I received this question:
I wasn’t sure where to ask this question, but I am intrigued to hear what you would have to say is the “take away” from your most recent blog post on “Still Can’t Read Latin after Years of Study?” Is this the case only for using the Henle series or for any Latin curriculum? I hate to invest SO MUCH time and effort into something only to be disappointed with the results. We are a CC family and have joined your site for additional Latin help. However, I have a 2nd follow-up question. Would Henle vocab be covered in Lingua Latina, just not vice versa? Is there anyway to still be a CC student and participate in class with classmates doing Henle, but switching gears to LL personally? We will be starting our 3rd trip through Henle 1 this next year, completing the book by the end (finally!). My plan was to have my daughter follow the pace of your class schedule this coming year since you go through the whole thing. But I continue to be intrigued by LL. I want our Latin studies to be profitable and fruitful. Do you know of any CC students switching to LL, yet sticking with CC? Sorry for all the questions. I have appreciated your teaching and respect your opinion!
Here is my reply:
I apologize for the delay. Finally catching up this evening…
I think I’ll break your questions down if it’s all the same to you.
#1: Is this the case only for using the Henle series or for any Latin curriculum?
I am not sure what curriculum Mr. Leacock was referring to. But, he was writing about Latin training in the 1800’s, perhaps early 1900’s, so I suspect the courses were getting students ready for Caesar’s Gallic Wars. First Year Latin by Robert Henle does the same. It prepares students to read Caesar’s Gallic Wars. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to do a great job of preparing students even for that book. Most of my First Year Latin struggle when they reach Second Year Latin.
#2: Would Henle vocab be covered in Lingua Latina, just not vice versa?
It’s a numbers game. First Year Latin by Robert Henle teaches students 497 words. Lingua Latina teaches students almost 2,000 in the roughly the same amount of pages. It takes at least 2,000 words to read with some level of fluency. First Year Latin just doesn’t bring enough ammunition for the fight.
This leads into your next question.
#3: Is there anyway to still be a CC student and participate in class with classmates doing Henle, but switching gears to LL personally?
Fortunately, on my site, you do not have to choose. I only charge per family… not per student, and not per class. A subscription grants access to every live class I teach. It also grants access to all of the previous class on my site. Many of my students use the lessons for Henle Latin and also use the lessons for Lingua Latina. The books reinforce each other. Same language, just different approaches by the authors.
In the end, the solution really is simple. Read easier texts in Latin. Once the kids have learned the basics of Latin grammar, educators should have them read the gospels in Latin. But, in this culture? Fat chance. And so, we continue to read the very difficult texts from the days of the Caesars. And, in the end, we chase most students away from Latin.
There is another option. After learning a few years of Latin, students could switch to a modern Romance language like French, Spanish, or Italian. At least with those languages, students could talk to, and interact with native speakers, books, movies, podcasts, and so on. Most of that just doesn’t exist for Latin.
I have probably only created more questions. Feel free to send them.