Technical Books

It has been observed by a number of language teachers that a quick route to fluency in a target language is to read texts in subjects where you already have some familiarity - so-called technical books.

There are two keys to fluency - listening to a huge amount of the language you want to learn, and reading a lot.

The latter presents some problems for the aspiring Latinist, as easy reading in Latin is supposedly hard to come by - but actually, it isn't.

A huge number of schoolbooks were written for students on a plethora of subjects. This list will be periodically updated as I come across texts that were written for students, and so use a simpler register of Latin, and I will arrange them by subject matter.

Most of you will have studied some science at school, so the basic texts in physics, mathematics and chemistry will be accessible - the subject matter, not being totally foreign, makes wide reading more simple. I am a great believer in the quantity over quality argument for language learning. If you think about it for a moment, you will realise the truth of this. This is why immersion is such an important tool for language acquisition - and despite the growing body of Latin audio now available online, there simply is not enough.

You might be surprised to find out that textbooks on subjects such as Physics, Philosophy and Music Theory were still being published in Latin right until the end of the 1800's, and in some rare cases in the early 1900s.

These books can be searched for using search strings such as "in usum tironum", "in usum tyronum", "In usum juventutis", "in usum iuventutis" "In usum scholarum" , "ad Tyrones", "in usum discipulorum", "puerilia" and so on, with as many variant spellings as you have patience for, such as vsvm, ivventvtis, pverilia, mvsicae, etc as Google Books has wildly erratic orthography in its catalogues.