Learning Latin can be easy, fun and rewarding. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Have a clear goal. Any language can be used in many ways. If you have a clear idea of what you want to do with Latin you are likely to be able to find a resourse (course, teacher, text...) that will work for you.
Understand your teacher. If you are looking for a teacher, don't be afraid to ask questions. Find out what the teacher's approach will be. Is it a method that fits well your your goals, available time and learning style?
A greater number of people nowadays have had no previous contact with the Latin language during their education; but, of those who have had Latin as a subject before, most have ended up hating it, forgetting it, or both. This is no surprise, and shouldn't lead us to the wrong conclusions.
- First of all, nothing can possibly be learnt without motivation, and the adolescents that are normally subjected to the study of Latin are rarely properly explained the purpose of it all. Its now obsolete value within the catholic church —which has practically disappeared after the II Vatican Council— doesn't impress them anymore, thank the gods; and their teachers, who float in the moral limbo of our times, are too pusillanimous to show overt support for any engaging set of ideals, pagan or otherwise, that might attract the students to the language.
- Secondly, the teaching methodology is made so unnecessarily dry that it is a miracle if anyone actually does learn anything at all. The teachers have been so conditioned —and condition their students— to consider Latin a dead language that none of them can actually realise that language learning is an innate capacity of humans that should be ever so natural and easy if only the language was taught the natural way, that is by actively using it, through listening to it and speaking it, as all other languages that people normally do learn. They stubbornly try to teach the Latin language against the grain of any natural language learning, and they obviously fail.
The Latin language can be learnt in a more pleasant and efficient manner, and it is officially taught this way in Nova Roma at the Academia Thules by well experienced teachers to motivated students. Every citizen is most encouraged to join a course.
Some other Latin learning resources on the Internet are:
- Latin1, fabulous resources for beginning Latin students.
- Latin Background Studies, original studies and background essays on the Latin language by William Harris.
- CSB/SJU Latin Language and Literature, from the Alcuin and Clemens Libraries.
- The National Archives of UK: Beginners' Latin, although it is about medieval Latin, you should try it as a preparatory for your Latin studies because it's one of the best Latin tutorials available online - quick, effective, understandable: like a very good teacher.
- Find more online resources for Latin.
In the real world, Latin is taught in many places; but, as we said, normally in an extremely dry fashion. Remarkable exceptions are the Fundatio Melissa, in Brussels, and the Schola Nova, an independent Belgian school where Latin is taught to the pupils from an early age. Nova Roma encourages its more affluent citizens to found similar schools for Nova Roman citizens.
How to teach or learn Latin? Some principles:
- The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach It by William Gardner Hale, professor of Latin in Cornell University