Category Archives: Latin

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:

None shall pass.

I received this cry for help:

I am trying to join the forum and it is not intuitive on your site. I’ve done a search and it you posted a students reply about “making an account in the blog” but under the blog tab there is nothing about making an account. I have gone all over your site and cannot find any links to gaining permission to a forum. Please help!

Here is my reply:

I am more of a Latin and Greek teacher than a web designer.  However, since I was broke when I started teaching online I built the entire site myself.  Which… is why it looks like it does.   I built an ugly horse, but I know how to ride it.  Heh.
As for the forums, you did the right thing.  You contacted me.  After I was hacked in February, I refuse to allow anyone into the forums without my personal permission.
Just updated your account.  You are good to go.
You now have access to the forums.  Feel free to try them out.  You may find that other students will be able to respond to some of your questions faster than I.

These questions… again.

I received these questions:

How many weeks is your class? (Does it somewhat correspond to the CC 30-week plan)? Do you assign homework and do you collect it/grade it? Will the homework correspond at all to the CC 30 week Latin I (Challenge I) curriculum?

And just to be sure, he will be able to watch the lecture after it has broadcast live? (which is around 0700 PST on Wed I think).

And one final question, besides the lectures, what other materials will he have access to with the subscription?

 

Here is my reply:

Continue reading These questions… again.

Follow the title.

I received this question:

Perfect – Ok so from reading your Q&A it sounds like keep my Henle kid in Henle 2 – and once she completes that she will have 3 years of Latin?

Here is my reply:

Slowly catching up.  Yes.  As best I can tell, it seems most schools treat Henle 1 as Intro to Latin, Latin 1, and Latin 2. 

Henle 2 is treated as Latin 3. 

It’s confusing. 

I prefer to go with the names of the book.

Latin 1 = First Year Latin by Robert Henle

Latin 2 = Second Year Latin by Robert Henle

Latin 3 = Third Year Latin by Robert Henle

Have a happy Friday!

When schools fail…

I received this email:

After reading several blog posts, I am wondering (again) about Henle. Yes, I admit that I am also one of those people who HATE Henle. I find it cumbersome, confusing, limited (vocabulary ), and just plain aggravating. Our son has struggled with Latin at Classical Conversations and I have several times considered jumping ship. However, if I reveal this to anyone in CC, I am quickly put down and told to just keep pushing through. Our son is a freshman and he is a math/science guy. He has convinced himself that he will always struggle with language but to me, Latin actually seems like it would be the easiest language for a logic minded kid to tackle. I think we just need to find the right curriculum. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that. What I do know is even if that may be true, he needs to fulfill his language requirements for graduation. Nonetheless, we can neither take Henle nor Lingua Latina because of co-op and a math class that conflict with both times. Could you give us some guidance?

Here’s my reply:

Ugh.  First of all, I hate that you are being belittled for not studying Latin, or for wanting to stop studying Latin.  How absurd is that?  Very absurd, in my opinion.  Good grief.  People are weird.

I have met many happy people who have never studied Latin. So have you. Life goes on without it.

That said, you have the same problem we all have with high school. The law of the land says that we have to take two years of a foreign language.  After all, government bureaucrats know best.  That has worked well.  Most Americans are fluent in several languages.  (Read that last sentence with a sarcastic tone.)

I strongly suspect that your son’s difficulty with Latin is caused by First Year Latin by Robert Henle.  My suspicion is based on hundreds of emails like yours that I have seen over the years.  I am not simply mad at First Year Latin by Robert Henle.  I am basing my suspicion on feedback.  Lots and lots of feedback. 

The worst part is that your son now thinks he is no good at languages.

No.  School is no good at teaching languages.  THAT is the problem.  Of course, in this country, when school fails we blame the children.  And then…  we ask them where they’re going to college.  

I grew up in Europe. I have met many Europeans who are fluent in multiple languages and who are also good in math and science.  So, there goes that argument.  The problem is the schools.  The problem is not the human brain.  In other words, the problem is not your son.  

Actually, you can still join my classes if you like. I record everything I teach.  I rarely take those classes down.    I have quite a few students who use the previous classes only.  In fact, many prefer this as they can move at their own rate.  Students are always welcome to contact me if they have any questions. 

And, by the way… a subscription grants access to every live class I teach. It also grants access to every recorded class on my site.   This means that he can still take First Year Latin by Robert Henle with me, if he wanted to finish the book.  On my site, you don’t have to choose between classes.  You have access to them all.

Let me know if you need more help!

Which meaning?

I received this question:

My son came across a problem on Visual Latin 1 Lesson 15. On the answer sheet it says that the word “feminam” means wife and “feminas” means wives but on the vocabulary list, it is not listed. It is listed as woman.

Also, we ran into issues with “bestiarum” which means beast but on the answer sheet it says animals towards the end of the second paragraph.

Here is my reply:

I apologize for the delay. August is the busiest month of the year for me.  Finally catching up this morning…

English has over a million words in its vocabulary.  And, it is climbing at the rate of about 150 words a day, or so I have heard.  We have a word for everything.  In fact, we sometimes have multiple words for everything.

Latin, on the other hand, has a vocabulary of about 75,000 words.  Compared to English, Latin is puny, tiny, small, or itty bitty.  (See what I did there?)

Anyway, Latin words have to work extra hard.  Sometimes one word will have many meanings.  So, yes.  Bestia means beast.  It can also mean animal, creature; wild beast/animal, beast of prey in arena.  

Femina means woman.  It can also mean woman, and sometimes wife.  

I hope this clears it all up!