How do I learn Latin?

What makes the Latinum Institute Latin course unique?

How to learn Latin with this course?

The core of the course is designed so that it is a stand alone audio course: in other words, you can successfully use the entire course, from beginner level for learning Latin, right through to advanced, without ever once having to open or look at a printed page.

The pdf files of the texts are there, of course, if you want to use them; but there is no need to, unless you find this helpful.

This means you can study using the Latinum Institute Latin Course while folding the laundry, sitting on the bus, or while out for a long walk. No other Latin course allows you to do this.

It is possible to teach yourself Latin to an advanced level using the Latinum course, with hardly ever having to open a dictionary - and looking up words in the dictionary is definitely one of the hardest things about language learning; it slows you down, and makes the effort to learn the Latin language and new texts with lots of new words painful.

The course is multi faceted: the core of it is Adler's Practical grammar of the Latin Language, but this does not stand alone: it is supported by a very wide range of audio resources, which you will start to use at the same time as you begin your adventure with the Serial and Oral Latin Course, and Adler's Practical Grammar.

The course will allow you to progress to a very high level; by the end of it, you will be far in advance of most university graduates in your practical ability to read the language. The Latinum Institute course is simply the best way to learn Latin.

WHEELOCK , CAMBRIDGE, OXFORD, LLPSI, MORELAND AND FLEISCHER AND OTHER COURSES - How do they fit in with the Latinum Institute system?

If you are studying with one of the other courses that are out there - whether using a grammar-translation method, or a reading method like LLPSI or the Cambridge Latin Course, you will find the Latinum Course is a useful combination.

Many students who are using the Latinum Institute Course are studying Latin at school, or at university, using Wheelock or some other method, and use the Latinum Institute audio resources to turbo-charge their studies.

I do not believe that any one method is inherently superior to any other - different students thrive on different methods; if a system works for you, and you are comfortable with it, you will maintain enthusiasm and persevere. The main determinant of success is learning a language is the time you put into it. This is why all methods benefit from extended active exposure to audio - they are an easy way to extend your exposure to the language - and this is where the Latinum Institute's multifarious resources become very useful for your success.

LEARN TO SPEAK LATIN

The Latinum Institute course is an audio course; you are expected to engage with the course mentally (or out loud if you are alone) and speak Latin silently to yourself constantly while using the course. The course is designed to get you to to be able to read Latin fluently - it is not a spoken Latin course per se - however, a side effect of the method is that you will be able to speak Latin - and so if your goal is to learn how to speak Latin, and not only read it, then you will find the Latinum Institute method is ideal.

TEACH YOURSELF

A lot of people nowadays learn Latin by themselves - they are 'autodidacts' or self-taught - indeed, for most people who want to learn this language, this is the only option available as there are no teachers and courses where they live.

It is often the case that the most dedicated and accomplished Latin scholars alive today were self taught. The reason for this is that the students who study themselves, and who are successful, do not use the grammar-translation method still favoured in most schools and universities.

Grammar-translation is a method that developed in the nineteenth century, after Latin stopped being the practical 'workhorse' language of communication across the continent of Europe. Instead, Latin became a purely intellectual pursuit, and practical skill in the language, no longer necessary, was put aside in favour of grammar, and translation.

There were attempts by some textbook writers to turn the tide back; the Latinum Institute uses one of the foundational conversational Latin courses, that devised by Henri Ollendorff, in conformity with the Serial and Oral Method developed by Jean Manesca. The edition of Ollendorff used by us was edited and substantially re-written by Professor George Adler. Another course along these lines, currently still in production by the Latinum Institute, is Prendergast's 'Latin Mastery' course, which is also modelled after a method for teaching modern foreign languages.

Adler chose the Ollendorff system as it was a modern system designed for teaching living, modern languages. The system was well known, and at the time, very famous. Ollendorff series exist for all the modern European languages, Mandarin Chinese, Bengali, Greek and Hebrew. George Adler adapted Henri Ollendorff's French -Latin edition, re-writing the Latin section, and in addition adding a substantial Latin grammar and syntax that runs parallel to the original Ollendorff text, which contained very little grammar.

Evan der Millner rediscovered this textbook in early 2006. At the time, it had faded into utter obscurity. Only 9 physical copies survived in the world's libraries - and it was serendipity that Google scanned one of these and uploaded it onto Google Books, just at the time Evan was looking for out of copyright natural language teaching resources for Latin. The initial scan was illegible every eighth page - Google kindly re-scanned the book after Evan put in a request.

A large number of practical Latin textbooks exist from the 1400's, 1500's and 1600's, such as the works by Culmann, Comenius, Erasmus, Corderius, Vives, Hayden, and many others. None of these, however, were suitable as a stand alone audio course for beginners.

Evan found what he was looking for in Adler-Ollendorff.

Over a period of two years, from 2006 to 2008, the Adler course was adapted and produced as a complete audio course - in style modelled after English language teaching resources produced by the British Council. The course as it stands is a structured immersion course.

This course is NOT a translation course; the goal is to get you thinking and operating in Latin, as soon as possible.

Translation is used, but only from English to Latin, and only as a teaching tool. You, the student, are never asked to translate anything, ever!

For example, the exercises in Adler are presented to you initially in Latin and English - this is so that you do not need to use a dictionary while studying. The course was deliberately designed to be audio only - so that you could use it while driving your car, for example. Once you have learned the translations, you move on to Latin only material - in the case of Adler, question-answer sequences in Latin; the goal is to have you operating in Latin only as rapidly as possible - and you do this from the very first lesson.

Evan has also incorporated the more systematic methodology of Jean Manesca into the course, writing a preliminary Serial and Oral Course, which is designed as an introduction to the Adler Course. Evan felt that a more gentle introduction we needed, and so provides this with the Serial and Oral course.

This is, to reiterate, not a translation course - while you may 'translate' in your head in the beginning, which is only natural, the goal is to get you thinking and responding in Latin. The only exercises you will do, will be in Latin. You will listen to an enormous amount of Latin, carefully graded and curated by ability level.

Learning Latin is a slow process: the Adler exercises can be thought of as musical language scales; every musician, no matter how advanced, still plays scales. Manesca and Ollendorff developed a system that is highly methodical, and will steady lead you into an intuitive knowledge of the language.

One reason learning Latin is slow, is the vast range of vocabulary needed to master the texts - around 10,000 words are needed as a base.

The Latinum Institute addresses this issue by providing specialist audio resources whose primary goal is to teach you vocabulary: these are the extensive range of Latin-English-Latin readings of a wide variety of specialist graded level texts. Once again, this method means you will not need to run constantly to the dictionary, making the entire process efficient and pleasant.

A second method, that does require you to have a book open in front of you, are the various Shadowing recordings; these recordings are only in one language - and you follow along with specialist interlinear texts while listening. This method is also a good way to rapidly learn a lot of new vocabulary, not as random lists of words, but in context.

The Latin grammar sections of Adler are detailed and extensive: declensions are fleshed out in full, as are verb paradigms, and there is an enormous amount of reinforcement - but you are never expected to memorise any of the grammar - your learning takes place through the extensive exercises. Adler explains everything very clearly in his grammar, and by the end of the course, you will have a good grounding in the technical aspects of Latin ; but your learning will not have taken place through your grammar study - but through practical exercises in Latin.

Evan has also incorporated the earlier work of Comenius and other famous renaissance Latin teachers into the course. The range and variety of approaches across the entire course means that you will develop a very deep knowledge of the language if you persevere with the course, and follow the programme outlined to its conclusion.


Where in the world do people use the Latinum Institute Latin Course?

As you can see from the map below, The Latinum Institute is accessed and used by students who span the globe. Thousands of students have used the Latinum Institute course materials to teach themselves Latin over the past decade. Over 1,500 students have studied with us since the Latinum Institute started using Patreon to manage and distribute the course in 2017.

MODERN LATIN

The Latinum Institute makes good use of modern Latin resources to help you learn; an incredible range of materials was developed to teach practical Latin skills and Latin grammar during the renaissance; special editions of the Fables of Aesop, scripted dialogues to teach you natural language, and special vocabulary learning texts such as Comenius' Vestibulum (my favourite is the Januae Latinitatis Fundamentum, a little known but fantastic vocabulary study text by Comenius for intermediate students, which you can find in the Shadowing section). These texts and resources will all pave the way for you, so that you will be able to easily read and understand the classical authors like Cicero and Caesar.

FREE TEXTBOOKS

The Latinum Institute only uses free pdf books available on Google Books and elsewhere online. This means you can download the textbooks we use for free; apart from your subscription to us, you will not have to spend any other money to learn Latin.