Category Archives: Italian

Visual Latin and the AP Latin exam.

I received this email:

Hello Mr. Thomas.
I really really love your courses and videos. As a matter of fact your videos convinced me to take Latin as a second language in school. Although in school, the class is slow and I like fast paces in language learning. As my parents say, I have a gift in language-learning and I love linguistics and the study of languages. So I want to purchase your Visual Latin course to speed the learning process up although I have two questions. The first is, will this course get me ready for AP Latin for my Junior Year (if you recommend doing AP). I want to really challenge myself. My second question is, will I be able to read texts like De Bello Gallico or Natural History by Pliny? I forgot to mention that I also read that you are now teaching Italian. I have a big interest in Italian and I’m currently studying it on Duolingo. Do you have any books or videos on Italian? Thank you so much! I really enjoy watching your videos and I can’t wait to watch more with the Visual Latin!
Here is my reply:

I am happy to hear that you are enjoying Visual Latin.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that Visual Latin, will not prepare you for the AP Latin exam.  To pass that exam, you will need to be very familiar with Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Vergil’s Aeneid.  Visual Latin is designed to teach students the basics of Latin grammar.

I do teach advanced online classes for those who would like to go beyond Visual Latin.  You can find out about them on my site: www.dwanethomas.com.

However, you may not need me to help you.  I recommend you read Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.  You can find it by clicking here: Lingua Latina.  From there, read the second book in the series, Roma Aeterna.  Once you read these, you will be ready for the Gallic Wars and for Vergil’s Aeneid. 

It’s going to be a long road, my friend.  I like Latin… but, at some point, you may ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”  I did. Then I started studying Italian.

If you would like to learn Italian, then I recommend you download the book L’italiano secondo il «metodo natura».  If the link does not work, then it is available on this page: http://lingualatina-orberg.blogspot.com/2012/06/el-metodo-directo-aplicado-las-lenguas.html.

Italian article adjectives

I am struggling a bit with Italian articles.  I found this video helpful.  She teaches in Spanish, so it helps if you know Spanish, but even if you don’t, I believe you may find this helpful if you, too, are struggling with Italian article adjectives.

Also helpful… A student in the following note to me in an email:

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The following comes from the Living Language book.

il is used before most nouns beginning with a constant example il tavoloil letto

lo is used before:

1. words beginning with the letter s followed by a consonant (spstsc, etc) example lo specchio

2. words beginning with the letter z example lo zio

l’ before all vowels example l’armadiol’uomol’amico

in the plural:

il becomes I

lo and l’ becomes gli

 

Finally back at it…

Over the weekend, I ended up sick.  I’ve been sleeping in and as a result, my productivity has plummeted.  If there is one silver bullet to my productivity is it summed up in the Spanish proverb:

“A quien madrugada, Dios lo ayuda.”

God helps those who are up crazy early.  Or, something like that.

My second secret would be this.  Never start responding to email (my biggest work time commitment) until you have moved the needle forward.  In other words, do something that moves you forward personally, invest in yourself, before responding to other people’s emergencies.

These days, that’s pretty simple for me.  Before starting on email, I have to spend time studying Italian and Greek.

Found this video this morning.  This is more for me than anyone else, by the way.  I use my blog as a way to keep up with my own progress.

Of course, if you are studying a language, and you already know another one, you can double up.  For example, in the following video, she is teaching Latin grammar… in Italian.

 

 

I fight authority. Authority always wins.

Every few days, I receive an email from someone who needs me to grade their work.

Every now and then, I receive an email from someone who really wants to learn Latin, Greek, or Italian.

It’s a bit frustrating.  Grades overshadow everything.  90% of my students only want their grades.  10% actually want to master Latin, Greek and Italian.  It is what it is.  It’s what the modern state, the modern government school system has done to us all.  I hate it.  I fight it.  I will continue to fight.  Doesn’t seem to matter.

I fight authority.  Authority always wins.

I know you guys are stuck.  We all are.  I am doing what I can to help.

I am working every day this to build tools to help students check their own work.   I am creating more quizzes and tests for my site.   Just created another one this morning.  It is my goal to write a quiz/test every day.  Already, there are around 100 quizzes/tests on my site and that number is climbing.  My site will generate an automatic grade for students who take the quizzes.  

I have also loaded my own answer keys to my site, and I will be loading more.  These are free to subscribers. Over the past six, or seven years I have created a massive database of responses to my students.  Compiled, these answers total around 1,000 pages.  These pages I am uploading to my site for my subscribers.  I also have forums where students are able to interact with other students and are able to check each other’s work.

I’m back.

I took the last three weeks off.  Well… from writing a tip of the week.  Just couldn’t find the time.

August is the busiest month of the year for me.   I spend most of my time getting ready for the upcoming courses, answering questions, registering students, and answering questions.  Lots and lots of questions.  Also, I spend a lot of time answering questions.

Then, in September, classes begin.  The craziness stops.  My site stats drop from thousands of hits a day to hundreds of hits a day.

Back to writing the “Tip of the Week”.

This one is more of a reminder, actually.

Lately, my 14-year-old daughter and I have been having conversations in German.  I did not teach her German.  To my own shame, I admit that I have not had the time.

She taught herself.  We have enrolled her in no classes.  We have never taken her to Germany.  And, there are no German foreign exchange students in our house.

So, how did she do it?

DuoLingo.

My 16-year-old daughter watches movies from time to time in French.  Same story.  She taught herself.  How?

DuoLingo.

Incidentally, neither of them are all that interested in Latin.  “I’ll show you, Dad.  I am going to teach myself a modern language!”  Rebellious teenagers.

I am teaching myself Italian and modern Greek.  I am using DuoLingo.  It’s working.

My students are used to hearing me talk about DuoLingo.

Parents aren’t.  Learning a foreign language just can’t be that simple.  There must be a course.  There must be a syllabus.   There must be a course description.  There must be high-school credit.  There must be grades.

Guess what?  Schools provide all of that.  Syllabi.  Course descriptions.  Credits.  Grades.  Schools provide it all.  Only one thing is missing.  The ability to speak the language.

I don’t speak French, so I really do not know how my 16-year-old daughter is doing in French.  But, my German-speaking daughter is doing well and she is getting better.  Conversations are becoming more and more fun.  No syllabus.  No course description.  No credits.  No grades.  Just the ability to switch into German with me when she doesn’t want other members of the family to understand.

DuoLingo is the most powerful language learning tool I have encountered in the last ten years.  It feels like a game.  It looks like you are playing on your smartphone.  It looks childish.

Don’t be fooled.

DuoLingo. is a serious language learning system.  Use it.

I even have a couple of classrooms I manage on DuoLingo.  You can join.

Greek: https://www.duolingo.com/o/pdhxqm
Italian: http://duolingo.com/o/uftpsz

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Have a Saturday, everyone!
Dwane

P. S.  There is a big music festival going on in my town (Franklin, Tennessee) this weekend.  If you are coming, please behave yourself.  Don’t trash the place.  We like it here.  And, if you are from New England, don’t honk at all of us on the street.  We just don’t do that around here.  Thanks.

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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:

Would the Italian class be appropriate for my young children?

I received this question:

I have a 7 and 8-year old that are learning Italian. I lived in Italy for 6 years and speak, so I would like them to learn that as their first foreign language since we could practice together at home. Currently, we are doing Rosetta and Duolingo, but I don’t love the way they teach. I’d like them to learn verb conjugation rules and have masculine and feminine explained (perhaps better than I can do it). Would this class be appropriate for them? And since it’s an online class, I assume they would each need to sign up. Thanks much for your time. 

Here is my reply:

Well, first of all, I’m jealous.  Six years in Italy?  Sigh.  I’d love to do that.

Second, I’m intimidated.  I’m fluent in Latin, but just starting out in Italian.  I started learning Italian because I was sick of people correcting my Latin pronunciation.  I figured I would learn to speak Latin with an Italian pronunciation.  After all, that’s what the Italians do, or so I’m told.  And no one knows exactly how Latin was pronounced.

I should tell you, this is not a class in which I teach Italian per se.  This is a class in which I invite students to learn with me.  That said, we will be reading through a book together. The book begins with a very simple text and ends with complicated Italian text. 

I will definitely be teaching the grammar as we go. I will be relying upon DuoLingo and other sources for pronunciation.  I will not be admonishing the students to imitate my pronunciation.  🙂 

Since the book starts out so simply, I think it might be okay her children as young as yours.  However, since I have never taught this course, it is hard for me to say.

Of course, if you jump in and realize it’s not for you, you are welcome to cancel at any time.

By the way, every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  This is the main way I keep up with students and parents.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, and if you haven’t already signed up… sign up for my weekly updates here: