On the road…

I will not be responding to email this afternoon and I will not be responding on Tuesday, August 1.

When we flew to Athens, Greece we flew out of Miami, FL.  We left our car parked there.  We were going to fly back into Athens later and drive home.

Then, when my son’s accident happened, we skipped Miami and flew to Denver, Colorado.

We never did go pick up our car in Florida.

This afternoon, I am flying down to Miami.  Tomorrow, I will be on the road all day as I drive home.

It’s not all bad.  It is my plan to catch up on Coffee Break Italian.   I am really looking forward to the drive, actually.  I could use some intensive Italian training.

IMPORTANT!! How to get into class this fall.

Short and sweet this week.  Okay.  Not sweet.  Never call me sweet.  I hate that.  Hate.  Hate.  Hate.  Loathe entirely.

Compass Classroom is about to start a “Back to School Sale”.  If you have been thinking about learning Latin with Visual Latin, then keep an eye on those guys.  Discounts coming.

If you are done with Visual Latin and you just can’t get enough of my voice, I offer “next level” classes on my site: www.dwanethomas.com.  Or, if you are facing Henle Latin and your knees have gone weak, I can help.

Here is a list of classes I am offering this year:

Latin 1: Lingua Latina chapters 1 – 19
Latin 2: Lingua Latina chapters 19 – 34
Latin 3: Roma Aeterna – as far as we can go…

Latin 1: First Year Latin by Robert Henle
Latin 2: Second Year Latin by Robert Henle
Latin 3: Third Year Latin by Robert Henle
New Testament Greek

I am also learning Italian.  You are welcome to join me on that journey.  Just haven’t found the time slot yet.  Coming soon.   Horses.  Hold them.

I just created all of the registration links for the upcoming classes.  This is important, so please listen carefully.  If you have already signed up, you still need the registration links for class.  Until this morning, they were not available.  Now they are.

If you have subscribed, but have not registered for the upcoming classes, please email me and ask for the registration links.  After verifying your subscription, I will send them to you.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

P.S. This Thursday (July 29, 2017) at 7 PM central time, I am offering an orientation class.  If you are confused about upcoming classes, or if you have any general questions, join me here for free:


Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

The Rudiments of Anglo-Saxon

Years ago, I think it was in Surprised by Joy, I read about the English education of C.S. Lewis.   Unfortunately, Evernote didn’t exist at the time.  As a result, I can’t source what I am about to assert.

Anyway, at some point, and somewhere, I read about the English education of C.S. Lewis.

Here is the short version.  In order to master our language downriver, C.S. Lewis studied the headwaters of our language.

As a total aside, the headwaters of the mighty Mississipi river are located in Itasca, Minnesota.  Itasca sounds like a Native American word, doesn’t it?

It isn’t.  Instead, it is the combination of the Latin word for truth, or true (veritas) and head (caput).  Look what happens when you run them together…. verITASCAput.  Do you see it?  Itasca.  The “true head” of the Mississippi.

What were we talking about?

Oh, yeah.   C.S. Lewis.

As it turns out, years ago, students who wanted to really master English would study the headwaters of our language.

As you know, English is a disaster.  It’s a train wreck.  Don’t believe me?  Pronounce the word one.  Mmmhm.  Where is the “w”?  Pronounce the word two.  There’s the “w”!  But, now it has chosen to give us the silent treatment.    I blame the French.

English is a combination of Latin, Anglo-Saxon, French, and Greek.   Those are just the big guys.  We have robbed many other languages as well.  Canoe, for example, came from the same people who should have given us the word Itasca.  Canoe is a Native American word.

I have long wanted to learn the source languages of English.  Part of a long term plan of mine.  Every decade I intend to master a new language.  In the end, I intend to write a humorous history of the English language.  In the year 2065.  If man is still alive.

Let’s see if I can get to the point.

Last week, I decided it was time to start Anglo-Saxon.

Gathering dust on my shelf for a long time was a copy of the Rudiments of Anglo-Saxon by Douglas Wilson.

I couldn’t wait any longer.   I read the book last week.

Here is where I brag on Latin.

Latin, once again, blazed the trail for me.

If you don’t know this, English used to be an inflected language.  I’m looking at you Anglo-Saxon.  Because Latin had already taught me almost everything I needed to know about the nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative cases, Anglo-Saxon couldn’t scare me.  It tried to.  But, it didn’t.  Sorry, Anglo-Saxon.  (When they were younger, my kids tried to scare me by growling at me.  They were too cute to scare me.  Same concept here.)

It took me about three days to learn the grammar of Anglo-Saxon.   Again.  The praise goes to Latin.  Latin blazed the trail.

It took about a day to get used the alphabet of Anglo-Saxon.  It is mostly the same as ours, which makes sense, of course.

Pronunciation has proven problematic.  I am imitating this every day:

Simple.  Listen and imitate.

All that is left now is vocabulary.  Or, as Mr. Wilson calls it, the word-hoard.  I am pretty sure the Anglo-Saxons would approve.  Currently, I have a pretty small word-hoard.

I like the way the author wrote the book.   The first half covers grammar and much of the Anglo-Saxon word-hoard.

The second half of the book provides readings from the New Testament and from the Saga of Beowulf.

Mr. Wilson admits from the beginning that this is an introduction to Anglo-Saxon.  Fair enough.  He shows you where to go if you want to learn more.  But, remember… this is an introduction.

I really only have one complaint about the book.  The vocabulary in the back is not comprehensive enough to include all of the vocabulary that shows up in the New Testament readings.   But, then again, people have the same complaint about Visual Latin.  So, technically, I can’t complain.  Like Joe Walsh, I can’t complain but sometimes I still do.

Okay.   Now I have managed to squeeze two classic rock references into a review of an Anglo-Saxon grammar.  Feeling pretty good.

By the way, there was a quote in the introduction that I intend to throw at academic purists, pursed-lipped schoolmarms, and YouTube pronunciation trolls.

Here it is:

“In studying any new language – or, as with Anglo-Saxon, an old language that feels strangely familiar – pronouncing things out loud is where we tend to be most self-conscious.  This is largely the grammarians’ fault.  Grammarians tend to be fussers, and fussers tend to scare ordinary people away from language studies.  If you pronounce Beowulf’s tribe the way it looks and say Geet, and the rest of the class laughs, and you discover later to your mortification that you ought to have said Ye-aht, the temptation will be to chuck it all in and take up engineering.  But we should keep in mind that languages turn into various dialects and other languages precisely because ordinary people won’t pronounce things the way they are supposed to.  With regard to Anglo-Saxon, Stephen Pollington rightly points out the “welter of regional and chronological details” that “are really only worth bothering with for the serious student.”  

So perhaps we should lighten up a bit.”

I couldn’t agree more.  The same logic applies to Latin.  But, then again, Latin pronunciation purists don’t seem to apply the rules of logic.

By the way, I watched a great movie with my kids last night.  The Queen of Katwe.  If you are a normal human being, check it out.  It is worth your time.

If you are a pronunciation Nazi, you probably shouldn’t watch it.  They pronounce English with African accents.   Probably because they are from Africa.  I know you Latin pronunciation purists can’t handle that kind of stuff.

I really enjoyed The Rudiments of Anglo-Saxon.  If you have ever wanted to read our mother tongue in the words of our ancestors, this is a great place to start.

I give this book five stars.

But, I only need one year of Latin…

I received this comment:
Hi – I was getting ready to register my son for Henle 3 class and I understand it is $25 a month, but when I was checking out it said my card would be charged once a month, 36 times? I do not understand this? Would a year be 12 times? or Is it that I need to cancel the subscription when he is finished next May/June? Thanks!
Here is my reply:

You can cancel anytime.  I have set payments up to end at the end of three years.  Most of my students stick around with me for three years, at least.  Those who stick around for a fourth, fifth, or sixth year, get to attend classes for free.  I like to reward long-term students.
This article explains my thinking: https://dwanethomas.com/before-you-cancel/