many of these pre-modern critical texts are unknown, and have sat on bookshelves, in vast repositories, unopened for centuries. Even their titles are often unrecorded in the literature, let alone discussion of their contents.

Now, more than ever, Latin teachers, and students of Latin, need to focus on fluency and an ability to read with fluidity - to give our students the tools to enter this sacrum sacrorum loaded with the wisdom of millennia. They need to show their students this vast depository, to demonstrate the usefulness of having a skill in reading this language.

If we do not transmit our wonder and amazement at this turn of events - then we will have failed to grasp an opportunity that no generation has ever had before.

The momentousness of this change is such, that it can be compared to the shift that took place in the world of letters after the invention of printing - leading to the wide dissemination of Classical texts, and to a burst of improved standards of Latin literacy. Once the preserve of a few monks in cloisters, anyone could now own Cicero, Virgil, and use these texts to improve their Latin. The result, the Neo-Latin Renaissance, that really only took off after the invention of printing.

Now, we face another paradigm shift - for us, as readers of Latin, we were more akin to the monks, with access to only a few valued tomes - the vast production of the renaissance was unavailable to us, even to the specialist - now, the floodgates have opened.

How will you respond?

The Tonal Accent in Latin

by Evan der Millner


W.S. Allen, in his “Vox Latina”, dismisses the idea that Latin had a pitch accent, despite the description of this accent in great detail by a number of Roman grammarians writing prior to the fourth century AD. Allen states that the accent is “a minor detail of the Greek”. This would be like saying that the musical accent of Italian was “ a minor detail of Italian”. In fact, the survival of the pitch accent, albeit in modified form, in Italian, and the survival of tonality in the five main Romance languages descended from Latin. provides evidence that educated Romans adopted it into their Latin. Cicero himself speaks of the musicality of Latin, likening Spoken Latin to a form of singing. Further evidence exists in the adoption of the tonal accent into Hebrew recitation. Indeed, the Jews adopted the Greek system, including the method for manually marking the tones. (Manuum variis motibus altitudinem, depressionem, flexus vocis significabant) Talmudic texts were published with accents for this tonal singing, until well into the mediaeval period. This accent has similarities to the Greek accent , and probably developed in imitation of the Greek recitation of the Laws to a chanted tune.


Edgar H. Sturtevant, "The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin" University of Chicago Press, 1920, gives a much more developed analysis of the accent than Allen does, and he reaches the opposite conclusion. In paragraph 214 of The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin, Sturtevant sets forth the summary of his argument:


"214. The evidence compels us to conclude that in the period of the classical and post-classical literature the Latin accent involved both stress and high pitch upon the same syllables. For stress we have abundant evidence also for both the pre-classical and the latest periods; but we learn directly of the Latin pitch only for the period from about 100 B.C. to about 300 A.D. It is probable, however, that it existed both earlier and later. In fact, it is not unlikely that the considerable element of pitch in the modern Italian accent is a direct inheritance from Latin."


Bennett, along with David (see below), both of whom I regard as authoritative on this matter, come down in favour of the "Greek" accent. Herman and Wright in “Vulgar Latin” also hold the view that the accent in Classical times was a tone accent (pg 36).


One major plank of the argument regarding Classical Latin and tone versus stress, (Vulgar Latin, J Herman) is defeated by Hungarian, which “has a very strong stress accent involving intensity, while at the same time a whole operating system of vowels based on distinctions in length”.


In other words, a clear strong stress accent and a vowel system based on phonological length distinctions are not ipso facto incompatible. Yet one hears this recited again and again by Classicists, educated linguists and laymen alike, so often has this notion been repeated, that is has taken on authority simply by dint of repetition. I am not sure with which linguists this canard arose – for canard it surely is. There is no empirical scientific evidence for this opinion, only evidence that weighs against. Indeed, as Bennett notes, no human language has either an exclusive tonal accent or an exclusive loud-soft or stress accent. Some languages lean more towards the stress accent than the tonal accent, and others vice versa but the only human speech that would be devoid of tonal variations would be a totally monotone language, which, as far as one may suppose, does not exist, except in the minds of some misguided Latinists.


Classical Latin had both a stress accent, with tonal differentiation, and vowel length distinctions. Earlier Roman Grammarians assert quite explicitly that Latin used a tonal accent, similar to the Greek, and only from the fourth century onward to Roman grammarians talk about relative loudness, as opposed to pitch. (pg 36 Vulgar Latin, J. Herman & R. Wright, 2000, Penn State Press.)


The question of the nature of the Classical Latin accent was initially argued for cogently in English by Abbott, in his paper “The Accent in Vulgar and Formal Latin” (Classical Philology, II ppp 444 ff). Abbott held the view that the accent of the common people continued to be one of stress, but educated Romans developed an accent in which pitch predominated. This view is reasonable enough, when we consider to what extent Roman literature is based on the Greek. Also, educated Romans spoke Greek, with its pitch accent. This view is also supported by R.G. Kent ( Transactions of the American Philological Association, LI, pp19 ff), and Turner (Classical Review, 1912, pp147 ff).


Kent writes “In the middle of the second century BC the Greek teachers of the Roman youth set a fashion of speaking Latin with a pitch accent, for as Greeks they kept this peculiarity of their mother tongue when they learned Latin. From that time on, Latin was spoken with a pitch accent by the highly educated class, while the general populace retained the stress accent” (quoted on pg 55 of “Accentual Change and Language Contact” J. Salmons, 1992, Routledge.


Another recent study in support of the Pitch accent, is “The Non-European and Semitic Languages”, Saul Levin, SUNY Press, pg 236 ff


“ The ancient grammarians say clearly that the accent of Latin is either acute or circumflex, and they describe it just like Greek. In many details the distributions of acute and circumflex [between the Latin and Greek] agrees remarkably.”.


Levin continues to say “ Some in modern times have wrongly doubted, or rejected altogether, the testimony of the Roman Grammarians about accent. But since Latin literature conforms to the syllabification and vowel quantity of Greek, the literary language of Rome can hardly have failed to employ a pitch accent compatible with such versification and prose rhythm.” He then says even more emphatically, “ It will not do to dismiss the Latin pitch accent as an artificial imitation of Greek. The most classical Latin, the kind most thoroughly described in our sources, is the most thoroughly Hellenized. If Latin was ever free from Greek influence in some prehistoric time, that Latin is unknown to us, and to reconstruct it, be peeling off what we may label the literary, Hellenizing features, is a fantasy……..Admitting that there was a raised pitch does not conflict with the stress which undoubtedly was present in early Latin.”


See also the seminal work of J. Vendryes, “recherches sur l’histoire et les effets de l’intensite initiale en latin” (Paris 1902), which is quoted by Bennett.


“New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin” Andrew Sihler 1995, OUP , pg 241 also argues in favour of the pitched accent.


“ Roman Grammarians, down to the 4th C AD, describe the Latin accent in terms only appropriate for a pitch accent. Scholars have been wary as taking this as cogent, however, as not only is the terminology of Roman Grammarians taken over entire from Greek, their statements are often cribbed from Greek sources. Some scholars protest, however, that ancient authorities could hardly have thus identified Greek and Latin accent had there not been at least an appreciable element of pitch in the latter….The familiarity of educated Romans with Greek accent in both practice and theory probably would not have caused them to adopt an element of accent wholly irrelevant for their natural speech, but could have made them more aware of an existing element of pitch, and even to a studied enhancement of it – Latin with a Greek accent, if you will, in oratory or recitations of poetry”


Pulgram 1975, pg 116, quoted in “From Latin to Spanish”, Paul M Lloyd, Diane Publishing, 1987, argues that speakers of Classical Latin adopted the Greek pitch accent, and certainly made an effort to adopt it on formal occasions, if not in general speech.


“A New Theory of the Greek Accent” A.P. David, Oxford University Press, 2006 pg 76-7 is the most recent, and authoritative of the new school of scholars who promote the view that the original statements of Quintillian, etc, are accurate descriptions of Latin as it was spoken. Here is Davis' argument:


“It is also possible that Greek forms with an acute on the antepenult are a product of the reflex described in Vendryes’ Law, if the Latin penult in these words was heard to be pronounced with a circumflex.


Might there have been such a contonation in Latin? A simple synchronic picture, which accords with the traditional account, emerges if we assume a contonation. We are informed by a recent commentator that “ Roman Grammarians, down to the 4th century, describe L[atin] accent in terms appropriate only for a pitch accent” (quoting A.Sihler, see above, pg 241).


Modern scholars, however, tend to see a sort of ‘Greek envy’ in this native description and to be dismissive. But if we frame the new rule for Latin in terms of a recessive contonation, where the voice was required where possible to rise two morae before the ultima – without, in the case of this language, any stipulation as to the quantity of the ultima – the traditional stress rules for polysyllabic words in Latin automatically follow, if the combination of pitch and quantity worked in the way that I have described for Greek. A long penult, with two morae, containing the rise combined with the Latin version of the svarita, would produce a circumflex on the penult (amIcus); [circumflex on the capitalised I] while a short penult (of one mora) would cause the rise to revert back to one mora to the antepenult, producing the Latin acute with a deemphasised svarita (facilis).


In making an authoritative correction, Quintillian actually points to this recessive rule. Discussing errors in accentuation, he cites CethEgus [circumflex on the capitalised E] as properly having a flex on the penult (Institutio Oratorio 1.5):the common error was to pronounce the penult grave in this word instead of circumflex, which apparently rendered the penult short. (A circumflex requires two morae). He implies that this change in the quantity of the penult necessitates an acute first syllable (Cethegus) [with acute on the first e] – an erroneous pronunciation, but one which conforms to the proposed rule. The Latin accent was a recessive contonation, a rise and fall, where the rise occurred, wherever possible, on the second mora before the ultima.”


This is sound reasoning for dismissing W.S. Allen’s view.


As a final point, I would like to note, that one reason why one seldom hears Latin declaimed with this accent, is that one seldom hears Classical Greek spoken with it, even though there is not even a sliver of doubt that Classical Greek was spoken with a pitch accent. Current practice, however, is not necessarily a guide to good practice, and I would advocate the use of the tonal accent, for purely pedagogical reasons – it makes Latin more intelligible, and also makes clearer distinctions between stressed and unstressed, unaccented and accented syllables, and long and short vowels.


_____________________________________________________________________________________

Notes:

In monosyllables, vowels that are long take the circumflex, and vowels that are short take the acute.

árs

flôs

fáx



spês

párs

môns


Polysyllables take the circumflex accent when the penult is long by nature (This simply means that it has a long vowel, see above), and the final vowel is short. A circumflex can only appear over a syllable with a long vowel.


jûrĭs lûcĕ mûsă spînă


The circumflex accent is thought to have has a slight up-down tone, the acute a straightforward upwards tone. Final unaccented syllables had a slight falling tone. (This is called the grave accent, but this is not written, it is simply understood to be there.)


These accents were applied by the Romans in imitation of the Greeks, and may have been used when reciting poetry and during orations.

MANESCA AND OLLENDORFF

IMMERSION PIONEERS

by Evan der Millner

November 2012

An early 'modern method' teacher, called Jean Manesca, appears to have written the first fully developed modern language course in the early 1820's - designed for French; he was keen to see it adopted for the classics, and actively promoted the idea. His "Oral system of teaching Living Languages Illustrated by a Practical Course of Lessons in the French through the medium of English" was entered at the library of Congress in 1834.

In his introduction, on pg xix, Manesca writes:-

" If I have not spoken of the advantages that may be derived from the present mode of teaching applied to dead languages, it is not because I entertain the smallest doubt of its efficacy in that particular; for, on the contrary, I am confident that many years of toilsome, tedious, and almost fruitless labours, would be saved by the adoption of such a method for these languages. A well disposed young man, between eighteen and twenty, well versed in the principles of his mother tongue, would, in twelve months, acquire a sufficient knowledge of Latin or Greek for all the purposes of life. Such a consideration well deserves the attention of the few scholars competent for a task which would prove so beneficial to the present and future generation of collegiate students. The present modes of teaching the dead languages are sadly defective. It is high time that a rational, uniform method should be adopted."

Shortly afterwards, Henri Ollendorff adopted Manesca's methodology, and produced the famous series of books using the 'Ollendorff' method, which follow Manesca extremely closely. I had revived Manesca's course, which I was using together with Ollendorff's French textbook, as it was well suited to podcasting.

Mypodcast.com went bankrupt in January 2012, and closed its servers. I have since then re-issued some lessons from Manesca on my YouTube channel (Evan1965)

As I sit here, I hold in my hands a copy of the "Nouvelle methode pour apprendre, a lire, a ecrire et a parler une langue en six mois, appliquee au Latin" - by H G Ollendorff, written in the 1840's. Adler's American edition, which I am using to produce the Adler Latin Course, was an extensive revision of Ollendorff's first attempt - Adler includes the grammar; Ollendorff's French text is extremely light on the grammar, and is almost entirely intuitive. Learning is based on practice alone, not theory. Adler's textbook book has 600 pages of very fine print, with copious exercises. Adler also expanded the Latin text, resulting a much higher quality textbook, with much more elegant Latin, and a wider variety of examples based on the historical classic sources.

Adler's text, being an Ollendorff, is inferior to the method originally devised by Manesca. Ollendorff picked up the outline of the method from a student of Manesca's, called Mr Albert Brisbane,who visited France from the USA, and engaged Mr Ollendorff to teach him, using the method he had outlined in manuscript from his previous lessons with Mr Manesca. Ollendorff never fully grasped the structure of Manesca's system, and to my mind Ollendorffian textbooks are defective. It is this that lead me to embark on writing my Serial and Oral Latin Course. Currently an edition is available on my website with the first 200 lessons, including a workbook, in pdf format.

Adler's 'Practical Grammar' is a direct translation into Latin of an Ollendorff text. Adler did not make up any of the material, or the sequence of material, he simply translated the text into Latin, and added a parallel Latin syntax.

The French-Latin Ollendorff was, as far as I can ascertain, the first textbook written in modern times aimed at teaching Latin as a spoken language, using 'modern' methods - I don't think Manesca's method was ever translated directly into Latin or Greek, although it did appear in a Spanish edition written by Carlos Rabadan.

Albert Brisbane's Biography, where he describes in some detail his private classes with Manesca, says that he studied Latin using the same method,but it is unclear who taught him. Perhaps Ollendorff did? If Manesca ever wrote up any Latin exercises, I would be very keen to obtain them - perhaps they only survive in manuscript among his papers. The Ollendorff version went through several editions, and was quite popular for private pupils, but it was never taken up by schools for teaching Latin.

Adler's American edition seems to have suffered the same fate, and copies of it are very hard to come by. Only ten or so printed copies of his textbook still exist in national library collections worldwide.

So, when people discuss teaching Latin as a spoken language, using modern teaching methods that involve speaking Latin in the classroom, it should be realised that this methodology has a long pedigree, it isn't the new fangled and dangerous thing that some Latin teachers seem to think it is.

A Learning Methodology for Latin

by Evan der Millner


There are things that a student of a new language should take note of - to get really good, fast, you need to immerse yourself in the language. There is no other method that will get you to fluency with speed. The secret is TIME. LOTS OF IT, all devoted to listening to the language you are trying to learn.


You can go a certain distance by focusing on grammar, but my suggestion is to go light on the grammar, only learning a little of it at a time. Spread your grammar learning over a period of months. Certainly, read a grammar text to get an overview. Start making an effort to learn verb forms and the declensions, but don't kill yourself with the effort. You will learn the verb forms through exposure, through listening. That being said, there are methods one can use to commit the verb tables and declension tables to memory with relative ease, using artificial memory techniques.


If you are learning to read, you need to be able to recognise structures, not reproduce them. The level of detailed grammatical knowledge needed to do this is much less than that needed to produce the language. Most Latin courses 'over-teach' the grammar.


Get your head out of a book, and spend your time listening. Listen. Listen more. Read as well. Use the Adler textbook, and the audio lessons, and learn the lessons. Try to generate speech (it will be really hard for the first year or two, then it will click into place). Take your Latin to the gym. Go for long walks, and do your heart a favour. Walk somewhere quieter - where you can happily mumble to yourself, and repeat what you hear, aloud. Do it in the busy City streets - no-one will pay attention anyway. Do this, in order to etch the patterns of the language into your very being.


You may possibly find it useful to engage in the following activities to be successful quickly using this course material.

  1. Writing and transcription of the Latin in each chapter: Read each Latin sentence aloud. Write it down very slowly and neatly, repeating each word aloud as you do this. Read the completed sentence out loud a second time. Each sentence is, as a result, said 3 times, and written once.
  2. Listening to the chapter's grammar section, both before and after you have done this.
  3. Reading and listening to recorded books in Latin.
  4. Grammatical study and practice.
  5. Memorising declensions and vocabulary using the method of loci (see below).
  6. Shadowing = listening to the recorded material and repeating it out loud as soon as you hear it - speaking 'over the voice' you are listening to. Doing this while walking or moving about is good. It will be hard to do in the beginning.


Also, focus on learning vocabulary, even more than you focus on grammar, especially in the beginning. Gaining a large vocabulary, quickly, will boost your confidence enormously. You can listen to the vocab files on Latinum. Listen to them regularly. Building up your vocabulary is about 80% of the job. You will be surprised how many words you learn by listening to the vocabulary recordings. These also give you the correct quantity, (vowel length) from the word go. This is important, as when you eventually read proper Latin texts, the vowel quantities are not marked. If you ever get really good, and want to write sonorous prose, or poetry, having correct quantity is a huge advantage. It also means that you will be able to pick up a Latin or Renaissance author, and read his or her poetry without much effort.

Also useful for learning vocabulary and declension tables is the 'Memory Palace' system:

A Memory Palace for Latin

Using the Method of Loci to Memorise the Verb Table and Vocabulary.

The use of mnemonics can help speed up the learning of various elements of Latin Grammar. Methods like this were used successfully by Roman Orators, and studying how to apply mnemonics formed an important part of the curriculum, as one of the tools needed for rhetoric. The method comes down to us through a work in Latin by an unknown author. The piece, called Rhetorica ad Herennium, is estimated to have been written around 85 BC, though it is unlikely that it was original with this author. The author of this textbook of rhetoric examines each of the five parts of rhetoric, including as the fourth part memoria in which he explains the method of loci. It is the only complete source from the classical world to survive, although there are brief references to the method by others, including Cicero and Quintilian, the chief teachers of rhetoric in the ancient and medieval worlds, and later in the Renaissance.


NOTE - not everyone can 'see' images in their mind's eye - I can't - at least - not clearly, yet the system can still work well for me. I can remember the shape and texture of objects very clearly, so, instead of 'visualising' them in the boxes, I imagine running my hands over them to feel them - very odd it is indeed, running my hand over an imaginary eyeball with an arm growing out of it - but I can then 'see' - for want of a better word, the object very clearly. I don't really 'see' it, but I know exactly what shape it has, and where it is. So the method of loci is still a powerful system for me, even though I can't imagine pictures clearly and consistently. If you have an auditory memory, you could do the same thing, but with sound.


A Word Room using the Method of Loci: