Joining a local language class

Chances are, someone in town teaches Latin.  Sign up.  Learning from an expert has its advantages.  

Be careful with this one though.  Find out the style of teaching the teacher is using.  Interview former students.  Can they read in Latin?  Can they speak Latin?  Do they still love Latin?  

In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis mentions a few of his language teachers.  One teacher drilled him and his fellow students constantly with Latin endings, but, he says, they never got within sight of a Roman author.  

His Greek teacher, on the other hand, thrust a copy of Homer into his hands the first day and told him to start reading.  It was hard, he says, but years later he looked back on the Latin teacher with disdain, and on the Greek teacher with respect and honor.  

Inspired by this incident in Lewis’s life, I completely restructured my local classes some years ago.  Instead of memorizing all the Latin endings, we simply start reading.  We read from day one, slowly working our way through Lingua Latina, by Hans Orberg.  We do learn all the endings and all the grammar, but we learn it as we read, not before we read.

You may want to join a local language class.  But, if you do, be sure the class emphasizes reading, listening, and speaking, not just memorizing.

Oh, and by the way… Happy Valentines Day!