Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Lingua Latina per se Illustrata

I really enjoyed the approach to Latin in Lingua Latin per se Illustrata. The idea of a "Dick, Jane, and Spot" kind of book as a way to learn Latin was fun. For those unfamiliar, Lingua Latina contains only Latin words. The glossary in the back is entirely in Latin, the footnotes are in Latin, the exercises at the ends of the chapters are in Latin. The program is based on the idea that, rather than memorizing charts and writing translations, the best way to learn Latin is by reading it and intuitively learning the meaning of the grammar and words. As a note, the ongoing story in the book was funny and actually made me laugh out loud a few times.

How successful was it? Well, the first half of the book went very well. As the book approached it's final quarter, I had to start reading with a dictionary beside me at all times. I admit this may be a failing on my part rather than on the part of the book, though. I don't think I'm ready yet to move on to the next book in the Lingua Latina series, so I'm planning on going back and looking at some other Latin programs as well before I move forward with more Lingua Latina.


Charity said…
I found your blog via your Goodreads profile, and when I saw you'd written about Lingua Latina, I decided to comment about our experience with it.

My nearly 10yo daughter and I are twenty-one chapters into Familia Romana, and we're really enjoying it. We began on our own and then several months ago hired a tutor familiar with the text to help us. Our tutor tells us that the revised edition of Lingua Latina (through a different publisher) is supposed to include more stories to help practice the concepts introduced in Orberg's original. I'm not sure when that edition will be available, though, and haven't found anything about it online.

Overall, we've found it useful to follow something of a hybrid approach, memorizing endings and vocabulary while still doing our best to read the chapters without translating directly.

Are you familiar with Jeanne Marie Neumann's College Companion to Lingua Latina? We've found that text very helpful. We also make use of the Colloquia Personarum Orberg published, which has dialogues that go along with each chapter.
Rick said…

I really enjoyed Lingua Latina. I had tried to dabble in Latin previously, but the fun of being able to pick up a book and start reading Latin right away excited me. I haven't heard of the College Companion to Lingua Latina. I'll have to check it out.

In the meantime I've looked at the Cambridge and Oxford Latin series, and am now working my way through Wheelocks. When I'm done, I think I'll come back to Lingua Latina and maybe try the second book.

I think that a hybrid approach probably works best for most people. Reading Latin naturally is clearly preferable to having painstakingly parse, decline and translate every sentence, but I think a prior knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax may make the natural reading approach easier.