I received this inquiry:
I am contacting you because my grandson, who is good at languages, is thinking of giving up latin because he says it is too difficult. Really I think he is bored with having to learn lists of vocabulary etc Obviously we are in the UK but given your course is on line that should not matter. I am very interested in your thoughts as to how a language should be learned. Is it possible for me to phone you and have a chat. If so, what would be a good time?
Here is my reply:
I would be happy to speak with you. Unfortunately, my phone suddenly retired this weekend. It was an early, unexpected, unannounced retirement. I am quite annoyed. I have an appointment with a technician tomorrow. Perhaps we can talk after.
If you spend any time on my blog, you will quickly discover that I have a rather different approach to learning languages than most academics. For some odd reason, academia insists on long vocabulary lists and endless grammar rules. It seems far worse with Latin and Greek. “Learn the grammar, the vocabulary, and all of the rules, kid”, they seem to say, “and perhaps someday, you will learn to read in Latin.”
I flip the approach. Each year, I take students through a book called Lingua Latina. We start reading in Latin on the first day. As we go, we learn the grammar, the vocabulary, and the rules. By the end of the two-year course, students are reading the New Testament in Latin. It is a tough, tough, tough book, but it is so very good. Most of my students thoroughly enjoy it. It is hard work for them, of course. But, the thrill of reading in Latin seems to outweigh the difficulties. Or, perhaps they just like the challenge.
You could certainly steer Lucas in the direction of my site. But, if he is motivated, I feel he could tackle Lingua Latina on his own. If he has already studied Latin grammar, he may well be able to handle the book.
Whether he joins my site or no, Lucas is welcome to contact me anytime with questions he may have.
On a personal note, I was born in Oxford and spent much of my youth in Oxfordshire. Still a British citizen, in fact. Eager to return to your beautiful land.
Let me know if you need more help!